California isn’t the only state facing severe water droughts. As of June, 2015, according to the website the U.S. Drought Monitor, the last few months has brought water shortages to the eastern Carolinas northwestward through the lower Ohio Valley. This includes the following states: Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee, and southwestern West Virginia. The entire region’s rain measures just 0.5 inches or less. Experts are also seeing water deficiencies along the lower Ohio Valley, in Kentucky, and also in Tennessee and West Virginia. Since mid-April 2015. Moderate drought is showing up in other states where rainfall levels are at one to two-thirds of normal rainfall.
In California, home owners are receiving tickets for using too much water. For anyone building a new home, landscaping is a serious concern these days. There is now a 25 percent reduction in urban water use and those with the highest per capita use are being forced to cut daily consumption by about 36 percent. New laws are being created all the time concerning water use and waste, so make sure to check with your local officials on your city’s regulations.
For all these reasons, more and more home builders are now using what they call, “water wise techniques” such as the process called xeriscaping that can help homeowners save water. Just remember that an attractive garden can rely on native plants. Depending on where you live, landscaping your new home using drought tolerant concepts just may be the right thing to do.
Once you have purchased your lot, take a look at the terrain, and where you get sun and shade. Do you have a rocky yard or a yard with a lot of shade? Sometimes it is best to just accept the terrain you inherit and consider a rock garden if the terrain is rocky, or add slopes to fight erosion. The key is to know what you're up against and determine your options based on native plants and location.
Mulch is an essential ingredient to helping plants conserve moisture, and it also helps keep the weeds down. Mulched spots on a slope can also help water soak into the ground. You should spread a couple of three inches of mulch in between widely-spaced plants to help reduce water loss. Remember that a raised flower bed with borders for plants can prevent water loss. You can also add soil amendments like natural compost or a new bio-nutrient like GrowSwitch.com that helps save water and adds trace minerals to plants and vegetable gardens.
The Plan Collection offers some great tips below:
• Install a drip-irrigation system. It wastes less water and delivers hydration directly to the plants
• Evergreens provide color and structure to your landscape.
• Consider a vegetable garden that serves two purposes. 1) It looks nice, and 2) it provides food for your family.
• Use what is called “hardscape elements” – sculptures can help you make your drought-tolerant gardens more interesting. Use a trellis or pavers with a series of circles as steps for interest. Other things like benches and birdbaths are nice too.
• The gaps between pavers provide spots for water to soak into the ground below.
• Duo-purpose herbs such as oregano are excellent drought-tolerant plants; and creeping thyme as a groundcover helps provide a method to catch the water on a gentle slope. Use groundcovers in key areas.
• Oversize boulders add a vocal point but also help fill in gaps.
• Use less grasses, and instead choose drought-tolerant plants which prevent erosion.
• Many flowers supply showy blooms but require a lot of water; plant evergreens, such as arborvitae, which call for little water.
• Foliage plants work well in a drought-tolerant garden.
• Japanese forest grass offers a little drama to a landscaped yard while Japanese bloodgrass has lots of foliage.
• Water pants early in the morning or late in the day to prevent water evaporation.
• Eco-friendly rain barrels can offer a way to recycle rainfall when there is rain.
• Make pathways of gravel, instead of concrete, so soil can absorb some water before it runs off.
• Densely planted flowerbeds help keep weeds away.
As you plan the landscaping for your new home, take a look at the house plan that you have purchased and determine the best drought tolerant plants to add drama. If you are seeking water-hardy plants, consider these: catmint, goat's beard, lady's mantle, and lavender, require minimal water to reach maximum growth.