by John Victorino
(Reno, Nevada, United States)
Xeriscaped Back Yard
Being able to efficiently use water is an important part about being not just a good landscaper, but also an environmentally conscious one.
However, there are so many different ways to conserve water that it's easy to feel that it's difficult to know just where to start! While it might seem like being conscious of your water consumption is a gargantuan task, it doesn't have to be this way! In fact, there are many easy ways to make landscaping designs that conserve water and keep your overall costs down.
This approach to landscape design is often referred to as xeriscaping, a word that specifically describes the idea of using low amounts of water when landscaping. Though it seems like a complicated word, the ideas it contains are quite simple, ranging from common sense solutions to some pretty creative ideas!
As a professional landscaper, I've seen my fair share of different approaches to xeriscaping. This is why I want to help you by sharing 4 of my favorite methods. So, here's a list of 4 Tips for Low Water Consumption Landscaping Design:
#1. Use Low Water Consumption Plants
One great way to reduce the use of water in any given landscape design is to work with plants that don't require much water in the first place. This doesn't necessarily mean that you are extremely limited in your options, though.
Many people assume that low water consumption plants means that you are restricted to succulents only, there are actually many different options to choose from that all add their own beautiful touch to a landscaping plan.
On top of this, you don't even have to use low water consumption plants for the entirety of your plans! Even just sprinkling some throughout your landscaping design can be a way to reduce water consumption in a subtle way—it's never an "all or nothing" battle!
#2. Use Mulch Strategically
Mulch is an incredibly useful material for those looking to retain as much water in the soil as possible. This is because it seals off the roots from air by protecting it via a thick layer, making it very difficult for the moisture to evaporate into the air quickly.
While mulch is something already commonly used by many landscape designers, the specific type of mulch that you use can have a significant effect on how much water is retained. Because of this, be sure to look for brands of mulch that don't hold onto heat, as that is often the source of water prematurely evaporating. If you're not careful of which type of mulch you use, you might end up watering your plants far more frequently than necessary!
#3. Capture Used Water
Though it's most common to simply try to not use as much water in the first place, it's important to also have a plan B in the event that water begins leaking from your landscaping plan.
Because of this, you should invest in some type of method to capture runoff water like a cistern, rain barrel or porous paving.
Though some of the runoff water will be used and brown in color, it's typically perfectly alright to put back into your plants as water. This is because oftentimes plants don't consume all of the water they are given, so you can make sure it doesn't go to waste by recycling!
If you want a more intensive way to collect water, building a rain garden (also referred to as a stormwater garden) can be a great way to make sure that no water leaves your garden. They can also be great ways to ornament your overall landscape design!
#4. Make Sure Your Soil is Healthy
By far the most important part of making sure your landscaping plan is centered around low water consumption is giving your soil enough amendments to keep the water flowing throughout.
By using organic materials such as wood chips, straw or grass clippings, you can make sure that no water gets stuck in the soil. With healthy soil, you'll be able to make sure everything goes straight to the roots of your plants, allowing them to not only get more water but also allowing you to use less water overall.
About The Author
John Victorino works with Legends Landscaping in the Reno, Nevada area. Working in a high desert climate presents landscaping design challenges to ensure that all flora installed can survive with low water and harsh winter conditions.