Working with tough areas of the garden
Here’s a little video that can help with designing areas that have no water available in the garden. There have always been dry-summer climates and desert climates, but with the widespread lack of rainfall, learning to design landscapes so they are less dependent on rain or supplementary watering will not only reduce increasing water bills, but will save labor in maintenance, too. Irrigation that is focused in defined, limited areas is a good way to have healthy plant growth. You can fill other areas with interesting non-living materials to make them artistic but free from water. Large areas of flat metal, stone or cement can work best in utilitarian areas — work areas, some sport courts and some patios. More successful is the use of gravel, blocks, sand, shredded recycled rubber tires, bricks and other small pieces that can create a surface when spread over a larger area. These form permeable paving that allows water — from when it really does rain — to soak through back into the soil where it can be best used and prevents the rain from washing off in sheets eroding surrounding soil.
Large paved spaces can be decorated with cement stains, paints or materials mixed into concrete. Different woods can be combined to create patterns. Metal can be welded or carved. Smaller materials that offer permeability can be placed in patterns, designs and even pictures like a mosaic. You can even combine small and large surface materials to get different artistic effects. Growing plants or garden areas can be placed with irrigation lines so they soften the overall layout, to grow edibles, to form living walls or to create a whole visual painting when combined with the spaces that nave no water.
Make sure to underline non-living, permeable-paved areas with weed block materials to discourage the growth of weeds germinated from rains. Any areas that will be supporting weight – whether it is food traffic or parked cars — should be deep-dug and reinforced so it will not settle unevenly.