Home -> Garden Landscape Ideas -> English Garden Landscape Ideas -> The Cost of H2O in our area is exorbitant! How can I learn about some kind of eco-friendly landscaping?

The Cost of H2O in our area is exorbitant! How can I learn about some kind of eco-friendly landscaping?

Our back yard is large and filled with wonderful plants, bonsi's and shrubs that were planted by my partners' father, who was the original homeowner. He was a master gardener. You can see the backyard at www.tomvoorhies.com. I want to build catch basins that use rainwater and gravity to make water features and a sprinking system. Does anyone know where I can turn to learn about environmentally sound and ecologically balanced landscaping. I live in the southeastern part of the US.


  1. Get in touch with the master gardeners in your area. They're plant freaks and they will love to help you. (I am taking the class now, so I know!) Ask them for information on xeriscaping. In fact, tell them what is going on in your yard and the issues you have with it. They should be able to give you all the answers you need. Water features will need water because of that pesky evaporation thing. You may want to forgo that idea or look into getting yourself a well. You can also make a water garden in a container, like half a barrel or a kiddie pool. Drip irrigation is to be preferred to standard sprinkler or sprayer types. You have more control of how much water where with the drip and it is easy to install. You should irrigate between midnight and 10 am, or, if you prefer, irrigate betweeen the times when the dew normally falls and when it starts evaporating. That way, the plants are getting wet when they normally get wet, so you run less risk of them getting some grungy crud from too much exposure to moisture and you will not have so much water evaporating. If you want to maintain a pretty green lawn all year, get over it (or get some spray paint). It gets way too HOT here in the south and grass will go dormant in the summer when it is too hot and droughty unless you give it enough water to float a boat, which is something you are trying to get away from. Lawns are like curious two-year-olds in a shop full of breakables. Always needing attention. (mowing, fertilizing, irrigation, weed control. Who has time for all that?) Make your lawn smaller by planting beds of perennials, annuals, shrubs, herbs or whatever. Once established, all that those plants will need is the occasional watering when it hasn't rained in two weeks or so. Plants native to your area are also a good choice. They're used to the bizarre weather we have in the southeast. If you opt for large plantings instead of grass, you can plant gardens to draw butterflies and hummingbirds, or have a garden with your favorite colored flowers in it. You can have a herb garden, an English garden, a veggie garden, or a mix of all of these. The lists go on and on. Daylilies like sun and come in a ton of different colors. There are numerous flowering trees and shrubs for color and a lot of plants that like the shade provided by those same trees and shrubs. Hostas are popular, as are Lenten roses, toad lilies, ferns, Indian pinks and violets. Mulch everything to conserve moisture, but do not have mulch too near trunks of shrubs and trees. This will create a nice base of operations for pests and molds who want to destroy your plants. Also, make sure your soil is in good shape. A soil test, submitted to your friendly (I hope) Master Gardeners, will let you know the condition your grounds are in, what sort of soil you have, it's pH and what nutrients it needs or has in excess. You can adjust, if necessary, the composition of your soil to make it more plant friendly. You can visit hgic.clemson.edu for more information. Though the site is for SC, I am sure you can get some ideas and lots of information immediately. Then, go to the Master Gardeners and the Extension agent in your county. They will be happy to help you in every way they can and explain everything I have been rambling on about. I hope you can make your back yard dreams a reality.
  2. Of course there is always Xeriscaping as an alternative. For sprinlers, drip irrigators are the most water efficient as the water is being directed at the roots and not into the air. Put in a huge underground tank, have all roof runoff and driveway runoff run into the tank, use a pump to return this water to use as a sprinkler.