Last Updated on April 25, 2022 by Gary Stephen
Gardens are one of the biggest water users in your homes. But the garden is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what kind of garden you have. And there are ways to keep your beloved plants beautiful and green even during a scorching hot summer. All without using too much water. These water-wise gardens have become even more popular (and not to mention useful) in areas where they don’t get a lot of water. It also creates an eco-friendly garden.
But you might be wondering what exactly is a water-friendly garden? And also plenty of other questions that many gardeners just like you have been asking.
What is a water-wise garden?
This is probably the first and most obvious question, “What is a water-wise garden?” Simply put, a “water-wise garden” is a garden that needs very little water.
In a water-wise garden, you’ll have plants that flourish when they get very little water and like to get a lot of sun. Luckily, there are different types of plants with different characteristics to help them survive for a long time in hot weather.
The term “water-wise” has also been used interchangeably with words like, “water-friendly,” “drought-resistant” or “drought-tolerant” gardens.
Benefits of water-wise gardens
Drought and extremely dry weather have affected places such as South Africa and California, even Australia and China. Because of this, some homeowners have given up on having a lush garden. But there are options for a garden in a drought-stricken region.
With these options, there are certain benefits to keeping water-wise gardens. One of the benefits includes keeping the air clean. These plants can keep dust and pollutants from the air. The bigger plants can also give shade and help bring down the temperatures in urban areas. Having a garden full of water-friendly plants can also reduce the amount of soil that’s eroded into our waterways.
Tips for keeping water-wise gardens
Decrease your water usage
Be careful how much water use in your garden. One of the ways you can reduce how much water you use is by checking the soil. If the soil moist or damp up to a spade’s depth or even a fingernail (for a potted plant).
Another way to save on watering your plants is only to water your plants in the evening. Watering in the evening will have less evaporation. A third way to use less water is to use mulching to keep water and improve your soil structure.
Lesson Water Runoff
The water runoff from your garden isn’t just wasted water. The water that runs off hard surfaces can pick up unwanted chemicals and pollutants and take them into rivers and streams. There’s also a danger with water runoff increasing flash floods. To prevent as much water runoff as possible, grow trees, plants and grass in your garden.
Avoid using chemicals in water wise gardens
Using pesticides, slug pellets, and other chemicals can pollute the groundwater, going into the rivers. Which can result in endangering the local wildlife. It’s best to use an organic alternative with natural chemical compounds. Just make sure that you use the correct amount. You should always avoid using these in wet weather or anywhere near water.
If you want an alternative to fertilizer, you can use homemade fertilizer. It’s great because you have the added benefit of controlling what you put in the garden.
Use Peat-free compost
Using Peat-free compost is an excellent way to try to conserve water in your garden. It’s meticulously mixed to create the ideal conditions for plants to grow.
However, if you have plants that need better drainage, you can add some sharp sand and some grit to help your plants grow. You should also add liquid feed to your peat-free compost to give your nutrient levels a boost. Just be careful when buying compost labeled “peat-free” because there’s a good chance there will be some peat in it. Peat-free compost is usually a bit more expensive because it needs more processing.
Grow indigenous plants in water wise gardens
Growing alien (non-native) plant species in your garden have harmful effects. Invasive species like the Himalayan Balsam can escape from your garden and have a harmful effect on the environment. The benefit of having indigenous plants in your garden is that they’re best to their environment. They can support native birds and local insects, including butterflies and the useful bumblebee.
Use Softscape and Hardscape
Any water-friendly garden uses a combination of both soft scape and hardscape features. Softscape simply refers to the ground covers, shrubs, flowers, trees and so on used in your garden. The hardscape, on the other hand, includes the inanimate objects in your garden. Some examples include things like stones, gravel and paving. Hardscapes are great to reduce any erosion that might happen and help keep your ground intact.
Also, adding extra hardscape will mean that you have to do less maintenance on your garden.
Best plants for water-wise gardens
When thinking of what to plant for your “water-friendly” garden, you’re tempted to the obvious choices of a cactus and other succulents. They store water for longer periods, and they need very little care. But if you’re not interested in keeping a garden filled only with cacti and succulents, there are other options for you.
These daisy-looking flowers are an excellent choice if you want to add some color to your garden. Their colors can vary from pastel blues and pinks to white. There are even hybrids that have a lovely deep scarlet or purple color. There are plenty of Aster species that are native to North America. Asters can be planted anytime during Spring and Fall. They are fairly easy to grow and would need very little watering.
This is one of the better-known examples of plants for a water-friendly garden. Lavender is a hardy plant that is indigenous to the Middle East and Mediterranean region.
This means that hot and dry weather is nothing new to this herb. However, there are other species of Lavender, such as English Lavender, that can grow in cooler conditions. Lavender is another plant that can survive in the scorching hot sun and even dry soil. If you want a long-lasting hedge plant, then you should give Lavender a chance.
If Yarrow was a person, they could be dropped in the desert with a pocket knife, and they will build you a thriving town. Yarrow is famous for being able to survive in conditions that would normally kill other plants. This is why they’re perfect for growing in hot, drought-stricken regions where there is barren soil. And just like the Aster, Yarrow will give your garden some extra color with flowers ranging from shades of yellow, gold, orange and red.
Thyme isn’t just great for making your food taste delicious.It’s another great herbal option for water-friendly gardens. This is such a versatile plant that originally grew in the Mediterranean region. What makes this great is that it likes to be left alone, especially in the sun. This means that you don’t have to work hard to grow Thyme.
There are different variants of the herb that will grow in different ways. Some species will cascade. Others will grow flower stalks or create ground cover.
The Blanket Flower is a wonderful option if you want something that is easy to grow and has a long lifespan. There are 24 different species of this plant, and most of them are indigenous to North America. The flowers got their name because when the flowers grew in the wild, they would look like the blankets made by the American Indians.
Like many other water-friendly plants, the blanket flower loves being in the sun. They also need very little water and care once they’re established. The flowers usually bloom continuously for two months, from later in the Spring to Fall. Growing Blanket Flowers in your garden is also a great way to attract insect pollinators, butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. If you also like hearing birds singing, you will like this plant. The seed heads also provide food to hungry songbirds. The birds could sing for their supper.
Zoysia grass is for anyone who wants a water-friendly lawn. The tough grass is known for withstand any challenge, including people walking all over your garden. Along with being able to survive in heat and drought. With very little fuss, Zoysia grass grow a beautifully dense lawn for your garden. Before you start growing this species in your garden, you need to think about your garden’s unique needs.
If you want something that will grow quickly and is versatile, then you should grow Bugleweed. This plant can grow into a hardy mat-like ground cover that will protect your trees and shrubs from erosion on a slope. It can grow in full sun and in dry shade.
The Bugleweed will also add color to your garden with its purple and blue flowers. Just be careful. This plant can spread rapidly if it’s not controlled properly.