Water is a finite resource. With the world population constantly and rapidly growing, the world’s stores of potable water are dwindling. To preserve our already strained supplies into the future, we need to be much more reticent with our use of water. How however, can gardens possibly thrive without it? Environmental advocates have been searching for a definitive answer to that question for years and have succeeded in coming up with a range of answers. From xeriscaping to rainwater harvesting, we’re going to walk you through several solutions.
More efficient watering practices
All too often homeowners are startlingly inefficient in the way in which they use water. With no regard for the wastefulness of their actions, gardeners will use the quickest and most convenient method: hosepipes. Gluttonously inefficient, hosepipes are banned in times of water scarcity for good reason. Instead, gardeners should switch out hosepipes for any number of more environmentally efficient alternatives. Using a watering can might be slightly more labour intensive and take longer, but it will use a lot less water. If you can afford it, a drip irrigation system will water your plants with pinpoint accuracy, ensuring only the necessary volume of water is used – and no more.
You don’t necessarily have to use less water; you just to have change where you get it from. Inexpensive and straightforward to install, a rainwater harvesting system will provide you with a steady – and sustainable – source of water. Conveniently located water butts will collect rainwater without you having to move a muscle. You’ll then be able tap into this supply as and when needed to water your garden.
You can however go one step further and essentially eliminate the need for water entirely. Xeriscaping, which is growing in popularity in areas where access to water for irrigation is limited, aims to reduce or, if possible, remove the need for supplemental water in irrigation. By prioritising plants that require very little water – like succulents – the technique aims to create gardens that aren’t dependent on water to succeed.
Alternatives to natural lawns
Ever since they sprang into ubiquity in 1800s England, grass lawns have been nothing more than a symbol of status. In practical terms, they are a resource-hungry reminder of a bygone era. As well as using up thousands of litres of water, gardens also require fertiliser and regular mowing to be properly maintained. Why not opt for a more environmentally-friendly alternative?
It might seem counterintuitive but outfitting your garden with non-living materials can help make your garden more sustainable. Artificial grass, which requires extraordinarily little in the way of upkeep, looks great and eats up none of the environmentally costly resources real grass does. Similarly, reclaiming timber or stone from a nearby skip and using it to lay patio or decking will not only break up the monotony of an all-green garden, it will give you somewhere to sit when conditions have muddied your lawn. Combining decking with artificial grass is a water-free way to liven up your garden.
Overwatering is not only detrimental; it’s extremely wasteful. Even the most goal-oriented gardener should be mindful of the amount of water they use. It is too important of an issue to simply turn a blind eye to. The environmentally conscious bent of the Chelsea Flower Show gardens in recent years is emblematic of changing attitudes: water conservation techniques have featured heavily. Hopefully this post has shown you that sustainability doesn’t have to come at the expense of the aesthetic appeal of your garden and has encouraged you to work with us all towards a more sustainable future.