Rapid Lawn Landscape Solutions Ltd. is your best Regina landscaping company. We have helped many customers achieve the yards they have always dreamed of. In our latest article, we share some information on designing a low water use yard.
Water may seem plentiful in Saskatchewan but in Regina, we have regular hosepipe bans in our dry Summers. Water around the world is becoming a limited and expensive resource, so designing your backyard in a way that doesn’t depend on water is not only an environmentally sound decision but also a financially smart choice.
Many homeowners, particularly those in drought-prone parts of North America are converting portions of their lawns to low water landscapes, making use of grass alternatives such as low maintenance ground cover, low water plants, and extended hardscapes. Healthy lawns do offer environmental benefits too; however, for those exploring options, here are some things to consider.
Low Maintenance Ground Cover In Your Yard.
In the right location, ground covers solve landscape problems rather than creating them.
Low maintenance ground cover like creeping perennials are tight to the ground and keep out weeds and allow air, water, and nutrients to get to plant roots. Here are some prairie-hardy ground covers to consider.
Bergenia, pig squeak (Bergenia cordifolia) is one of the most adaptable ground covers for the prairies, equally at home in sun or shade. It’s called pig squeak because that’s the sound one hears if the leaves are rubbed between thumb and forefinger. The large round leathery leaves, 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) in height, remain attractive throughout the growing season, turning a purple-red in the fall. Tiny waxy pink flowers are produced on short spikes in the spring.
False Solomon’s seal (Smilacina stellata) is amazingly drought tolerant if put to the test. White, star-like flowers are produced in early May. Only 30 cm (12 in.) in height, the light green leaves turn golden in fall.
Siberian barren strawberry (Waldsteinia ternata) is a plant that deserves much greater availability in our garden centres and nurseries. It’s tough, good-looking, hardy, and adaptable to sun or shade. The common name, Siberian barren strawberry, speaks volumes: it’s ruggedly hardy, barren (do not expect it to produce fruit) and its leaves resemble those of the strawberry (glossy green leaves in clusters of three). Only 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in.) in height, it’s equally at home in sun or shade, with or without water. Small, bright yellow flowers bloom from late spring to early summer.
Western Canada violet (Viola canadensis), native to the woodlands of the prairie provinces, is a hardy, enduring and attractive groundcover for dry shade. Fragrant white flowers with a yellow eye and distinct purple-pink veins appear in late spring and early summer above heart-shaped foliage.
Sem false spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’) is a fairly recent addition to our arsenal of ground covers and survives in deep shade with little water once established. It emerges in the spring with startling pink-orange-golden foliage mingled with lime green, brightening even the gloomiest shade. Pinnately compound leaves and white feathery flowers in late summer add to its landscape value. About 1 metre (3 feet) in height, it will eventually form a continuous understory (ideal below taller trees) through suckering. (As attractive as the foliage appears in a nursery pot in spring, don’t be fooled into thinking that it will be well behaved in a shrub border. It will be out of bounds within a season. Use it as intended: as a ground cover.)
Virginia creeper (Parthenoccissus quinquefolia), a vine with large palmately-compound leaves, also works as a groundcover, particularly on slopes. It is most admired for its brilliant scarlet fall foliage which will be subdued in shade. Inconspicuous flowers are followed by small blue berries that resemble grapes.
Besides being good creepers, many ground-hugging perennial herbs are often nicely scented, sturdy under foot traffic, and even edible. Such considerations include chamomile, Corsican mint, and various thymes.
Choose Low Water Plants Such as Succulents
Consider succulents when choosing low-water plants. Succulents store water in the fleshy parts of the plant’s leaves, so they need less water and need water, less often than many other types of plants. As well as being drought tolerant, succulents aren’t too picky with soil type.
Common types of succulents include agave, aloe, stonecrop and crassula.
Protect Your Plants
Once your ground cover and low water plants are installed, add shade to prevent water loss. Plant several trees or higher growing plants on the west and south side of your yard to shield the lower growing plants from the sun. Even partial shade is enough to save some water for your plants.
Also, consider incorporating natural boulders and stone around plants. Plants love to be paired with boulders and rocks, since moisture in the soil accumulates around them, and the rocks provide heat stabilization for the plants’ roots. In addition to the practical benefits stones provide, they also offer attractive ornamental décor for your landscape.
Another way to protect your plants is to place mulch around them. Many people mistakenly believe mulch is just a decorative finish for a landscape but in fact, it provides tremendous health value for plants. Mulch placed over soil blocks the sun’s rays so that water stays in the soil and gets to the plants’ root system better. Without mulch, the direct sun hits the soil, causing water to evaporate more quickly. When it comes to the health of your plants, mulch is not a nice-to-have, it’s essential.
Another way to preserve water in your landscape is to group plants together according to their water needs, a practice known as hydrozoning. Installing similar plants together allows you to water an entire area in the same way you would water one single plant, saving both time and water.
Some homeowners look to lower water use in their yard by expanding their hardscaping. Hardscape features are the inanimate aspects of a landscape, features such as pathways, patios, fencing and pergolas, which are constructed to enhance outdoor living environments. These projects can add beauty to a yard and minimizing plantings, thereby reducing the water needs of the landscape.
There is not just one way to create a low water use landscape. There is a myriad of options that are available to those looking to create an eco-friendly outdoor living space, options that appeal to different styles, tastes, and budgets.
Rapid Lawn Landscape Solutions Ltd. Ltd. is your one-stop Regina landscaping company. We have experience working on several large and small-scale commercial projects. Our equipment and our team are ready to tackle a variety of commercial landscaping jobs from snow removal to hydroseeding and anything in between. We also have access to an extensive network of professionals across Saskatchewan and Canada so give us a call to get your project started.
In addition to landscape design, hardscaping and artificial turf, we also do conventional seeding and are suppliers of landscape supply products. We sell all types of turfgrass seed, native grass seed and low maintenance grass seed products.
Our professional Trusted Regina hydroseeding and landscaping team offers innovative re-vegetation, grass seeding, dust control, reclamation, landscaping and erosion control solutions and hydroseeding for all types of residential, commercial, government, industrial and oilfield projects.