Could you be saving more water in the garden?

Saving water in the garden is more achievable than ever thanks to widespread awareness about drought-tolerant gardening methods and plants. Mulching, watering at night, and maintaining healthy soil are all strategies for reducing water use at home. But the products you use in your garden can also make a difference.

Choosing durable garden products designed to help you lower your water bill will save money and resources. Here are some of the best water-saving gardening products available today.

1. Recycled tire soaker hoses

By now most gardeners know that overhead sprinklers, while convenient, waste more water than any other watering system. And while they are one of the easiest methods of watering your lawn, they’re less effective in vegetable gardens and flowerbeds. Here deeper-rooted plants benefit from slow, low watering close to the soil surface. This helps eliminate moisture loss due to evaporation and misdirected water flow.

Soaker hoses are a favorite of many gardeners because they deliver reliable moisture to your plants below leaf level. This reduces fungal problems and maximizes the amount of water ending up in your garden’s root zone.

Pro Series double walled soaker hoseNow Pro Series offers a line of soaker hoses made in the U.S.A from recycled car tires. These hoses distribute water evenly at a width of 12 inches per side (24 inches width in total). They’re ideal for snaking through vegetable or flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs. Polyurethane soaker hoses are also available as an alternative.

Installing a soaker hose couldn’t be easier. Simply hook up to your faucet and you’re ready to go. You can also add an automatic timer (see below) so you can water in the middle of the night, when water is least likely to evaporate.

Great reviews: The hose arrived quickly and was put to work immediately since we are in spring and planting time. Since I still have some of my old soaker hoses, I noticed immediately how much heavier this one is. It works perfectly and I’m sure that this will not be my first purchase. Thank you for a stellar product made in USA! Jane G.


2. Repurposed rain barrels

Rain barrels and cisterns are a mainstay on houses in Australia and other dry climates. It just makes sense to harvest rainwater for using when it’s in short supply. Originally built to ship olives from Europe, these barrels are workhorses that really last—and they’re made in America.

Their 60-gallon capacity holds enough water to feed your garden during dry spells or wash your car on a hot day. An insect and debris screen prevents clogging and contamination. You can even install a diverter above your barrel to funnel the rain directly from your downspout (see below).

Great reviews: We’ve purchased a number of rain barrels over the years but none were anywhere near the quality of these units. Very sturdy and even withstand being carried to different areas with a tractor with forklifts. We will be purchasing additional barrels for other rain collection needs on the property. –Adam G.


3. Clay watering vessels to feed thirsty plants

For over 4000 years, farmers around the world have used unglazed clay vessels (known as ollas) to water their crops. The premise is simple. Bury these ollas beneath the soil while leaving the long neck protruding above soil level. Fill the pot every few days, then block the opening with a cap or stone to prevent mosquito breeding and contamination.

Over the next 24 to 72 hours, water will flow through the vessel towards the roots of plants via suction from the soil and the plants themselves. The plants take and use only what they need.

Modern day ollas (pronounced oyas) are available in a variety of sizes. Perfect for patio containers and raised garden beds, they reduce the amount of moisture lost to evaporation. They also deliver 100% of their water directly to desired plants losing almost nothing below the root line.

olla watering vessel

4. Watering wand that mimics rainfall

While hand watering can be a chore, there are some situations where it’s the best option for your garden beds. A versatile watering wand can make this chore even easier by targeting the water flow directly where you need it.

Choose a wand with a variety of settings, from a fine mist for seedlings to a shower setting for mature plants. We love this watering wand because of its thumb-controlled valve that lets you shut off water flow instantly, without waste. Its durable metal construction makes this long lasting, too (though the lifetime warranty is there if you need it).

garden watering wand


5. Water-saving hose nozzle

water saving hose nozzle

More water efficiency with less waste: that’s the claim this product brings to the market, and it doesn’t disappoint. From full force to a water-saving mist, this adjustable hose nozzle is built for pressure compensation, so you can save water no matter what setting you choose. Control the flow for watering, washing, and more.

Great reviews: This is the first sprayer I have ever purchased that doesn’t leak. I love the rain setting. It has good pressure, but is light enough that it doesn’t crush baby plants. I love the on/off push valve. Lindsey

6. Tree watering bags, for the newly planted

You may have seen these water-saving devices in use around your local municipality. Employed by homeowners and corporations to deliver steady, reliable water to newly planted trees, these little bags are simple and durable.

Their key feature is the speed of water flow. Every time you water (that is, fill the bag), they’ll deeply saturate your tree over a watering time of 5-9 hours. Deeper saturation means your tree’s roots will stay where they should be for better anchoring and healthier growth. The Treegator sends water down 12 inches to the root zone.

Made from polyethylene with nylon webbing, the Treegator is UV stabilized to withstand exposure to sunlight. Use for one or two seasons to establish new tree roots before removing.

slow water tree bag

7. Downspout rain diverter

downspout rain diverterMade from galvanized steel, this downspout diverter funnels rainwater from your gutters directly into your rain barrel or other water catchment system so nothing is lost. Its two sizes fit standard residential downspouts (both rectangular and round). If you live in a cold climate, simply shut the flap on the diverter over the winter and your downspout will resume its normal operation. There’s no need to take the diverter down or disassemble.

Diverting and saving rainwater is one of the easiest (and lowest cost) ways to conserve water resources.


8. Automatic watering timer, so you don’t forget

Have you ever left your sprinkler on briefly to water a garden bed, only to realize hours later you forgot to turn it off? The water wasted through forgetfulness or overwatering is a real issue—and one that’s easy to fix.

automatic garden water timerInstalling an automatic timer on your hose, sprinkler, or soaker hose gives you absolute control over how much water you apply to your garden. There’s no tricky installation. Simply attach one end to your faucet and the other to your hose of choice. The timer is programmable for up to 120 minutes.


9. Drought-tolerant grass seed

What if you could plant your lawn with drought tolerant grass that only needs watering once a month? That same grass would grow thick and dark green, with no need for fertilizer or chemical applications. It would also be less vulnerable to pests and grubs than regular, run-of-the-mill lawn grasses.

Luckily this isn’t a homeowner fantasy. Eco-Lawn is a blend of carefully selected fescue grasses developed by Wildflower Farm in Ontario, Canada. Going strong since the 1990s, Eco-Lawn is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to grow a lawn. It is best planted between late August and late September, with maximum germination occurring when temperatures are between 10°C (55°F) and 25°C (77°F) (adjust planting times based on your location). Sow on slopes, under trees, or anywhere you want a lawn.

automatic garden water timer

Great reviews:
Even my gardener was amazed at how well this seed performs. I have a beautiful lawn… and I live in a tough climate for most grasses (7,200 ft elevation in the high desert.) I highly recommend Eco-Lawn. — Deidre D.


10. Micro-clover for a better, blended lawn

Another water-saving option for your lawn is micro-clover, a fine-leafed, drought-tolerant plant making waves since it was developed in Denmark. Not only does micro-clover need less water than regular grasses and clovers, it grows quickly and spreads evenly. Conventional white clover, on the other hand, may form clumps and look more like weeds.

But why add clover to your lawn in the first place? The answer is simple. Clover is a nitrogen-fixing plant. That means it grabs nitrogen from its environment as it grows, lessening the need for chemical or organic fertilizers. It also leaves some of this nitrogen behind for the rest of your lawn to use.

Most often micro-clover is applied in a blend of other plants. Working together with fescues and other ground covers, it provides lush coverage that stays green longer, even when water shortages loom.

Saving water, one drop at a time

As the demand for clean water rises around the world, pressures on this finite resource increase. Making an effort to save water in the garden adds to your overall water conservation efforts. With every drop saved, you’re helping preserve those resources for future generations.

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