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5 Ways to Save Water in Your Garden

These ideas will help you find water-wise techniques for growing a beautiful landscape.

1. Mulch bare soil

Mulch (left) is like a blanket for your plants. It slows evaporation of soil moisture, meaning you'll need to water less. Mulch your pots, too.

2. Try drip irrigation

Drip irrigation of landscaping beds (left)--slowly applying water directly to plants' root zone--doesn't waste a drop through evaporation and prevents molds that can develop with droplets on plant leaves. Purchase easy-to-install sets at any garden or home center.

3. Grow drought-tolerant plants

Once established, drought-tolerant plants can handle extended periods without water. That's not to say they don't need water, just less than other garden plants. A layer of mulch keeps them even happier by maintaining soil moisture and temperature.

In the Midwest, try plants such as sedum (left) (Sedum spp.), ornamental grasses, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), sage (Salvia spp.) and yarrow (Achillea spp). Check with your local garden center to see what's best for your area.

4. More Midwest gardening tips

5.Collect the free stuff

One of the most surprising things about a rain barrel is how quickly it fills, even in the lightest of rains. And the water you collect is free of city water chemicals. Connect the barrel to your downspout or use a pretty rain chain to guide the water. Most hardware stores and nurseries sell barrels.

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