Preparing for Drought Conditions

In this region we can be exposed to drought conditions. We can’t change the weather, but we can design a landscape plan to ensure optimal plant health and an attractive setting for your residence.

Your Plan

  1. Determine which landscape features on your property are most important to you.
  2. How do you use your landscape? Is it a children’s play area, a garden, or an aesthetic feature that enhances your home?
  3. What are your water resources? Can you water the plantings that most need supplemental attention?

Your Lawn

During drought conditions, you have a choice: if you want a green lawn throughout the drought you will need to water frequently. However, if you want to conserve water you can choose not to water your lawn, which will cause it to become dormant. When cooler, wetter weather arrives, it will recover its growth and color. A lawn only needs to be watered during the establishment phase or after renovation work such as seeding. By watering your lawn less, you can give that saved water to the more expensive plantings in your yard. Remember, the replacement cost for a lawn is relatively low, and most lawns in our region need to be renovated periodically for the best growth and attractiveness.

Your Plants

Focus on perennials rather than annuals because they represent a larger investment. Spot water those that need extra water and try to group them in the perennial border by their water needs. Trees and shrubs planted within the last two years will require watering. Exceptions are shallow-rooted trees and shrubs like Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Dogwoods, which need a monthly drink, and those that are prone to drought-related diseases and pests, like Colorado Blue Spruce, Pines, Leyland Cypress, Japanese Maples, and Flowering Cherries.

Watering your Landscape

Overhead sprinklers are inexpensive and highly portable, but they waste enormous quantities of water due to evaporation and poor distribution.

Soaker hoses are a relatively inexpensive, durable, and distribute water evenly. Be sure to have enough soaker hoses to distribute water to all plants in a selected area, depending on the density of the soil. They do require monitoring to be effective.

Irrigation systems are initially more expensive but are one of the best investments for your home. A professionally designed and installed system provides greater control in managing the amount of water distributed to a given area, keeps your landscape attractive year round, and conserves water. Many systems have moisture-sensing devices that will automatically turn off your system when it rains.

Choosing Your Plants Wisely

You can’t control the weather but you can control your property’s plant material and watering needs. Incorporate a greater number of plants that have minimal water requirements. Replace landscape features that require a lot of water. Your landscape professional can help select plant material that is indigenous to this region and recommend an irrigation system to keep your plants healthy and attractive.