As well as maintaining the appearance and function of your secondary home or investment property, it’s important to maintain the cost-effectiveness and efficiency for it to function. A significant part of this means reducing the waste of water.
The easiest way to do this is to install a water-wise garden in your home. By making a simple, yet effective adjustment, we can save water and increase our “green” footprint. We chatted to Sean Newbery, founder of Green Space Design & Landscaping about why this is important and what the key areas are that need to be looked at. Read on below and be a part of the change:
Why is it good to have gardens that are water-wise?
Two very real reasons include the cost of water and the fact that South Africa is a water-scarce country.
How do you transform a garden into a water-wise garden?
If you have a large garden, start with one flowerbed at a time. An easy way to do this is to spend dedicated time on one flowerbed every month, or every second month, budget depending.
Once you’ve decided where to start, the next step is to replace thirsty exotic plants with groundcovers and water-wise plants.
If possible, try replacing smaller lawn areas with hard surfaces such as decking, paving, mulch or gravel around your home. It’s also advisable to spread thick mulch throughout flowerbeds to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed seed germination. Why? Because weeds use up vital water that could be feeding the plants.
Lastly, you can install an automated irrigation system that will stick to a programmed time. This will ensure that your plants aren’t overwatered if you forget to turn the sprinkler off. The best time to schedule the watering of your plants is in the early morning as this will ensure they have a good supply of water to face the heat of the day. More than that, the water will have time to reach the roots without the threat of evaporating.
Which plants use the most water?
Lawns are the most high-maintenance element of a garden, requiring a lot of water to remain healthy. Newly planted trees will need a fair amount of water too, but once established they will find their own water source deep underground. They will then create shade in your garden, thus limiting the evaporation from the soil. Other types of plants that usually requires more water include Hydrangeas and Azaleas.
And which plants are really water wise?
Most indigenous plants are water-wise. Local nurseries will usually advertise this or have sections specifically for water-wise plants. However, all plants from nurseries would have been watered every day to ensure they look good and healthy on display. These plants will need to be weaned off this regime over a period of time.
Most succulents are very similar in their preferences. With this in mind, your selection of succulents should come down to aesthetics. Most of them prefer full sun but a little shade is acceptable too, as many do like some shade during the hottest time of the day.
Which plants should be removed completely?
Any alien invasive plants should definitely be removed as they self-seed very easily and can take over and consume valuable water that other plants need. Flowering annuals are very thirsty and should be replaced with indigenous ground covers instead. Any plants with fleshy roots, such as agapanthus and clivias, should be a consideration as they retain moisture in their roots.
It isn’t a complicated task to make changes that can impact our planet. Often we can get overwhelmed and so we shy away from doing anything at all. For more information about how to further “green” up your home, visit Green Space Designs and find out all you need to know.