Adam Harris and Jeremy Vandermeij
1. Choose plants native to the West’s dry areas; they require little water beyond the rain that nature provides. Shrubs, trees, perennials, and grasses from other dry regions like Australia, the Mediterranean, and South Africa also are good choices.
2. Irrigate veggies, herbs, berries, fruits, and greens using a drip system that’s connected to a smart controller. It waters the crops, runs on real-time weather data, and shuts off automatically.
3. Use decomposed granite, porous concrete, or new eco-friendly pavers such as Eco Pavestone. Water trickles through these materials and into the soil, moistening plants’ roots and replenishing groundwater.
4. Catch rooftop runoff in a basin, then pipe to a rain garden (a planted swale or depression), where it seeps into the soil and irrigates plants that can take more moisture.
5. Drop spent crops and fallen leaves into a composter. Then dig the finished compost into garden beds to improve the soil’s texture and its ability to absorb, hold, and then shed water.
6. Group plants with similar water needs: regular (basil, strawberries), moderate (grapevines, rosemary), and low (native grasses). Use separate driplines to give each hydrozone the water it needs ― and no more.
More: Kick the water habit