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Conserving Water in Your Garden

4 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Greening Your Lawn and Garden

Water conservation is becoming ever more important in sustaining a healthy planet. Paying attention to your water usage in the garden is one way to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle. You have two primary goals for green watering:

  • Water your garden as infrequently as possible. By using native plants, you can design the sort of garden that can stay green without a lot of water in the first place.

  • Be mindful of your water source. You don’t have to rely on the tap if you incorporate alternative water sources like those in the next list.

Several practices can help you attain these goals and water more greenly and efficiently:

  • Collect rainwater that runs off your roof in rain barrels. Drainpipes can empty directly into barrels, which should have faucets near the bottom to make it easy to get the water out. Be sure to cover the top of the barrel with a screen or some other covering to prevent debris (such as leaves) and insects (such as breeding mosquitoes) from getting into the water.

    Water your garden from a rain barrel instead of the tap for a ‘greener’ garden. [Credit
    Credit: Rain Water Solutions
    Water your garden from a rain barrel instead of the tap for a ‘greener’ garden.

    If your yard is big enough, consider installing a cistern, a large water-storage container that can hold rainwater as well as greywater, which is water already used for washing, laundry, or showering. Even if you don’t have a rain barrel or cistern, you can use basins or buckets to carry used dishwater or bathwater outside to water your plants.

  • Water your garden during the coolest part of the day to reduce evaporation. Stick to watering in the early morning or late evening, and water only the areas and plants that need it.

  • Use a trigger nozzle or soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. A sprinkler can use as much water in an hour as a family of four uses in a day! Trigger nozzles or soaker hoses work better for specific areas such as garden beds. If you just can’t give up your sprinkler, remember that it doesn’t take long for a sprinkler to soak your lawn thoroughly. When you set up the sprinkler, set out an upside-down Frisbee, too; when the Frisbee’s filled with water, turn off the sprinkler.

  • Resist the temptation to reach for the garden hose at the first appearance of a brown patch. Once a week is all the watering your lawn needs — even in the hottest weather. Overwatering can actually damage your lawn, weakening it by encouraging roots to seek the surface.

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