In California conserving water should always be a priority.
The tips below will help you plan
an attractive, sustainable, water-wise garden.
A professional design will save you more money than the plans cost.
- A complete plan will allow you to do the job in phases.
- All landscape contractors bidding on your project will estimate costs using the same
plan so you can compare their bids easily.
A well designed and properly installed irrigation system is the first step to
reducing water waste.
Elements of a good system:
- Water spreads evenly over the irrigated area - no dry patches.
- No excess water in gutters, on pathways, etc.
- A digital controller programmed by a knowledgable person. Even better - a "smart"
controller connected to a weather station or using satellite information.
- Correct use of the different methods of water distribution. Low-volume and drip
systems are efficient but may not be the best choice for you - dogs love to eat
drip pipe for instance!
- Regular monitoring of the system and prompt repair of any damaged heads, etc.
Turf lawns are wonderful but they do use a lot of water - and fertilizer.
"Do I need it? Can I replace some or all of it?"
"Does it lose its looks by mid summer?"
"Can a reduction in size and a change in shape make the garden more interesting?"
What can I put in its place?
- Drought tolerant shrubs or trees. - Perk up your garden with a variety of
colors, textures and scents!
- California native sod - six types are available - although this is not for those
who like a manicured look.
- Modern artificial turf. This is not your Daddie's AstroTurf! The latest products
are terrific. They look like healthy lawns. They take foot traffic well. Kids can
play on them. You may have to remind your gardener not to mow or water it.
Did we mention that it doesn't use any water? Not a drop.
- Use drought-tolerant plants, either Mediterranean type plants or California natives.
There are hundreds of varieties grown for this area so there is something out there
- Group plants with similar water requirements.
- Show zero tolerance for weeds!
- Reduce use of strong chemical fertilizers. They burn the plants unless
you water a lot.
- Make sure ponds, fountains, etc. Do Not Leak.
- Good maintenance is essential so you do not have to empty and refill your pond.
- Add mosquito fish and turn your pond into a mosquito trap, rather than a
- If you cannot maintain your pond consider filling it in.
- Apply mulch over exposed soil around plants. Mulch helps the ground retain water.
It cuts down on weed growth, and it gives your garden an attractive, finished look.
- As mulch breaks down it enriches the topsoil.
- Keep existing leaf litter where possible. It is natural and FREE! ( and cuts down
on leaf-blower time)
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