Homes & Land  |   RealTips

How to
Save Water

& Improve Your Garden

The Typical
Vegetable
Garden
Needs Approx
1"
Of Water
Per Week
But…
Average Annual Precipitation in US

Seattle, WA

Gets an average of

0.47"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

Phoenix, AZ

Gets an average of

0.13"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

Boulder, CO

Gets an average of

0.62"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

Amarillo, TX

Gets an average of

0.61"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

New Orleans, LA

Gets an average of

1.52"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

Chicago, IL

Gets an average of

0.91"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

Richmond, VA

Gets an average of

0.97"

week in "growing season" between April and October
X

Clicktap a dot on the map to see the area's average weekly rainfall

Average Annual Precipitation (in inches) 1961-1990
  • 180-200

  • 140-179

  • 120-139

  • 100-119

  • 80-99

  • 70-79

  • 60-69

  • 50-59

  • 40-49

  • 35-39

  • 30-34

  • 25-29

  • 20-24

  • 15-19

  • 10-14

  • 5-9

  • 4.9 and less

...considering many plant species require more than average water, harsh, sunny climates, inconsistent rain showers and possible drought...

Your garden needs more water than rain provides

How to save water in your yard or landscape

1

Water Overnight

sprinkler

AM Safe Zone

AM safe zone

PM Safe Zone

PM safe zone

Water overnight to minimize loss to evaporation and allow soil to get a good soaking.

Watering before dawn allows foliage to dry during the day, making it less susceptible to fungus and disease.

Irrigate long enough to let moisture penetrate to root level, but not so long as to make the ground soggy.

2

Use a Soaker Hose

soaker hose

Soaker hoses weep water over a long period of time, allowing thorough watering with little lost to evaporation.

Trickle, or drip, irrigation wastes less water than other types of irrigation, as you can water individual plants instead of the entire area.

Overhead sprinkler
With overhead spraying
from a sprinkler, you can easily
Lose
30%
of Water
to wind and immediate evaporation.
3
mulch and rake

Spread Mulch

Mulching plants will boost water retention in the soil (and keep weeds from sprouting).

Use a biodegradable mulch such as hay or pine straw and avoid materials that will clump and not allow the soil to breathe.

4

Xeriscaping

Landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation.

Consult a local nursery or garden center or research online to find out the plants that will do best in your area. Use native plants to reduce maintenance and provide a habitat for birds and wildlife.

cactus Aloe plant mophead looking plant alternate aloe plant hens and chickens plant

Advantages

  • Lowers consumption of imported or ground water
  • Makes more water available for other domestic and community uses and the environment
  • Less time and work needed for maintenance effort (no lawns to cut)
  • Xeriscape plants in appropriate planting design, and soil grading and mulching, takes full advantage of rainfall retention.
  • When water restrictions are implemented by municipality or water costs, xeriscape plants will tend to survive and thrive, while more ornamental plants may be unable to adapt.
  • Can be visually more interesting than lawns
  • Can save money

Disadvantages

  • Compared to grass which is soft, dry landscapes often make use of gravel, rocks or woodchips which can hurt or cut bare feet
  • Landscape may be considerably less useful for outdoor activities and sports than a lawn
  • Certain plants such as cacti and agave contain thorns or serrated edges which may harm pets and children
  • Initial cost may be a deterrent
  • Extensive gardening in otherwise dry climates may host conditions for wildfires. (ex: Eucalyptus grows in arid Australia, but produces highly flammable oils and resins).
  • May be deemed aesthetically unpleasant by traditionalists
5

Rain Barrels

Save some rain for later

For every 1"
of rain that falls on a 500sq ft Roof You can collect
300 Gallons
rain barrel illustration
That is
> 1000 Gallons / Year
in some areas

Make Your Own!

To make your own rain barrel, you need a large receptacle such as a big plastic garbage can with a lid. You’ll need to make a hole so water can come in and you’ll need to install a spigot so you can get the water out and distributed where needed via a hose or watering can.

*Rain collection laws vary in different territories. Be sure to check your local and state laws before beginning any rain collection project.

Save Water. Share the Knowledge.

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