8 tips to save water when gardening
As the weather starts to heat up in the spring and summer, so many Canadians love to start digging into their gardens. Having a beautiful garden full of annuals and perennials, shrubbery and trees, and even vegetables can be like having a colourful little oasis in your own yard. Keeping your garden oasis-quality takes a good deal of maintenance, including water, to keep it alive and growing.
Canada has 20% of the world’s freshwater resources.1 But due to climate change, increasing demand (especially in urban areas), and the cost of replacing aging infrastructure, it’s important to conserve water to ensure sustainable water management in the decades to come.1 Clearly, it’s important to conserve water, and doing so has the added benefit of saving you money on your water bill.
So here are some tips to conserve water, while maintaining a beautiful garden:
- Use watering zones: Some plants need more or less water than others. When you know which are which, you can group them together, which makes for more efficient watering.2
- Monitor the rainfall: Speaking of efficient watering, if you know it’s rained recently, your garden has probably received all the hydration it needs, so you can skip a watering.3
- Plant drought-tolerant plants: Plants native to your area know how to survive in your climate without much intervention. But there are also some beautiful drought-tolerant plants you can have in your garden, like the iris, marigold, pansy, sunflower, and many others.2
- Use mulch: Adding a few inches of mulch to your garden helps retain moisture in the soil beneath it, so your plants will require less water.2
- Install an irrigation system: An irrigation system can provide a low-flow trickle or drip of water to your garden, and it can be set with a timer so you don’t over-water.4 And you can really save on water with a smart irrigation system, which can automatically monitor the weather and soil conditions so it only waters when absolutely necessary.
- Plant a rain garden: A rain garden emulates a natural waterway, like a creek. When rainwater falls, the garden collects it and it infiltrates the soil, which soaks it up like a sponge for later use. Just make sure to do your research on how to design it and choose the right plants that thrive in damp environments.5
- Try a rain barrel: Either purchase or make your own barrel and place it beneath one of your home’s downspouts. Water will run off from the roof, through the gutters and down the spout into the barrel. Then use the water you’ve collected to irrigate your garden. You could save 4,900 litres of water doing this throughout the summer.6
- Choose the right time to water: It’s best to water in the early morning or evening, when it’s a little cooler, so there’s less chance of evaporation. Also, if you see a strong wind, wait until it passes. You don’t want your water blowing away from its intended target.3
Hopefully these tips can help you enjoy a beautiful, healthy garden this summer, while using as little water as possible.
1 nationalgeographic.com, “Does Canada need to conserve its water?” September 16, 2020.
2 gardentherapy.ca, “Xeriscaping Principles: Gardening for Water Conservation,” August 27, 2020.
3 homestolove.com.au, “12 water saving tips that will keep your garden alive,” October 14, 2020.
4 globalnews.ca, “Easy ways to use a little less water in your own backyard,” July 22, 2019.
5 saltwire.com, “GO GARDEN: Planting a rain garden good way to combat summer droughts,” June 3, 2019.
6 squareone.ca, “Using rain barrels around your home,” March 22, 2021.