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Ways to create a garden that requires less water

In many regions of the world, water is becoming a scarce resource. Weather fluctuations seem more severe than ever and droughts are becoming more common. If you have experienced the threat of water restrictions in your town or city, then it is time to consider revamping your garden and creating one that requires less water.

Garden irrigation can consume most of the water a household uses, depending on the size of the yard. In any case, having a garden that is vibrant and natural yet only needs the annual rainfall to survive, will save you money. Drought-resistant plants are one obvious solution, but a better alternative is to plant indigenous species from your area.

These plants have survived for thousands of years on the annual rainfall, so they will certainly thrive in your yard. Most indigenous plants, whether they are succulents or large trees, have adapted to your climate and weather conditions. In addition, these local species will attract more birds and pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies.

How to create a garden that needs less water

1. Reduce the size of your lawn – The first step to reducing the water consumption of your yard is to cut down the size of your lawn or remove it entirely. Grass needs around 25mm of water per week to keep it looking lush. This is quite a large volume of water for most climates. A natural flower bed will only require half of this volume, or a gravel and stone garden can be created that requires little to no water at all.

2. Plant indigenous species – As mentioned above, local plants have adapted to your climate over millions of years. Plant indigenous succulents, shrubs and trees that thrive on your annual rainfall and sunshine. Remember to place small plants at the front of flower beds and taller shrubs and trees at the back to create depth.

3. Use wild grass or woodland areas – If your property is big enough, make use of indigenous grass or the naturally-occuring woodland; don’t remove these species. Incorporate these ecosystems into your garden as these areas can act as a natural biome that attracts local birdlife and other necessary creatures. Add a wood-chip or gravel pathway through these wild areas so that you can take a stroll and soak up nature.

4. Use mulch and do not rake up leaves – Fallen leaves create natural mulch that traps water and dew in the soil. If your garden does not have natural leaves, use mulch to protect your soil and improve its water retention. Avoid turning over your soil and raking up the leaves as this makes the ground compacted and dry. It also exposes the healthy microorganisms in the soil to direct sunlight, which kills them. 

5. Zone plants with similar water requirements – Plant species with similar water requirements in groups. This will maximise the efficiency of your irrigation, as well as save you time when it comes to watering your garden. It also allows you to create different flower beds with their own characters. This makes your garden varied and more interesting.

These five easy steps will help you to create a luscious, natural garden that requires less water. Succulents and drought-resistant plants can be incredibly beautiful and unique. There are many examples of indigenous gardens on the internet that look amazing. The water-saving benefits are great for the environment and your wallet too.

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Written by Joshua Oates

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