As a semi desert, Calgary provides a great environment for gardeners to practice Xeriscaping, which is gardening with the use of the least amount of water as possible. There are several ways of xeriscaping in Calgary, including using local and drought-tolerant species of grass and plants and being water-wise when gardening. More Calgarians are also using rain barrels to catch the rain and reuse the water in their gardens. It has also become popular to plant a wide variety of lush-looking cactus plants.
Principals of Xeriscapes
There are seven main principals of xeriscaping in Calgary:
1) Refine designing
Make sure you lay out your plants so that you group plants together that have similar watering needs.
2) Less turf means less water
By planting smart you can use up space in your yard with beautiful plants, leaving less turf that will require less water.
3) Consider plants with lower water needs
Many plants that are local to the Calgary area have a really high tolerance to drought
4) Irrigate your Calgary gardens efficiently.
Group plants so that those with less water requirements are planted in the lower level of you garden and water can flows freely from the higher level to the lower level.
5) Consider using mulch
It only takes 2-3 inches of mulch to retain enough water to minimize evaporation in a Calgary garden.
6) Rearrange the soil of your garden
Weeding can help you stay on top of weeds that can be a real problem to gardeners. It also allows you to work the soil keeping it well irrigated.
7) Garden maintenance
Sometimes garden soil can turn out to be a stone or sandy loam or clay making it drain water either too quickly or too slowly. Using compost, leaf mould and peat moss will help your soil in this condition.
Drip irrigation uses less water
Almost half of the water that comes out of an overhead sprinkler is evaporated before it even touches your lawn or garden. For this reason a drip irrigation is a low emitting system that has proven itself as a good alternative to overhead sprinklers. Of course you will need to use an overhead watering system so just be sure to water during early morning hours of the day.
In short, xeriscaping in Calgary makes it possible for gardeners to have beautiful gardens they can be proud of while using water wisely.