Plants need water to survive, but you can still conserve water in the garden with careful planning and landscape design. We'll explore xeriscaping, rain gardens, rain barrels, efficient irrigation, and low water use/xeriscape plant selection on this page.
What is a Rain Garden?
- Looks like an everyday garden but consists of plants that don't mind wet feet
- Located in either a natural depression/low area or a man-made depression
- Requires garden maintenance (weeding, pruning, etc.) and regular watering until established, and after is sustained by rain water
How Does It Function?
- Can take several inches of water during a rainfall event
- Reduces runoff onto streets by slowing down water and allowing it to percolate into the soil
- Vegetation also captures debris and prevents it from going into the storm sewers/bodies of water
- Reduces erosion and demand on drainage system
Mulch is good stuff (especially in our hot, humid climate). The best thing about mulch is that it increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Here are a few benefits of mulch:
- Conserves water
- Maintains soil temperature
- Reduces weed germination
- Controls soil erosion
Common mulch types are: hardwood, pine, cypress, cedar, and eucalyptus. You can also buy mulch that has been dyed red, black, or brown. Whatever your mulch preference, do not exceed three inches in planting beds and around trees. Anything in excess of three inches may decrease water penetration and oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange.
Xeriscaping is a landscape technique that uses drought tolerant, native and low water use plants. It saves water and requires no irrigation system, once established. Learn more about Xeriscaping.
Water Smart Plant List
Looking for Water Smart plants? Look no further. View a list of plants (PDF) that really perform here in League City.
Native Wildflowers as Part of Xeriscape
Native wildflowers are interesting and require less water than most annuals and perennials. Lawn areas can also be seeded with native wildflower seeds for a burst of color during spring, summer, or fall. Who wouldn't want a lawn full of bluebonnets in the spring?
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin is a great resource for information.
Rain barrels catch water that usually runs off the roof during a storm. They're easy to make/purchase and install. Water harvested from rain barrels can be re-used to water plants, wash cars, etc. Check out this video on how to make your own rain barrel.
Can You Drink Rain Water?
Read the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) May 2011 newsletter.