Water saving gardens - Xeriscape
1. Planning and design
Planning allows you to match plants to the characteristics of the site and to group plants according to water needs.
2. Soil analysis and improvements
Soils vary from site to site and even within a site. Soil analysis provides information that enables proper selection of plants and any soil amendments needed. When appropriate, soil amendments can enhance the health and growing capabilities of the garden by improving drainage, moisture penetration and water holding capacity.
3. Appropriate plant selection
Plant selection should be based on the plants' ability to thrive in that site, the effect desired and the ultimate size, colour, and texture of the plants. Most plants have a place in a Xeriscape. Maximum water savings can be achieved by selecting plants that require a minimal amount of supplementary watering in a given area.
4. Practical lawn areas
Grassed areas needn't be an assumed part of the garden. Lawns use a lot of water, so by reducing lawn area you can automatically save water. There are many lawn grasses that require little water.
5. Efficient irrigation
Watering only when plants need water and watering deeply encourages deeper root growth resulting in a healthier and more drought tolerant garden. If a Xeriscape requires regular watering and/or if an irrigation system is desired, the system should be planned to only deliver water where and when it is really required
6. Use of mulches
Mulches to an appropriate depth in garden beds will help soils to retain moisture, reduce weed growth and prevent erosion. Mulch can also be used as an alternative to lawn or groundcover plants where conditions aren't adequate for good growth. Mulches are typically wood bark chips, pea straws or gravel.
Proper garden, plant and irrigation maintenance will preserve and enhance the garden. When the above principles have been followed, maintenance of a Xeriscape is easy and inexpensive. Because a Xeriscape is healthier, less fertiliser, pesticides and other chemicals are needed to maintain the plant material.