and heatwaves around the world due to global climate change, and the fact that limited clean fresh water is predicted to soon affect large parts of the world, we all need to consider ways to reduce our water use. The expectation of a green and water-demanding lush lawn is swiftly becoming a thing of the past in many regions as global water resources become more constrained.
If we were all to ditch our lawns in favor of drought-resistant landscaping, we could still have attractive outdoor spaces, but with dramatically reduced water and maintenance requirements, little to no fertilizers or pesticides, increase our property values, reduce or eliminate the need to mow, provide wildlife habitat, and store water.
Ways to create drought-tolerant landscaping on your own property
- Water-saving garden methods
Hugelkultur is a gardening and landscaping method where woody materials such as logs and branches are buried in soil, and vegetation, such as annual vegetable gardens, is planted directly on top of the buried mound. This method is excellent at conserving moisture because the woody materials inside the mound soak up and store water like a sponge. The woody materials inside the mound fertilize the soil for many years, reducing the need to amend your soil.
Compost is very important for gardens because it not only enriches and builds healthy soil, the organic matter in compost helps to retain moisture in the soil.
Mulch can help to dramatically reduce evaporative water loss from soil. Mulching options include shredded leaves, grass clippings (without chemicals), sawdust, straw, and seaweed for gardens, but you might also consider using shredded bark and wood chips around perennial plants. A good guideline is to put a 2-3 inch layer of mulch between plants that are widely spaced apart.
By using a multi-layered mulching technique called, “sheet mulching” or “lasagna gardening,” you are providing tons of water-saving organic materials that will cover your soil, enrich it, and block weeds at the same time.
Soaker hoses and drip irrigation save water by delivering it close to plant roots only, exactly where the plants need it. These methods also save water through reduced water evaporation.
Xeriscaping can also include hardscapes like boulders, stones, pavements and sculptures that can take the place of a thirsty lawn.
- Plant perennial plants over annual ones
For a more sustainable garden, a perennial food forest is more likely to provide resilience to drought than an annual vegetable garden would.
- Provide Shade
- Use native and indigenous plants
- Drought-tolerant groundcovers
- Pervious surfaces
- Water discretely