Sustainable Gardening: How To Replace Your Lawn With A Water-Wise Garden

Sustainable Gardening: How To Replace Your Lawn With A Water-Wise Garden

You love gardening but also care deeply about the environment. Why not combine your green thumb with water conservation? Water-wise gardening allows you to cultivate beautiful plants using less of our most precious resources.

As hotter summers become more common and water scarcity affects communities, water-wise gardening is a responsible and fulfilling hobby. By choosing plants adapted to your climate and grouping them according to light and water needs, you can craft an oasis of colour and texture with minimal runoff or waste.

Water-Wise Garden V.S. Xeriscape

A xeriscape refers to a drought-tolerant landscape with low water requirements, while a water-wise garden encompasses any design that aims to preserve water.

Mulching, drip irrigation, and rainwater harvesting are just a few techniques to help you get the most out of every drop. And the best part is that a water-wise garden, once established, often requires less maintenance than a traditional landscape, freeing you up to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your eco-friendly labour.

Your garden can inspire others in your community and be a haven for local wildlife. A water-wise garden is a gift that keeps on giving to yourself, your family, and the planet. Why wait? Roll up your sleeves and start making a difference, one plant at a time.

Skip To What You Need To Know:

What Is A Water-Wise Garden?

A water-wise garden is designed to save water. Perennials are often used in these gardens since they are known to be drought-resistant plants.

A water-wise garden refers to a landscape designed to conserve water. These sustainable gardens typically consist of plants that don’t require frequent watering once established. Creating a water-wise garden has many benefits, including:

Lowers Water Bills

Using less water means paying less for water. Installing drip irrigation rain barrels and selecting water-wise plants can significantly reduce water usage. Over time, the savings can really add up.

Less Maintenance

Quite a number of water-wise plants only need less pruning, fertilising, or pest control. They are well adapted to survive in your local climate with minimal help from you. Using mulch and drip irrigation also cuts down on weeding and manual watering. All of this equals less time spent working in the garden and more time enjoying it.

Healthier Plants

Plants that are grouped according to their water needs will thrive since their requirements are being met. The enriched soil and targeted irrigation in a water-wise garden will produce stronger, healthier plants that are less susceptible to disease and pest infestation.

Attracts Wildlife

Native plants, flowering perennials, and shrubs provide food and shelter for local wildlife like birds, butterflies, and bees. A water-wise garden creates a natural habitat for native fauna to live and feed in.

Sets A Good Example

A water-efficient garden shows others in your community that conserving this precious resource is essential. It encourages neighbours and visitors to change their yards and gardens to save water. Together, the collective impact of these sustainable gardens can be huge.

Increased Property Value

An attractive, low-maintenance garden can increase your home’s curb appeal and property value. Home buyers are often willing to pay more for a home with an established, water-efficient garden.

Transitioning to a water-wise garden has numerous long-term benefits. By adopting sustainable methods, you can create an eco-friendly garden that thrives with less water usage. This not only benefits the environment but also saves homeowners money and provides peace of mind, knowing that you are conserving this precious resource.

How To Build A Water-Wise Garden?

To build your own water-wise garden, you must learn water conservation techniques such as rainwater harvesting.

You’ll want to follow some guiding principles to have a water-wise garden.

Check Your Soil

The first is improving your soil by adding compost or other organic matter. This helps the soil hold more water, so you don’t have to water as often.

Group Plants By Water Needs

Grouping plants with similar water requirements together in your garden is key. This way, you can water each section according to its needs without overwatering some plants while underwatering others.

Tip: For the lowest maintenance, choose native plants or varieties adapted to your climate. These are already accustomed to your area’s weather patterns and rainfall.

Reduce Your Lawn Size

Lawns require frequent watering and mowing, so minimise the amount of turfgrass in your yard. Replace it with groundcovers, mulch, or permeable hardscapes like gravel or pavers. Your water bill and workload will decrease dramatically.

Harvest Rainwater

Collect rainwater to irrigate your garden with free, chemical-free water using rain barrels or cisterns connected to downspouts. A 1,000 sqft roof can yield over 600 gallons from 1 inch of rain!

Drip Irrigation: An Innovative Water Harvesting Technique

Instead of using sprinklers, drip irrigation delivers water straight to the roots of plants through emitters placed at their bases, making it a highly efficient method of irrigation.

Drip irrigation kits are inexpensive and easy to install, allowing simple pot systems using stakes and emitters or complex garden/lawn layouts with tubing and valves. 

This method keeps foliage dry to reduce disease, while mulch minimises weeds when used together by watering only desired areas. Using drip irrigation is an effective way to conserve water and maintain a lush garden productively.

Apply Mulch

Mulch retains soil moisture, suppresses weeds, adds nutrients, and regulates soil temperature. Organic mulches like compost, leaves, and straw decompose to release nutrients over time. Inorganic mulches, such as gravel, reflect heat and light away from the soil.

Maintain Your Garden

Healthy, well-maintained plants need less supplemental watering. Be diligent about weeding, pruning, fertilising, and pest control. Check soil moisture regularly and only water when the top few inches dry.

Following these principles will reduce water usage, lower costs, and still enjoy a beautiful garden. With some planning, you can definitely cultivate a sustainable oasis for years.

What Plants Are Suitable For A Water-Wise Garden?

When designing a water-efficient garden, it is essential to select plants that are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions. Many perennials, shrubs, and succulents make excellent choices. Some top options include:

Native Plants

The Broad-Leaved Stonecrop's beautiful sage-green and red leaves will make an excellent groundcover for rock gardens.

Native plants are naturally suited to your region’s climate and rainfall. Once established, they often need little maintenance or irrigation. For instance, rock garden owners from British Columbia might benefit from the low-maintenance broad-leaved stonecrop, which has attractive leaves. Consult your local garden center for recommendations on native plants that are appropriate for your area.

Popular Groundcovers

You know what else makes good garden groundcovers? The creeping phlox!

Notable groundcovers, such as sedum, hen and chicks, creeping phlox, and dwarf periwinkle, form dense mats that help retain soil moisture and prevent erosion. They require little maintenance or irrigation once established. Most prefer full sun, but some, like periwinkle, can tolerate partial shade.


Sage makes perfect wise-water garden plants, too!

Salvia, also known as sage, is an ideal water-wise perennial. Varieties like ‘May Night’ salvia and ‘East Friesland’ salvia produce beautiful purple flowers all summer with little maintenance. Lavender is another fragrant, perennial that comes in shades of purple, pink and white. Its silvery foliage is decorative even when not in bloom.


Dwarf globe blue spruces and other evergreen plants require less watering, so they're ideal for water-wise gardens too!

Dwarf yaupon holly and dwarf globe blue spruce are evergreen shrubs that provide greenery year-round without much watering. The holly produces bright red berries in fall and winter. Butterfly bush, with its long panicles of purple flowers, thrives in hot weather and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Once established, it needs minimal watering and pruning.


Succulents are not only for your desk. They make good water-wise garden plants, too!

Succulents like sedum, echeveria, crassula and sempervivum store water in their leaves and thrive in hot, dry climates. Smaller succulents can be planted in containers or used as ground cover, while larger types make a bold statement in garden beds and borders.

By choosing suitable plants and proper site preparation, you can have an attractive, sustainable garden that lets nature do most of the watering. With the rewards of beauty and productivity, you’ll appreciate the benefits of water-wise gardening.

Make The Wise Choice

It's never too late to make the wiser and eco-friendly choice! Build your water-wise garden today!

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that provides beauty and food but also requires resources – especially water. As responsible gardeners and citizens, we must find ways to conserve this precious resource. Creating a water-wise garden is one of our most impactful steps.

By following simple principles, choosing the right plants, and making small changes to our gardening routines, we can achieve a lush and vibrant garden using a fraction of the water. 

The future of our planet will be in good hands, and we’ll reap the rewards of colourful blooms, tasty harvests, and lower utility bills. Every drop counts, so start planning your water-wise garden today. 

Ready to make the wise choice? You don’t have to look far and wide for your water-wise gardening needs! You’ll find it all here at Kel Lake Garden Centre. 

We are British Columbia’s go-to place for gardening accessories and supplies. We also offer various classes and workshops. Check our website for upcoming events!

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