More than simply adding to the overall appeal and atmosphere of your property, your landscape is an important investment into the overall value of your home. Landscaping is never just a one-time project. There are no completion dates. It is an ongoing investment of time and energy, as well as money.
However, your lawn and gardens need not be a financial burden, nor an excessive drain on your time. There are practical steps you can take, both during the initial planning and implementing stages, as well as during the maintenance of your landscape, to help reduce the cost of care and minimize the amount of time you have to devote to upkeep.
The frequency with which you water and the times that you do so can have a dramatic effect on water use and on your plants themselves. If you are watering during the hottest parts of the days, you will lose a lot of moisture to evaporation. It is much more effective to water during the early morning hours, or in the evening hours near sunset. This allows the maximum amount of water to be absorbed into the soil.
It is more beneficial to water in longer stretches, less frequently. Watering for lengthier periods allows for water to penetrate more deeply into the soil. This encourages deeper root growth over time, increasing the ability of your plants to access and efficiently utilize existing moisture in the soil. To this end, drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses are more effective watering tools than mist and sprinkler systems.
Compost and Mulch
Properly cultivating soil can also reduce your water usage. You can increase the soils ability to retain water by routinely mixing in compost. Topping your soil with mulch will keep it cooler and reduce evaporation.
Using Native Plants and Xerophytes
Native plants are better suited to thrive on the resources naturally available in your area. Using them in your landscaping will allow you to rely more on natural rainfall and less on mechanical watering. Xerophytes, plants requiring very little moisture, are also an economical way to provide a rich and luxurious landscape without the need to water excessively.
You can further maximize your water usage by giving some thought to how you position your plants. Try to group plants with higher water needs together. Put these water loving plants in lower lying areas where runoff is highest. This will allow those plants to gain the most benefit from your watering cycle. As you water the plants that require less, the excess will flow down to those that require more, eliminating the need for you to heavily water those sections.
Use a little bit of thought to the long-term needs of your plants during the planning stages of your landscaping projects. With careful planning, you can establish a beautiful landscape that will add to the value of your home while providing you with years of satisfaction and enjoyment. Your landscape need not cost you a fortune in maintenance to look fantastic.