New watering restrictions come just as July heat typically takes its toll on landscapes. However, prudent planning using drought-tolerant plants, watering schedules and soil preparation can mean gardeners can still enjoy beautiful landscapes despite sizzling summer days and newly enacted water rationing.
Plant Low Water-Use Vegetation: Native plants usually require little or no water once they are established. Plants that have survived for hundreds of years through droughts and downpours will mostly likely survive in just about any backyard landscape. Dozens of varieties of native plants are available for gardeners. Popular types include sages, big berry Manzanita, buckwheat, bush poppy, California Aster and California Mountain Lilac.
Reduce Your Grass Area: Lawns use more water than any other landscape feature. Consider replacing a portion of your grass with low-growing, drought tolerant ground cover. You will first need to remove the grass, till the soil and amend with compost. Perennial ground covers include ornamental grasses, Alyssum and Verbena.
Mulch Around Your Plants and Trees: A two-inch layer of mulch (semi-composted wood chips) will help retain moisture within the soil and moderate soil temperature during dry weather. Other benefits include less weed growth, less erosion (making it ideal for use on hillsides and slopes) and the addition of organic matter and nutrients to the soil as the mulch naturally decomposes.