Working with Nature
In the last article we talked about water harvesting and recycling. This is an over discussed but very important issue with much to be learned from. We are now at a turning point as to how we look at our water resources, both in building and in landscaping. Most homeowners still think of gray water use as annoying tasks like emptying out your bathtub with a bucket and rainwater collection as swampy plastic barrels under the canales. Both kinds of systems can work much more easily and smoothly but it does take an investment in a local expert.
How else can we utilize these great rains for our landscaping? There are simple ways to maximize your rainwater without the complexity of harvesting. For example, when planting a tree, always build a big moat around it to hold extra water. If the tree is on a hill, only build up the moat on the downhill side. A simple trench to the tree can direct much slope runoff to its roots that would otherwise be lost. When you think of it, any puddle in the road is wasted water that could be growing trees. When choosing spots for your big shade trees or accent shrubs, look for spots that your driveway or walkways tend to slope toward and water accumulates.
Another example of good planning is to have your thirstiest perennial bed at the base of a imperceptibly sloped patio. You would be amazed at how much it puddles up and soaks in a good rain (frequent at this time of year). A lawn, native or otherwise, with a very slight bowl shape to it will also soak up the extra rain water instead of shedding it. When seeding native grass and wildflowers for land reclamation such as post construction landscaping, double up the wildflower seed on the low spots and watch them transform into focal points of color. Last but not least, terrace your hill sides if you are planning to grow anything on them. This will slow erosion and hold more water for the plants.
All of the above are simple solutions that you can work with nature to maximize our rainfall in this desert region.
Kendall McCumber Fine Gardening designs, installs and maintains all sizes drought tolerant gardens, stonescapes, irrigation and water harvesting systems. Call Kendall at 660-9599 for a consultation.
by Kendall McCumber