When we think about conserving water in a drought, we usually think of ways to save water indoors – shorter showers, bigger loads of laundry, etc. But there are actually lots of ways to conserve water outdoors, too. With a few changes and inexpensive equipment upgrades, you can save thousands of gallons of water and still maintain a healthy yard and garden. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Only Water When You Need To
Overwatering is not only wasteful, it’s more work. To check if your plants need water, dig a shovel or trowel into the soil about the full length of its blade. If the soil is damp, you don’t need to water. If it’s dry, then you probably should. It’s not an exact science. Some soils, like clay, appear damp when they are dry, so carefully monitor your plants to see how they respond.
2. Use Grey Water
Grey water is the used water from baths, showers and washing machines. The water is perfectly good for plants (household soaps and detergents are not harmful to plants, but avoid using water that has overly harsh cleansers or chemicals). Your plumber can set up a grey water system to help you reuse your water.
3. Try Xeriscaping
Pronounced “ZIRA-scaping,” this is a form of landscaping designed especially to withstand a drought. For residents of the Southwest (Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico) xeriscaping is an excellent option year round, but especially during water shortages. It’s essentially replacing water-hungry vegetation with plants that thrive on much less moisture. Replacing grass with the following will not only reduce your water consumption, but provide an aesthetically appealing landscape:
- Purple needle grass
- Blue oat grass
- Naturally growing flowers like beach suncups, blue flax, California evening primrose and Manzanita flowers
- Sheep fescue
- Hen and chickens
4. Collect Rainwater
There may not be much rain to collect during a drought, but when it does rain, make the most of it by using a rain barrel. Hook a barrel to your home’s rain gutter and save gallons where you can.
Mulch your garden regularly to trap moisture. If you have fruit trees, bark and wood chips are an effective mulch that will help you save water all summer long. Grass clippings (without pesticides) also make great mulch for vegetable gardens.
What are some of your favorite ways to conserve water? Share in the comments!
Brendan Gill is a writer and blogger for SERVIZ with 10 years marketing experience. He has written extensively about home improvement products and services, as well as the California Drought.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.