Xeriscaping: Guide to Water-Friendly Gardening
Discover Xeriscaping, gardening with native plants & techniques that minimize water usage. See how you can grow beautiful drought-resistant plants even in dry areas.
Water-friendly gardening, or "xeriscaping," is a gardening technique that implements designs and practices that not only save water but also result in a beautiful landscape. It extends well beyond simply planting drought-tolerant plants. By emphasizing right plant in the right location, improving your native soil, proper watering techniques, and the use of mulch, gardens can be green, colorful, and water-friendly. Here's how to get started:
Select and Group Plants Appropriately
Group plants with similar light, water and soil requirements together. Your plants will thrive because they're being grown in the right location. You'll save water, not to mention aggravation, by avoiding mixes of sun- and shade-loving plants or wet- and dry-loving plants. If drought is a concern in your area, be sure to select drought-tolerant plants (see "Drought Tolerant Plants: Defy the Dry").
Improve the Soil in Your Garden
Soil that has been improved with compost or garden soil will retain water and nutrients better, allowing plants to use them more efficiently. For even greater moisture retention, you can mix Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control® Garden Soil in with your native soil. It holds up to 25% more water than native soil.
A 3-inch layer of high-quality mulch, like Scotts® Nature Scapes® Advanced, will help keep weeds, which compete with your plants for water and nutrients, at bay by blocking growth and access to sunlight. Mulch will also help moderate soil temperature, help to retain soil moisture, and keep plant roots cooler.
Use Water Wisely
In your gardens, minimize the use of overhead watering, where up to 90% can be lost to evaporation. Instead use drip irrigation or a soaker hose, which target the water directly to the plant roots. Watering is more efficient if you do it early in the morning. Water your plants infrequently and deeply to encourage deep, sturdy root systems, which will help them stand up to hot, dry conditions.