Watering your yard and garden during the summer is not always an option. When a dry spell hits, you don’t want your garden to be the one on the block suffering. Keep your garden an oasis all summer long with these drought-proofing ideas that will add sparkle and character to your yard.
If you have paths or walks in your garden or yard, consider doing them in gravel.
Gravel paths absorb water and moisture from dew allowing for more water in the soil for your plants, unlike other traditional walkway and path materials.
Along the same lines, place pebbles around plants to help the ground retain moisture. This works in free-standing plants as well as potted ones.
Re-use bath, kitchen and laundry water
Use the greywater to water your plants or mix it with a liquid fertiliser. There are water systems designed to take greywater outlets in your home and redirect them to your garden during the summer months so no water is wasted.
Install a rainwater tank
Even if you live in a climate that is dry, a rainwater tank that collects all year can help supplement those months when water is in short supply.
Use trees and shade producing plants
Use trees and shade producing plants to keep soil cool so water doesn’t evaporate.
Some of your plants will require full sunlight to grow, but others will thrive in partial sunlight, especially if it is caused by a shade tree.
Plant a windbreak or build a wind reducing wall.
The wind can dry out your soil leaving your plants needing more water than you can give them. A windbreak slows the evaporation and keeps the soil moist.
Never leave your soil bare.
Put down mulch, gravel, grass clippings or something else to keep weeds from growing. Weeds use water too and generally will use more than their fair share. There are some great mulch-like solutions out there that work well depending on your climate, for example, seaweed can be used as a ground cover or mulch in almost any climate and as an added benefit will nurture the soil much like compost. If you are using mulch, top it at least once a year and put it down after it rains (or your water) to help your soil retain moisture.
Use ground cover plants to stop soil erosion and water evaporation. Ground cover is also low maintenance which means less work for you all around.
Use water crystals or other water storage solutions.
Water crystals can be planted with your plants and last up to six months.
Plant and water your garden in the coolest part of the day, which is typically the early morning during the summer months. This helps the plants use more of the water given to them before it evaporates.
Leave lawn clippings on your lawn. This acts as mulch for your grass giving it added nutrients and helping the soil retain moisture.
Reduce your lawn areas
Lawns use more water than other plants. Take a look at synthetic lawns. They give you the beauty of grass without the water and upkeep.
Hire or talk to a landscape designer whose expertise is your area and the plants that thrive in your climate. They can suggest all sorts of plants that will add colour and sparkle to your garden without over-using water.
Plants generally take about two years to really be established, so water them generously in the first two years after which you can show them a little tough love and they’ll do just fine.