It’s the dead of summer in the United States, and your plants (and pocketbook) are probably starting to feel it. With the hot summer months come increased watering bills, which can put a strain on your budget. You love having beautiful flowers or a bountiful vegetable garden, but the price of keeping your plants hydrated and happy can really start to add up.
Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your garden water bill and keep your plants happy and healthy during these toasty months. These tips and tricks will help you get the most bang for your buck by increasing watering efficiency and reducing waste.
Install an irrigation system
An automated irrigation system can help you save time and money on your garden water bill. It allows you to set up a specific watering schedule, ensuring that your plants get just the right amount of water at the optimal time. This helps reduce water waste and maximize efficiency.
You might want to stay away from overhead sprinklers for your garden, however, as they are not very efficient and can lead to water loss due to evaporation.
Install rain barrels
Capturing and reusing rainwater to water your garden is an effective way to save money on water bills. Rain barrels are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, and can provide ample water for you to use during the summer months.
For more information on installing a rain barrel system in your garden, check out this article.
Use drip irrigation
Drip irrigation is an efficient way to deliver water directly to the roots of your plants, eliminating unnecessary runoff and providing a consistent supply of moisture. This saves money by preventing water waste.
Mulching your garden helps prevent soil evaporation and retains moisture in the soil, which means less frequent watering. Additionally, a thick layer of mulch can help prevent weed growth, saving you time and money on weeding.
Check soil moisture before watering
Before you reach for the hose, check to see if your plants are already adequately hydrated. Stick a finger in the soil to make sure it’s dry at least two inches down before watering. This simple step can save you from over-watering and help prevent wasting water (and money).
Compost is packed with essential minerals that keep plants healthy and lower their water requirements. Additionally, compost helps improve the structure of your soil, allowing it to retain moisture better.
Choose your plants wisely
Some plants are more drought-tolerant than others, so choosing native and low-water varieties can help save you money in the long run. Researching the best plant choices for your garden’s climate can make a big difference in your yearly water usage.
My favorite drought-tolerant plants
Succulents: Succulents come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are incredibly low-maintenance, making them perfect for hot summer months. All they need is an occasional drink of water to keep them happy!
Cacti: Cacti come in all varieties, from small houseplants to large outdoor plants. They require very little water and can thrive with minimal maintenance.
Lavender: As drought-tolerant perennials, lavender plants need little water and sun to thrive. They also attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making them a great addition to any garden.
Coneflower: Coneflowers are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant perennials that bloom in the late summer. They require little water and can tolerate several different soil types.
Sage: Russian sage, bush sage, and meadow sage are all excellent drought-tolerant plants. They need very little water and will grow well in many environments.
Agave: Agave plants are tough, low-maintenance succulents that require little water and can tolerate various temperatures. They also present beautiful blooms in the spring, making them a welcome addition to any landscape.
Water at the right time of day
Watering your plants during the heat of the day can lead to water waste, as much of it will evaporate before being fully absorbed by the soil. Instead, try watering in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler, and there is less wind. This will help retain more moisture in the soil and reduce wastage.
Consider lawn alternatives
One of the biggest water consumers in a garden is the lawn, so if you’re looking to save money on your water bill, it may be worth considering replacing your traditional grass with an alternative. Artificial turf can give you the look of a lush green lawn without requiring watering. You could also opt for ground-cover plants that require much less water than grass.
Water the right way
Give your plants more water less frequently rather than little sips. Deep watering encourages healthy root growth and helps maximize your watering efforts by saturating the soil. You should also water at the base of your plant rather than watering the leaves.
Check sprinkler systems for leaks
Leaky sprinklers and pipes can be a huge waste of water, so it’s important to check your system for any leaks or damaged areas. This can help you save money by preventing unnecessary water wastage.
Check your yard for any areas that are extra green or muddy, good indicators of an underground leak. You can also hire a professional to audit your sprinkler system and make any necessary repairs. Be aware of leaks around faucets as well, as they can quickly add up over time.
Consider installing an automatic rain-shutoff device
If you’re using an automated irrigation system, consider installing a rain-shutoff device. This will help prevent your sprinklers from running when it’s raining, which can lead to over-watering and unnecessary water waste.
Small changes make a big difference
By following these tips, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful garden without breaking the bank. So don’t sweat it – with a few simple changes, you can keep your plants happy and your water bill low this summer.