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Low Water Street Gardens Add Curb Appeal

News | 22nd Aug 2012

When you live in a dry climate, water conservation is a big deal especially during a dry spell.  But just because you want to conserve water doesn’t mean your garden – or your home’s curb appeal – has to suffer.  In fact, low water landscapes can be very attractive and add to your home’s overall beauty.

If you’re not sure where to start with a low water garden, why not try to stretch of yard along the sidewalk?  This area, called a “parkway”, is the patch of ground located between the sidewalk and the curb in the front of your home.  The intense temperatures this area gets make it a great place for a low water, heat tolerant garden and it’s limited size allows you to try out a new way of gardening before tackling your entire yard.  Here’s how to get started.

Prepare the soil

The first step is to prepare the space by removing any grass or weeds.  You can accomplish this by either spraying the area with a chemical spray such as Roundup, or by covering the spot with black plastic so the vegetation will die on its own.

Once the grass and weeds have died, assess the condition of your soil.  Is it sandy, or full of clay?  Adding soil amendments such as compost  or manure will help to improve the soil condition.  Break up the existing soil with a shovel or rototiller and mix in the amendments evenly.

Determine your landscape design

There are many online resources that will provide inspiration when designing your low water street garden.  Visit your local garden center to see what kinds of native plants they have in stock.  Consider color combinations, as well as height.  Higher plants should be placed in the middle, with mid size plants surrounding them.  Place low plants along the edge of the sidewalk.  Also think about blooming time.  It’s nice to have a garden where there is always something in bloom.

Choose your plants

When you’re new to low water gardening it’s a good idea to visit your local nursery or greenhouse.  They will have a wider selection than a discount chain, and the staff will be very knowledgeable and able to assist you with your plant choices.

Lay out your plants in their containers before  planting to be sure you’re putting them in the desired location.  Then simply dig a hole, tip the plants out of their containers carefully, break up the root ball and plant directly in the ground.

Make sure the plants you’ve chosen all have the same watering needs.  You’ll need to water more often when the plants are first becoming established, tapering off as the weeks go by.  In six months you should not have to do any additional watering unless it has been extremely dry.

That’s it!  By creating a low water street garden you are not only saving resources, but you are also adding curb appeal to your property.  Sit back and enjoy the results!


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