How To Design A Water-conscious Garden

Maria J. Danford

Designing a water-conscious garden is not only a responsible but sustainable choice it is also a simple one. While the prospect of intentionally designing a garden with the purpose of reduced water need may sound difficult, a few design choices and carefully chosen plants will accomplish this goal. Many landscaping […]

Designing a water-conscious garden is not only a responsible but sustainable choice it is also a simple one. While the prospect of intentionally designing a garden with the purpose of reduced water need may sound difficult, a few design choices and carefully chosen plants will accomplish this goal. Many landscaping professionals are willing and able to help design water-conscious gardens, including consulting on designs and offering landscape materials in Southlake Texas.
Ask the Expert: 11 Tips for Designing a Water-Conscious Garden ...

Benefits of a Water-Conscious Garden

There are a number of benefits to a water-conscious garden including benefits to the environment and reduced water use and expense. It is environmentally responsible to reduce water usage and minimize water pollution through runoff.

Water is a scarce resource, especially in some parts of the country. Most of the continental U.S. sees periods of drought during the summer months which can lead to water rationing or restriction on landscaping by local governments. During these periods a garden that has a lower water need will not be as negatively impacted. Reduction in water use overall can also help to reduce the impact of a drought on the local community.

Fertilizers and pest control substances can pollute water runoff when a garden is watered and negatively impact local water supplies including groundwater, rivers, and lakes. Reduced watering also means reduced runoff.

Design Tips to Conserve Water

Choose appropriate soil and mulch

Adding amendments to existing soil can help to enrich it for planting but also create a network of roots that will help the soil to retain water and will reduce the need for watering. This can be accomplished by adding organic materials such as grass clippings, manure, peat moss, and wood chips. When necessary to add more soil to the bed, choose a planting soil specifically designed for water retention.

Mulch all beds with a water-retaining mulch for a similar reason. As retaining water is one of the major goals of a water-conscious garden, this will help to greatly reduce the frequency that the garden will need to be watered.

Use Other Sources of Water

A way to reduce the impact of a garden on the local water system is to utilize alternative sources of water. This can take the form of a system that will capture runoff or rainwater. This is called grey water and while it is not safe for human consumption it is perfect for landscaping.

Limit Turf Area

Turf is one of the most water-heavy plants that can be used in a garden so reducing the amount of space that is covered in turf will greatly reduce the amount of water that will be required to maintain the health of the garden. Consider using turf only in areas where it is necessary and utilizing other forms of landscaping in most other areas.

Water-Conscious Plants

Choosing plants that require less water and that are indigenous to the area will help to reduce water usage. This list provides a few beautiful water-conscious plants but local experts can help provide plants and landscape materials in Southlake Texas.

  • Sedum – easily recognizable by their small bright green leaves edged in dark red.
  • Lavender – a familiar plant with clusters of purple flowers.
  • Herbs and other edible plants – choose thyme, garlic chives, and oregano for fragrant and tasty plants.
  • Stachys – grey-green leaves that look and feel fuzzy to the touch.
  • Delosperma – a succulent breed that sports bright and colorful flowers throughout the growing season
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