How to conserve water in my garden? is a question we’ve been hearing a lot lately in the Bay Area, and for good reason. We are in year four of a severe drought on the west coast. Will it rain next year? Or not? The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to save water (inside and out) now. Not wanting to overwhelm we compiled a short list to get you started.
1. Check for Leaks: This applies to inside and outside the house. A tap or toilet dripping can equal a lot of wasted gallons and the fix is usually quite simple – a new washer in the tap or flapper in the toilet tank, easily remedied with the new part acquired and a crescent wrench and screwdriver to install. Outside, make sure to check your irrigation at the beginning of the season or after any new plantings for leaks: this includes taps, timers mounted to taps, obvious broken irrigation spraying everywhere and less obvious breaks underground causing puddling or swampy areas. Fixing unwanted leaks is not hard and saves a lot of wasted water.
2. Water Early: Make sure your irrigation is set to go off in the early morning and not mid day when evaporation is much higher. If you have a lot of spray heads, consider changing some or all to drip irrigation. Set-up info for battery drip irrigation here.
3. Trim Your Irrigation Run Times: Run your irrigation at the bare minimum needed. Keep your plants alive and healthy but don’t go ‘lush’
4. Consider Replacing the Water Hogging Lawn: Some options for less a water-needy lawn: Carex pansa, Pearls Premium turf, and of course, no water needed -> artificial turf.
5. Plant Drought Resistant Plants and Shrubs: If you are changing your lawn to a more drought resistant turf, you may also want to consider swapping out some of your water loving plants and shrubs for more drought resistant plants.
6. Mulch: Make sure a nice, water retaining layer of mulch is covering all your garden beds. Tip: if there is tree work going on in your neighborhood that includes chipping, ask if they can leave you the chips to mulch your garden beds.
7. Add a Rain Barrel: If it’s in your budget, consider adding one rain barrel or more as part of your garden watering system. If you are in an area that gets only seasonal rain, a bucket or two in your shower will catch excess water. You can add that water to your rain barrel or pour it directly onto your garden.
ps: you can read more about adding rain barrels to your garden on this post – Why Should I Use Rain Barrels?