Slow rainfall levels, high temperatures and nightly winds makes for a very dry garden scape. This scenario appears to be very similar to areas all over North America.
With the decline in natural rainfall and the necessity to conserve our fresh water supply, it only makes sense that gardeners find ways to use less. There are many things you can do without going to the extreme of a gravel and rock yard. If you like that look then go for it, but for the rest of us who still prefer a more green garden try using the Xeriscaping tips below.
Soils that are gravelly or sandy are very free draining. They will not hold any kind of moisture and most nutrients disappear just as fast. Clay soils hold water content in the winter but dry out like hard cement in hot weather. By adding large amounts of organic material (compost, manure, leaf mold) your soil will be able to hold the moisture it receives. Improving your soil is very important for success in the dry garden.
This is where we have to be open minded. It may just be that some of your favorite plants are simply water hogs. If this is the case you will have to let go of some of them. For those you cannot do without, place them all together in an area where more water will be applied. There is no sense overwatering plants that do not have these high water needs.
There are many wonderful xeriscape plants that do not require much water. A little research into the water needs of the different annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees that grow in your area will reward you with a long list to choose from.
Most of your drought tolerant plants will need adequate water to get themselves established during their first season in your garden. Shrubs and trees could take two years. Once established, very little watering will be required.
Not only will mulching improve the appearance of your dry gardens but it is excellent for conserving the soils water content. It will help prevent water loss through evaporation, and deter weed growth which uses up available moisture your plants need.
This is also a good reason to keep your garden beds well weeded. Use any organic mulch of choice such as chipped bark, leaves, manure or even gravel.
Most likely you will still be watering your garden although very much less than before. Always water only when really necessary, watering less often but deeply when you do. Use drip irrigation whenever possible and do not water in the heat of the day when much of your water will be lost to evaporation. Check all your hoses and connections for leaks or breaks, these drips can become a substantial water loss.