Saving Water While Gardening

Now’s the time to start planning for ways to conserve water in your garden.

The little green sprouts in my front yard are whispering to me that spring is on its way. So I’ve started thinking about how I’m going to be more water-wise while gardening this year.

One of the most sobering facts I learned during my master gardener training is that there will always be a drought somewhere in Colorado.

In 2002 that hard fact struck home as gardeners coped with one of the most severe droughts on record.

The outdoor watering restrictions implemented that summer made me consider every drop of water I used on the lawn in the flowerbeds and vegetable garden, too.

Many of my favorite landscape plants didn’t make it through that summer. Others simply disappeared over the equally dry winter.

But those plants that remained, like Rocky Mountain penstemon, were the hardiest of the hardy. And I plant more like them every year.

I hope you’ll join me in saving water this season.

Here are three smart steps you can take to conserve water in your landscape while still growing gorgeous gardens.

Tear up the turf. Look at your landscape and consider the lawn areas that are difficult to water. Maybe it’s the small strip of grass next to the driveway, the spot in the backyard that’s more weeds than grass or that large swath you’re tired of mowing.

Trade turf for water-wise plants. Replace the boring patches of lawn with colorful xeric and native plants and shrubs. Drought-hardy plantings need less irrigation and provide a source of food for butterflies, birds and bees. If you’re not sure what to plant, look for the new Plant Select introductions that are proven to grow in our challenging climate.

Use every drop. The water laws in Colorado don’t allow for rain barrels, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use rainwater to water plants. Simply plant where rainwater naturally flows in your landscape. Point water to where you need it by directing downspouts, using sloped areas to channel it or building build berms to slow it down.

How do you save water in your garden? Please share your ideas here.


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Just want to give a tip to the fish raisers and aquarium owners. I water my plants with aquarium water everytime its time to change the tank water or siphon the tank. Most plants seem to love it and the water doesnt go to waste. thanks

Thanks for this water-saving tip! I’m sure aquarium water is loaded with nutrients for plants. I’ll be sure to add this to my list of cheap or free fertilizers.

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