In the dry summer months, water use in the region nearly doubles due to outdoor watering of lawns and gardens. As the most common residential landscape, lawns are the thirsty culprit, accounting for the most excess water use. Unfortunately, about 50% of outdoor water is wasted due to evaporation, improper irrigation design and over watering.
Water wise lawn alternatives like native plant and vegetable gardens can save you time and money, on top of your water savings. Forget mowing and costly lawn treatments. Native plants are adapted to our local climate and wildlife, requiring little to no watering once established and no herbicides or pesticides. They can also create an oasis for local birds, pollinators and beneficial insects.
Vegetable gardens with efficient irrigation use up to 66% less water compared to traditional lawns and provide fresh and delicious food on your doorstep. They also save the energy that’s required to transport produce to the grocery store, and then to your home.
Convert areas of your lawn into garden with this quick and easy no dig method:
1. Add a layer of light excluding mulch material such as brown cardboard or three layers of newspaper on to your desired piece of yard. Make sure the cardboard or newspaper overlaps by several centimeters as weeds can sneak through any gap.
2. Water the cardboard/newspaper layer to help kill the grass and weeds.
3. Add a 10 cm layer of lightly patted down compost. Leave an edge of cardboard surrounding your new garden bed to prevent grass and weeds from growing back in.
Now you’re ready to plant! Vegetables and herbs like kale, chard and parsley can be planted in the summer for fall and winter harvest. Native plant seeds can be planted in the fall for a spring bloom.
Contact your community association for FREE vegetable or native plant seeds from the Capital Regional District.
Extend water wise practices to your lawn and go golden. Lawns naturally go dormant in the summer and will bounce back to green with the fall rains. To stay green, lawns only need an inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, even in the driest conditions.
The Sooke Lake Reservoir, our primary water source in the capital region, supplies over 418,000 people with clean and protected drinking water. The reservoir also provides protection against wildfire events and droughts and supports a vital habitat for many endangered species. Be water wise and convert your yard this summer.
Thank you for your continued water conservation efforts in the capital region!