4. Mulch me, please
One of the best ways to retain moisture is to lay several inches of mulch in the garden. This layer of material keeps roots cool and moist while inhibiting weed germination and growth—rapid-growing bullies that rob water and nutrients from desirable plants. Products like bark mulch are popular and add an attractive finishing touch. They also help to disperse rainfall to reduce erosion. Some gardeners lay several sheets of damp newspaper beneath mulch to strengthen its value as a weed inhibitor.
5. Rethink varieties
Although they are beautiful and provide non-stop colour, most annuals are real water hogs. By using a combination of successively blooming, water-sipping shrubs and perennials, you can still have your jewel tones. Low-maintenance daylilies and echinaceas are available in a riot of colours now. Lavender, yarrow, rudbeckia, liatrus, monarda and sedum are a few other great perennials. Ornamental grasses add four-season beauty and movement.
Whether you choose to mulch, ease up on lawn maintenance or plant groundcover, taking steps to reduce your water consumption means less work for you, and more fun in the garden. Your wallet, your back and the planet will thank you!