This has been one of the hottest Southern California summers in recent memory. We all love the LA sunshine, but it certainly has its drawbacks when it’s really hot outside. Maintaining a home garden in this weather can be challenging, especially if you are trying to conserve water, energy and other natural resources. We are all trying to be better citizens of the planet. That’s why we are passionate about sustainable home construction and home gardening/farming techniques.
There are ways to keep a beautiful garden in Los Angeles while minimizing your water usage. Here are a few good sustainable home gardening tips to consider:
Use California-Native Plants
One of the best tips for any SoCal homeowner is to plant bushes, flowers, cacti and trees which are native to California or similar coastal desert climates. These plants are acclimated to our warmer weather and dryer conditions. They can survive extended droughts with less watering. There are many California-native species that you can use in your home garden or throughout your landscaping to help you cut down on water usage while still maintaining a beautiful presentation.
Redo Your Irrigation System
There are many new smart irrigation control systems that can help you optimize exactly how much water you use. Everything can be programmed specifically for your plants, water consumption limits and budget. Drip irrigation is another great idea as you can provide a steady and targeted source of moisture based on the type of plant.
Rethink Your Yard and Garden
It may be time to reimagine your yard and garden areas. Summertime will always be hot around here and drought conditions can happen for years on end in Southern California. You can complete a “turf reduction” by replacing grass sections or lush garden areas that require a lot of water with desert landscaping. It’s also good to prioritize how your water needs to be used. Some plants and trees need more water than others. Design your yard, garden and irrigation system to provide the most efficient and effective results.
Work with Local Experts
Greg loves his own garden, and he couldn’t do it without the help of some of his favorite local resources. He is able to consult with their horticultural experts and learn about the latest approaches to sustainable gardening, including new technology and equipment. Here are some of Greg’s local recommendations specializing in California native plants:
- Hardy Californians – Santa Monica
- Plant Material – Silver Lake, Glassell Park and Altadena
- Theodore Payne Foundation – Sun Valley
Make Little Adjustments
There are some smaller adjustments you can make to your gardening and watering routines that can help you conserve water and energy:
- Use smaller sprinkler heads
- Set mower blades to 3 inches height
- Water at night to absorb more moisture
- Don’t use power washers to clean patio areas
Lastly, you can use mulch throughout your garden and other landscaped areas. It helps retain more moisture. Ultimately, a properly mulched yard can save you up to 20-30 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet, each time you water.
You may not have time to implement all of these ideas before summer comes to an end, but remember fall in Los Angeles is often just as hot and dry—if not more arid because of the Santa Ana winds. These can all be fall and early spring projects to consider as we prepare for another hot summer next year. Even the smallest of steps can make the biggest of differences!