How to be a Water Wise Gardener

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Water is a hot topic in California these days and it doesn’t look like several years worth of rain are in the forecast anytime soon, so it shall remain a hot topic for years to come. But fear not, faithful gardeners! This is not a plea to stop growing, it is simply an encouragement to make (water) wise choices.

With a little forethought and some simple tips, you can create and maintain a beautiful garden that has low environmental impact. By preparing the soil, selecting drought tolerant plants, using mulch and learning when and how much to water, you too can be a water wise gardener!

For simple steps to becoming a water wise gardener, watch our instructional how-to video and prepare to be amazed! A water wise garden is in your future! Don’t waste (water) another day!

Materials List

  1. Containers
  2. Plants
  3. Potting soil
  4. Mulch
  5. Gloves
  6. Trowel
  7. Drip irrigation system


  1. Soil First: Fill your container with potting soil about ¾ of the way up. Organic soil better retains moisture.
  2. Choose Water-Wise Plants: Choose drought tolerant plants to beautify your space. Here is the list of drought tolerant plants we used:
    •Smoke Tree
    •Heavenly Bamboo
    •Mirror Plant
    •Red Yucca
    •Penstemon Parryi
    •Monkey Flower
    •California Poppy
    •Spanish Lavender
    •California Wild Lilac
    •Sea Thrift
    •Red Fountain Grass
  3. Group plants: Before you start planting, arrange your plants by water needs. Mix it up by varying textures, colors and sizes.
  4. Start planting: Be sure to break up the root ball of each plant a little bit before planting. Dig a hole the same depth as the root ball, position the plant in the hole and fill in with soil. Press firmly around the top of the soil to make sure there are no air pockets around the root ball.
  5. Mulch Time: Adding about 3 inches of mulch over the surface of the soil helps conserve water, prevents weeds, feeds the soil and helps moderate soil temperatures. Mulch comes in several forms. Ask a nursery or garden center professional what kind would be best for your garden.
  6. Water Smart: Water well immediately after planting. Water the base of the plant deeply and less frequently to encourage longer roots, preferably early in the morning to reduce evaporation. Installing a drip irrigation system is a low-cost solution to efficient irrigation. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial or consult your nursery or garden center to find the right drip system for your needs.

How to be a water wise gardener