Conserving water in the garden – 10 tips

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Story Updated: Apr 10, 2013

Conserving water and sticking to your budget this summer go hand in hand. Keep this fact in mind: As much as 40 percent of our water usage during the warmer months goes toward keeping our lawns and gardens green. By conserving water in the garden you can save water and money.

Saving water outdoors is actually pretty simple. And there are many ways in which you can cut back and have an impact. Try these 10 simple outdoor water conservation tips to cut back on your water usage this summer and save some money in the process.

Water Conservation Tip Number 1: You can save water by using a drip irrigation system to water container gardens, trees and shrubs. A typical spray irrigation system wastes water by spraying it into the air. Much of that sprayed water evaporates before it reaches the plants, especially in hotter temperatures.

Water Conservation Tip Number 2: Saving water on your sprinkler system is easy if you install a rain sensor, which ensures it won't turn on unnecessarily during rainfall. Moisture sensors are great as well; they detect when dew has formed overnight so you don't need to water the lawn as often.

Water Conservation Tip Number 3: How can you save water with plants? Native plants, which are available at most of your local plant nurseries, are generally more tolerant of the weather conditions in your area, including typical rainfall amounts, and thus require less frequent watering.

Water Conservation Tip Number 4: A good way to conserve water is by fixing drippy outdoor faucets? Fix them! Even a slight leak adds up over time. Start by tightening the nut behind the faucet handle with a wrench. If this doesn't do the trick, hit your local hardware store for more specific instructions on fixing your system.

Water Conservation Tip Number 5: Rain barrels will also help you save water (Fiskars has good, affordable options). Place them at the end of your gutters to collect rainwater. Use the collected water to hydrate your plants, wash the car and fill birdbaths.

Water Conservation Tip Number 6: Purchase a downspout extension, which will allow you to direct rainwater to the places that need it most -- instead of it just dribbling off the side of your house into a wasteful space!

Water Conservation Tip Number 7: Have a pool? Use a bubble-wrap pool water cover when it's not in use. The cover sits on top of the surface of the water and helps keep pool water from evaporating, so there's no need to top it off as often.

Water Conservation Tip Number 8: Invest in some mulch! Adding a 2- or 3-inch layer of quality mulch in plant beds helps them retain moisture, thus requiring less water.

Water Conservation Tip Number 9: Replace leaky hoses (Neverkink is a well-tested brand that doesn't tangle or kink, which is the primary cause of leaks) and nozzles. Also replace the rubber washers on the connections between the hose and the house and/or between the hose and the nozzle. These easy, inexpensive fixes will save you money in the long run.

Water Conservation Tip Number 10: Aim to do all your watering first thing in the morning when it's cooler. This will ensure that less water will be lost to evaporation.