By Jodi Torpey
Gardeners in the West understand how difficult it is to maintain a garden during hot, dry weather without adequate water. Dwindling resources, lack of reliable precipitation, and mandatory watering restrictions require new ideas for managing our landscapes more sustainably.
The trend is finding ways to make the most of the water we have. I’ve saved water by reducing the amount of lawn in the front yard, and xeriscaping the backyard with drought-tolerant plants. A thick layer of bark or rock mulch covers any unplanted area.
Another way I’ve saved water is switch from overhead watering to drip irrigation. Drip irrigation lets water slowly seep into the soil, so less water evaporates and more moisture goes directly to plant roots.
Many efficient drip irrigation systems and new kinds of soaker hoses are hitting the market to meet increased demand. One portable drip system even looks like a rock (pictured), with the water reservoir hidden inside.
In addition to drip irrigation systems, you also can use soaker hoses (pictured) to direct water. Overhead sprinklers are a last resort because they moisten foliage needlessly and make water more prone to evaporate. If you need to use a sprinkler, run it in the early morning to reduce evaporation and so plant foliage can dry before nightfall.
What are some ways you conserve water?
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