Save water – and money – in your garden

With water being an increasingly scarce – and costly – resource, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain an attractive garden that adds value to your home - unless you convert to “water-wise” or xeriscape gardening, with its emphasis on indigenous plants, low maintenance and minimum extra watering.

A beautiful example of a xeriscape garden
This type of gardening can cut exterior water use by as much as 70%, and the use of indigenous plants in healthy soil also largely eliminates the need for fertilizers or pesticides, notes Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says a water-wise garden will probably not need much mowing either (which cuts down on your home energy consumption) and an added benefit is that it will provide a familiar and healthy habitat for local insects, birds and other small fauna. 
First outlined by the National Xeriscape Council in the US, this gardening concept revolves around the use of slow-growing and drought-resistant plants that require only the amount of water available from rainfall in any specific area, to create gardens that are water-efficient but still oases of pleasure.
Largely based on common-sense, the system does require some planning and perhaps a little more knowledge of soil types and plants than the average gardener initially possesses.
It means grouping plants with similar water demands, improving the soil (because loamy soil uses water most efficiently), and the use of mulch to reduce water evaporation. And it means selecting grass cultivars for lawns that are drought-tolerant and adapted to the region in which you live.
“However,” says Everitt, “South Africa is fortunate in having a wide variety of indigenous plants which are both drought-tolerant and decorative, and the continuing cost savings will more than compensate the gardener who takes the time to learn how to create a beautiful garden in harmony with the natural environment.”

For more information on xeriscape gardens visit The Green Initiative, Kumbula Nursery and Rain Harvest

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