Gardens offer many environmentally friendly benefits. Shade from trees can cool a house to save on cooling costs, and food grown in home gardens can greatly reduce the fossil fuel emissions from transporting groceries around the country.
Done the right way, however, a garden can also save water, making it wallet-friendly as well as eco-friendly.
1. Irrigation for the Win
Irrigation systems use a lot less water than sprinkler systems. If you’ve ever seen a sprinkler system pointlessly dousing a concrete sidewalk and thought, ‘Why?’ then you can see the benefits of irrigation. Even above-ground systems leak water instead of spraying, so that more filters into the soil.
2. Reduce Waterproof Surfaces
One way to save water is to make sure that as much rainwater is absorbed by the soil as possible. Anything that inhibits that absorption will mean more watering by you. Garden walkways are nice, but consider using the smaller, round stones to build them. Besides wasting water, runoff from paved surfaces picks up chemicals as it runs along the ground, and these end up in the water supply.
3. Consider Greywater Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting
Using greywater from showers and sinks, in addition to greywater recycing, can reduce water use by 33%. Collected rainwater can be used for anything as long as the water is not being consumed. If you hook up the irrigation system to the rainwater collection system, this could save you time, money and water.
4. Choose Indigenous Plants that Thrive
It’s hard to get a plant to grow when it isn’t suited for the climate. More expensive soil, more time, and of course, more water, are often needed to make them happy. To choose plants that are easy to grow in your area, check out Find Native Plants.
5. Pick the Right Spot
Different plants require different amounts of shade, different soil chemistry, and different amounts of water. Check the needs of your plants and change their position if you need to. Soil pH can easily be tested – after all, why water a plant that can’t thrive because of the soil? It’s essentially a waste of water.
Following these tips will take your garden from eco-thoughtful to something Mother Earth can really be proud of.