Dear water: please stick around, but don’t hang out for too long, either. It’s best if you stay for just the right amount of time to soak into the ground and water the plants, but not so long that you create permanent muddy puddles in the garden. If you come, bring your friends, but don’t bring too many of them, or you could erode the garden and wash away the plants.
When it comes to working with water in the garden, homeowners have a complicated relationship with this precious substance. How can you ensure that you keep enough water in the garden during dry times, while managing water during wetter times as well?
Reduce Your Water Needs
Before you begin to store water, consider how much water your garden needs. According to the National Geographic Society, “xeriscaping is the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation.” By adding more hardscaping elements such as rocks and paths to your landscape and by focusing on plants that are well-adapted to the drier extremes of your climate, you’ll be able to more easily collect and store enough water for your garden.
Create a Garden Landscape That Stores Water
By designing your garden landscape to store water, you can reduce the need to keep water on site. Contours in your garden landscape store water naturally, and you can use them to your advantage:
- Place water features or water-loving plants in sites with a natural depression, taking advantage of the natural inclination of the landscape.
- Add a rain garden in the area below a water drain, where you grow plants that require a little more water.
- Contour the garden with swales or ditches on contour. Even when these are unobtrusive and gentle, they allow water to soak into the soil. When you plant right below them, those plants benefit from the stored water.
Build Your Soil
Your soil is your best asset when it comes to storing water in the garden. According to Flood Site, “Soils consist of particles and pores. Those pores can be filled with air but also with water.” Different soils contain different amounts of pores. A heavy clay soil doesn’t drain well, and water pools on top. A sandy soil allows water to pass right through. Soil with large amounts of organic material in it is ideal for storing water. This complex soil has enough pores to store water, but not so many that water passes right through. Add compost and leaves to your soil to increase its organic content.
Mulch Your Plants
Once you have water stored in the ground, you want to keep it there. Add bark or leaf mulch on top of your garden beds. This allows the water that’s in the soil to avoid evaporating for just a little while longer, and it allows water that you spray on the beds to sink into the soil, well-protected from the sun.
Add Home Structures That Allow You to Manage and Save Water
Certain structures in and around your home help you save water for the future. A gutter and gutter cover system can provide clean water for your garden, which you can channel into swales or a rain garden system. You can also place that water into a rain storage tank or rain barrel and use it to water your garden in the future.
At Harry Helmet, we’re here to help you manage your garden landscape. From awnings to roofing to a new gutter protection system for your home, we’ll help you install the structures that you need to keep your home and garden running smoothly. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.