Planning your watering schedule whether for new beds or established gardens can be a challenge during changing climate conditions, including consistent drought or extreme temperatures. Your county or city may also place watering restrictions throughout the region. Following a few basic guidelines in your planting and watering routine can provide a smooth transition for existing plants and save on water consumption.

Right Plant, Right Place

Choosing native plant material is an eco-friendly way to minimize water consumption as well as long-term maintenance. Plants should be grouped according to sun/shade requirements. Be aware of areas around your property where drainage alters normal watering levels.

Adding Compost

Compost is nutrient-rich and will break down harmful organisms within the soil. The compost will retain moisture levels around your plants and within existing soil. Compost can be created with the leaf and stem waste from your landscape and then can be used to retain the water. This is a great way to make your landscape truly renewable.

Drip Irrigation/Hand Watering/Harvesting rain in barrels

Drip irrigation systems are an effective way to provide accurate watering at a slow rate for new plant material, raised beds, and edible gardens. Drip irrigation systems can apply 1-4 gallons of water per hour, providing uniform soil saturation. Water use is also minimized when watering your garden/lawn by hand. You should have a spray nozzle that evenly distributes water throughout your garden/lawn. Watering levels should be adjusted according to the plant or grass type. Another way to minimize on water consumption is to collect new rainfall in barrels. You can apply the stored water to smaller gardens or install a more advanced system for lawn care.


Use of mulch helps slow water evaporation and is proven to minimize water consumption. Too much mulch should be avoided. Three inches should be the maximum depth for spreading mulch around plants. Water-wise mulches include: pine straw, pine bark, chipped or shredded hardwood. Organic mulches used in edible gardens include: peat moss, seaweed, sawdust, dry composted manure, bark chips, and straw.

Garden supplies such as rain barrels, drip irrigation devices/systems, hand-controlled spray nozzles, and other products may be found at your local garden and nursery center.

Charlie Allen
BS Horticultural Science, NC State University
MBA, Business Administration, Methodist University
Operations Manager