An inch of water covering one acre (27,154 gallons) weighs 113 tons.
Xeriscaping is landscaping and gardening in a way that reduces the need for supplemental irrigation and fertilizer. By using native plants and flowers that are used to our climate zone, we naturally cut down on watering, nutrients and maintenance.
As with any flower bed, plan the location and shape of the bed ahead of time. Estimate surface area and map out the positioning and variety of the plants, accounting for sun and shade. With xeriscaping, carefully consider which plants you want to include. Some great resources include:
- K-State Research & Extension- Master Gardener Program
- Kansas Healthy Yards & Communities
- Grow Native
- Johnson County Lawn & Garden Resources
- MARC Native Plant List
- Kansas City Native Plant Initiative
Shopping for flowers & plants
Ask your local nursery if they have native and drought tolerant plants. Tell them your sun and water conditions. There are also quality online seed companies if you want to start from scratch. Seed Savers Exchange is a favorite for heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, but they also have a number of indigenous flowers for our area.
Mulching your plant beds will help hold in moisture and again reducing the amount of watering needed.
Organic mulch has the added benefit of improving your soil after it breaks down. These types include: wood chips, straw, bark mulch, leaves, pine straw, and grass clippings.
Inorganic mulch includes rocks, pebbles, and black plastic. One disadvantage to these mulches is they can radiate heat warming your soil temperature. While this is a good thing for some gardens, including vegetable gardens in colder seasons, it is not recommended for sunny plant beds.
When it rains, rain water usually flows off your roof, down your gutter and downspout, and into your yard or down a storm drain that leads to our local waterways. An inch of rain can produce 625 gallons of water runoff from a 1,000 square-foot roof. By installing a 55 gallon barrel you can capture enough water to water your potted plants, vegetable garden, and lawn.
Buy a barrel kit
Build a barrel
By building your own rain barrel, you ensure the quality and fit with your home. By gathering the right tools and parts, the process is easy and should take no more than an hour. Google search "build a rain barrel" for a range of helpful how-to resources.
Where do I put it?
Rain barrels can be used anywhere water flows off your roof. Many houses have gutters and a rain barrel can be attached to the downspout. You can also collect rain off of your roof, even if you don't have gutter. Position the barrel near a valley in your roof where water is directed and flows off the roof.
How can I use the water?
You can attach a garden hose, soaker hose, or use a watering can under the spigot. (The water collected is not safe for drinking.)
Recognizing the environmental value of rain barrels, several cities in our service area offer cost share programs to help offset the cost of rain barrels, rain gardens and bioswales at your home.