- Look at Landscaping Layout: One way to conserve the rainwater you have collected is to make sure your plants/flowers/vegetables are strategically placed. Each plant in your garden has different water requirements. If a garden is planted so that those that are less “thirsty” are grouped with similar plants you are likely to save your collected rainwater. Also, you will be able to take into account the sun and shade factor that may result in quick evaporation of water. Try to group plants by similar water, soil, and light needs.
- Use a blanket: Of soil that is. By adding a layer of organic soil your garden will require less watering. The layer of soils acts as insulation for the ground and helps keep water from quickly evaporating. Organic type soil is recommended because of the compost like material that has a higher water-holding capacity than sandy mulch. Spreading an inch thick layer may help keep your water usage down.
- Remember not all plants are created equal: There are some plants that can survive with less water and are “drought-tolerant”. Having more plants that require less water will help you maximize your supply of rainwater. Also, plants that are native to a specific area may require more love and watering when outside of their natural habitat. Think about how much more water a plant might need if you are planting in drier soil. Remember to choose the right plants for your area.
- Try Trees: Planting underneath trees can help reduce the amount of water needed for items in your garden. The shade creates lower temperatures in the air and soil causing less evaporation! Not only are shady trees nice for outside relaxation, but also will help your rainwater get further in your backyard. This water conservation technique is often neglected.
- Use a Soaker Hose: A soaker hose is a garden accessory that is a hose with lots of tiny holes that slowly and steadily drip water into the ground. These hoses can be hooked up to your rain barrel and more efficiently water shrubs or other things planted in your garden. This will make your rainwater last longer and work more efficiently.
So you've caught the rainwater – now maximize it! The summer heat makes rainwater a resource we must take care of in the coming months. During this time of year watering our gardens or landscaping accounts for about half of our household water usage! If we all did a little bit this summer to help conserve our water we can collectively make a huge difference- and maybe save some money too! Here are some tips to get you started on watering wisely.