How to Reduce Water Consumption in Landscape Planting


Water is a vital natural resource. Texas A&M University estimates that 25 percent of the water supply for an urban area is used in watering lawns and gardens. But there are ways to enjoy a beautifully landscaped yard and yet still reduce the amount of water used. Landscaping that works within the boundaries of nature to conserve water is called xeriscaping.

Step 1

Select plants native to the area you're landscaping for. Plants adapted to your environment usually need less water than introduced species.

Step 2

Group plants with similar watering needs together. This will result in fewer watering sessions than if you group diverse plants.

Step 3

Create planting beds in depressions in the soil that are lower than the surrounding land. Water will naturally run off into these depressions.

Step 4

Install drip irrigation rather than sprinklers to water plants. Drip irrigation systems deliver water where it is needed, at the root zone, and reduces evaporation.

Step 5

Mulch around plants to help hold in water. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch will suppress weeds, moderate soil temperature and prevent evaporation.

Step 6

Water lawns deeply and infrequently to reduce evaporation that occurs when you water frequently. Water a lawn only once every 10 to 14 days, but water until saturated and there is an inch of standing water on the grass.

Step 7

Mow grass to its proper height and mow less frequently. The proper height for Bermuda grass is 1 inch, zoysia grass is 2 inches and buffalo grass or St. Augustine grass is 3 inches.

Things You'll Need

  • Native plants
  • Soaker hoses
  • Mulch
  • Sprinkler
  • Lawn mower


  • Texas A&M University Extension: Xeriscape
  • N.C. State University: Urban Plant Ecology: A Horticultural Perspective.
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Landscape Design for Water Conservation

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Extension: Conserving Water in the Garden
Keywords: xeriscaping, conserving water in garden, reduce water consumption landscaping

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."