Landscaping your yard for low water use

As you might expect, low-water landscaping first found its home in the dry Southwest, but people all over are beginning to find appeal in yards that do not require much water. The freedom of less watering but still having a beautiful yard is a tempting possibility. All it takes is a little knowledge and planning.

The first thing you can do to maximize little water is plant flowers, bushes and trees that are native to your area. These are naturally more durable in your given climate. Although these plants won’t be resistant to drought, they will do better than non-native plants. Occasionally watering native plants is still necessary, however, especially during extremely dry seasons. You’d be surprise to find out how many plants are native to your area and which don’t require much water.

Hydrozoning – a relatively new term – is a clever, simple way or organizing your plants. They are arranged so that the ones that need the most water are nearest to a natural or artificial water source. So whether its runoff from rain or a shower from your water hose, keep the flowers that need the most water closest and plant the ones that need less water farther away. Pay attention to which flowers you’re buying and plant flowers with similar water needs together.

Another step which will keep plants retaining water longer is adding mulch to them. In addition to holding in precious water, mulch can add a polished look to flower beds. It comes in a variety of colors, sizes and textures, so it’s easy to find something that looks good against the background of your home. Also, mulch keeps weeds from growing so they don’t take water away from your flowers.

Red dirt does not hold water well. Rain and other water tend to run off and harden the ground instead of sinking in. Soil should be fertilized frequently and replenished with topsoil which holds in moisture. Adding rich black soil each year when flowers are replanted should be sufficient.  Rich, dark soil is much better at holding moisture near the plants’ roots.

Getting creative with your idea of landscaping can be key to creating a drought-resistant yard. Instead of planting shrubs, flowers and other ornamentals, you can use extra-large planters set strategically around your yard, patio or pool area. Bonus points if you put them on moveable stands so that you can have options for changing the view when the mood strikes. Arranging big pots with medium-sized and smaller ones will construct an interesting visual dynamic anywhere you put them.

Another creative option is to create a unique design with gravel, stone, and/or pavers. You could design a family monogram or a dry creek bed. Rather than covering a yard with flowers that will require watering, do something unexpected such as an in-ground fire pit and a stadium-style sitting area so that all who gather around your fire can enjoy the view. The possibilities are endless when you don’t stop thinking landscaping at flowers.