- Author: Leonard Cicerello
- Editor: Noni Todd
Watershed Garden Workshop
By Leonard Cicerello UCCE Master Gardener
What are the benefits of watershed landscaping? Robert, San Luis Obispo
The premise of watershed landscaping focuses on capturing rainwater and putting it to good use. The financial and environmental benefits are numerous and the satisfaction is great. Rain water that flows across rooftops, sidewalks and driveways, picks up pollutants common to everyday activities. Capturing rainwater reduces the amount of polluted runoff that flows into storm drains and ultimately into streams and other waterways.
To begin, formulate a well thought out plan to capture rainfall and how to use what you capture. Determine the most suitable location in your yard to house rain barrels. Many retailers are equipped to help you get started. Determine the container size you'll need and the quantity. You will need fittings to plumb downspouts into the containers. Consider placing a barrel under the downspout or plumb the downspout into a flat tank under a deck. Utilize gravity flow or install a small pump to send the water out to your landscape.
Evaluate your landscaping to reduce the current water requirement. This may call for swapping out water-thirsty varieties for more drought tolerant choices or even removing that high maintenance lawn. For interest and function, consider hardscape options such as boulders, rock, pavers, or decomposed granite. If you prefer a sparse landscape as opposed to a dense planting, drip irrigation is a wise choice. You can bury half inch drip tubing and connect quarter inch laterals with drip emitters to each plant or tree. Drip emitters range from a half gallon per minute to several gallons per minute which allows you to individualize the water delivered to each plant, further reducing waste.
The UC Master Gardeners are ready to show the public their own watershed garden. What was once a flat unused strip of the parking lot, is now a densely planted example how to slow and redirect the flow of rainwater. Join the conversation on Saturday, May 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Garden of Seven Sisters at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Please visit our website to register - http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/