Creating spectacular landscapes in small spaces

Beyond Xeriscaping: Other Tips to Reduce Water Usage in Your Landscaping

by Janet Banks

Xeriscaping can be a great way to reduce the amount of water you need for your home or business landscaping, but if you aren't fond of xeriscaping aesthetically or if you've already put all the drought-resistant plants you like into your design, you may want to explore other tips to reduce water useage. Here are some ideas to consider.

1. Focus on Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation typically consists of hosepipes with small holes in them. Small drops of water slowly escape through the holes, and saturate the ground. This keeps the roots of the plants moist, and because the moisture goes directly to the root system, that allows you to use less water than you would need if you used sprinklers.

Note that this works for plants, but for turf, you will need sprinklers. Ideally, you should work with a landscape irrigation expert who can help you combine systems.

2. Use Gravity to Your Advantage

If your lot is not completely flat, you may want to plant in a manner that uses gravity strategically. In low lying areas where rain is likely to run and pool, place the plants that need the most moisture or concentrate turf in those areas.

Reserve the space around your home and on other high parts of the land for plants that require the most water.   

3. Water in the Early Morning or Evening

Don't water when the sun is at its peak. During that time of day, most of the water will evaporate immediately, and that will waste water instantly. Instead, schedule your watering for the early morning or evening, preferably when the sun has set or is quite low in the sky.

4. Opt for an Irrigation System With a Rain Sensor

To save water, it's also critical to ensure that you don't water when your plants don't need it. To avoid doing that, consider buying an irrigation system with a rain sensor. That allows you to set a watering schedule, but if it has rained, the system won't turn on.

5. Replace Grass With Mulch

Wherever possible, consider replacing grass with mulch or something else that doesn't need watering. For instance, if you always walk through a certain path in your yard, don't keep watering that area. Instead, consider some paving stones.

6. Harness Rainwater

Finally, you may want to focus on ways to harness rainwater. For example, you can catch the water in a barrel, and then, your landscaper can connect that to your irrigation system.