Now into the 5th year of a deep drought, California’s May 2016 suspension of urban water restrictions strains credulity. Given that El Niño did not materialize, climate change is unabated, and old habits die hard, reversing the course set only one year earlier seems premature. April 2015’s statewide mandatory reductions (coupled with surcharges, penalties, and… Read More 5 years and counting
Garden guides, both online and printed, specify plant height, width, exposure, and water needs. Some even list soil conditions or vary water needs by specific geography. What is missing, though, is water per square foot, the single-most revealing sustainable gardening metric. While water use of an individual plant matters to overall consumption, my analysis these… Read More Gauge plants by water/sq. ft.
If you don’t know how to read the meter, learn. Or have someone else do it for you. A water meter is just like a bathroom scale, car speedometer, or checking account. The information displayed changes bad behavior, validates changes, and reinforces progress. Flawed habits and assumptions are exposed, replaced by facts. Wanting landscaping well-suited… Read More Read the meter and reap
Every gardener knows that plants sometimes struggle. You try to coax them back to health. If they die, you generally replace them with the same variety, especially if mates are in the same bed. A drought upends that “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” mentality. Some plants in some places are simply… Read More Pack it in when plants die
Depending on water pressure and hose size, the average open hose uses in one hour almost as much as the average American family of four uses indoor in six days. Plants cannot use that much water. Like so many others, we used open hoses week in and week out. As I began to measure our… Read More Abolish open hoses
Early 2014’s rationing to less than half our prior consumption was a turning point. Overnight I went from blissfully unaware of how we used water to resolutely committed to sustainable landscaping. Wanting a sound basis for tough decisions, I recalled life cycle assessment (LCA), a systematic evaluation of product stages from cradle to grave. I… Read More Follow the water