In recent years, water-conserving landscaping has become increasingly important in California due to recurring droughts, but also for its sustainability and resiliency to climate change. At Lyngso, we understand that creating a water-efficient garden doesn’t mean sacrificing the beauty and enjoyment we find in creating lush outdoor spaces. By selecting the right plants and soils, adopting water-saving irrigation methods, and implementing proper landscape design, you can maintain a thriving garden while using water more efficiently. In this article, we will explore some practical tips and insights on achieving an attractive, eco-friendly garden in your Californian property while reducing your water bill and preserving our natural resources.
Tip 1: Incorporate Drought-Tolerant Plants
Choosing the right plants is an essential component in water-conserving landscaping. You might want to consider integrating native plants that already thrive in California’s climate and have adapted to its precipitation patterns. Drought-tolerant plants such as shrubs and perennials reduce water usage and add color, texture, and diversity to your garden.
When selecting drought-tolerant plants, look for species with deep root systems, as they can better access available water in the soil. Additionally, prioritize plants with essential water-conserving features such as gray or silver foliage, which reflects heat, or small or narrow leaves that minimize evaporation.
Tip 2: Choose a Drought-Tolerant Grass or Lawn Alternative
Another idea is replacing regular turf with low-water options that can survive and maintain growth with minimal water. Such drought-tolerant grasses have developed adaptations to conserve water and survive in drought-prone environments during warm or cool seasons.
Some examples include:
- Kurapia, a highly versatile ground cover sod that uses up to 60% less water than cool-season turf. Its sturdy structure is ideal for many uses and requires very little maintenance for areas with light traffic.
- California native grasses such as Native Bentgrass™. This a very popular choice for native lawn areas that require the appearance of a traditional lawn. This variety is well adapted to the Californian climate, thrives in full sun or partial shade, and will tolerate low-impact foot traffic.
You can check out our in-depth guide for more information on drought-tolerant grass, including the different types and their pros and cons.
Tip 3: Soil Management for Water Conservation
Improving the Soil Composition
Soil composition is vital in minimizing water usage and promoting a healthy garden. A well-developed soil for water conservation should demonstrate the following main characteristics:
- Prevent water runoff by allowing rain and irrigation water to soak
- Have good water-retaining capability
- Allow plant roots to reach water reserves held low in the soil profile
One of the easiest ways to improve your soil’s water retention and aeration features is to apply the Organic Amendment Mix, a blend of Organic Green Waste Garden Compost, Redwood Sawdust, and Organic Feather Meal. This mix helps open up clay for rainwater to be held and moved through the soil and is an excellent choice for new sod installations and generic all-purpose soil amending. For additional organic fertilizer and microbiology, mix in Bio-Live 5-4-2 while amending.
When it comes to improving the soil composition for your native California plants, we suggest using our Potting Mix as a soil amendment to aerate and retain water within the native soil. This will help significantly with water conservation while allowing plant roots to penetrate the soil and reach deeper water reserves. For native California plants, we suggest using one-third Potting Mix, one-third native soil, and one-third of the soil the container comes in.
Mulching and Composting Techniques
Many gardeners and landscapers highly recommend adding mulch to your soil for a plethora of reasons. For water-conserving landscaping, mulching offers several benefits:
- Organic and natural mulch helps with moisture retention and prevents water loss due to surface evaporation, allowing the soil to retain water longer and require less frequent watering.
- Additionally, mulch limits weed growth, which may compete for water and nutrients alongside your plants and sod.
At Lyngso, we understand that careful consideration and research are essential when selecting the perfect soil and sod for your water-conserving landscaping needs. We invite you to visit our large showroom and landscaping yard in San Carlos for inspiration and contact us today to learn about delivery options for your SF Bay area home.