My husband and I ventured out this past weekend to the Santa Monica Sustainable Garden Tour. Given that we are finishing up the house renovation and will shortly be starting to focus on the front and back yards, we wanted to learn as much as possible about responsible landscaping.
Now admittedly, when I think of xeriscape (defined as a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques (as the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficient irrigation)) I can’t help but cringe as I picture cacti and succulents sprawled out among sandy dunes. (Let it be known that I do all I can to avoid the cactus garden at the Huntington Library and Gardens whenever I go there. It must have something to do with the fact that I fell into a cactus patch as a child). Well, the Sustainable Garden tour proved to be not only informative, but fascinating as well.
I set out on the tour to find an alternative to the water-guzzling front lawn, and found several solutions that gave both me and my lawn-loving husband cause to rejoice. Creeping red fescue, a sort of “furry lawn” for lack of a better word, was something we already knew about, but we discovered that a blend of several varieties of fescue seeds make for a foolproof and weather proof ground cover that satisfies the need for a lush landscape. Plus it require no mowing… need I say more? We also learned more about a watering system that conserves water by getting signals from a satellite weather station, so you never end up watering before it rains.
One trend we saw throughout the tour was the presence of an infiltration basin. It’s basically an underground dumping ground for runoff from the yard. The drainage from the garden and irrigation, as well as rainspouts if desired, are funnelled into an area of the yard that has been layered with gravel and other natural compounds that filter the water and distribute it back down to the watertable. Planting more thirsty plants in the infiltration basin allows for a more lush looking garden without excessive water usage. Brilliant. You can find out more about infiltration basins by clicking here: http://www.raingardens.org/Index.php
How do you conserve water in your garden?