Conserving water at home

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How to create a water efficient garden

Step 1 - Soil Preparation

Before planting, prepare the soil to provide nutrients and moisture for plants to thrive

  • Determine what type of soil you have and add appropriate organic materials, such as compost, peat moss, or manure.
  • Mix the compost or other organic materials into the top 30 centimetres of soil.

Step 2 - Plant Selection

Choose drought resistant plants to lower maintenance and maximize water savings. Consult the City's lists of recommended trees, shrubs, perennials, groundcovers, and annuals

  • Group plants by their water and sun/shade requirements.
  • Use grass only for well-travelled areas or as a backdrop for flowerbeds.
  • Use water efficient irrigation techniques, such as soaker hoses, for vegetables as vegetables require more water.
  • Check plant height, season and colour of bloom to build a balanced landscape.

Step 3 - Plant

  • Dig an appropriately sized hole for plant.
  • Add compost mixed with native soil to the bottom of the hole.
  • Centre the plant in the hole and water, covering the roots to ensure adequate moisture at the time of planting.
  • Cover the plant with soil matching the soil level of the neighbouring area. Create a berm or ring around the plant to retain water and water the plant.

Step 4 - Mulch

Mulch is a soil cover that helps to control erosion, suppress weeds, retain moisture, moderate soil temperature and reduce disease transmission. Bark, wood chips, compost, grass clippings, crushed or river rock can all be used as mulch material.

  • Spread the selected mulch in a layer about 10 cm deep over the garden.

Step 5 - Irrigation

Proper irrigation techniques ensure that your garden receives adequate water and remains water efficient.

  • Use soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system to water once a week. This will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.
  • Position sprinklers to avoid paved and hard surface areas.
  • Take into account the amount of rainfall before watering. Leave a measuring container out in the garden to help assess how much rain falls each week.
  • Water, if necessary, in the morning. Avoid watering in the afternoon or on windy days when water can be wasted to evaporation.
  • Collect rainwater in a barrel for garden use.
  • Reduce the amount of asphalt or concrete around the garden to reduce run off and allow the rain to soak into the ground.

Plant inventory

Important information regarding plant species, watering and light requirements, and soil conditions.

Name Description Requirements
Silver mound wormwood (Artemesia 'Shmidtiana' Silver Mound) Compact low dome with yellowish flowers blooming in August Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Danesblood Bellflower (Campanula glomerata “Superba”) Low clump with rich purple funnel shaped blooms on taller stems blooming in early July. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Karl Foerster Grass (Calamagrostis x acutifolia "Karl Foerster") Upright clumps of dark green leaves with reddish brown seed heads turning gold in the fall. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca "Elijah Blue") Blue grassy foliage with brown seed heads. Partial to full sun, dry conditions
Hyperion Daylily (Hemerocallis "Hyperion") Broad bladed grass like foliage, with lemon-yellow trumpet flowers blooming mid June to mid July. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Stella De Oro Daylily (Hemerocallis "Stella De Oro") Broad bladed grass like foliage, with fragrant, golden-yellow trumpet flowers blooming in mid June to mid July. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Palace Purple Heuchera (Heuchera 'Palace Purple') Deep bronzy scalloped leaves and many minute reddish white flowers blooming late spring to early summer. Partial to full sun, dry  conditions
Sapphire Fountain Blue Oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens "Saphirsprudel") Steely blue foliage in a dense clump with oat coloured seed heads, blooming in June. Full sun. Dry conditions
Fairview Jupiter (Juniperus chinensis "Fairview) 9 foot-tall juniper with bright green foliage and abundant blue berries. Full sun, dry to moist conditions
Moss Pink Emerald Blue (Phlox subulata "Emerald Blue") Cushion of dark green needle-like leaves, with tiny emerald blue flowers blooming March to May. Full sun. Dry conditions
Globe Blue Spruce (Picea pungens "Glauca Globosa") Globe-shaped evergreen shrub with bristly blue-needles. Full sun. Dry conditions
Abbotswood Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa "Abbotswood") Bluish-green shrub with snow-white flowers blooming throughout the late spring and summer. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Showy Stonecrop  (Sedum spectabile "Brilliant') Compact foliage with broccoli like carmine pink flowers blooming in the fall. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Cutleaf Stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa "Crispa") Graceful spreading branches with fern like leaves and greenish white flowers blooming in June. Partial to full sun, dry to moist conditions
Golden Japanese Yew (Taxus x media "Sunburst") Dwarf shrub with golden foliage which fades to green. Full sun. Dry conditions
Adams' Needle (Yucca filamentosa) White bell-shaped flowers blooming in September above grayish-green sword-like leaves. Full sun. Dry conditions