As our summers are getting hotter and drier, being mindful of how we use water is more important than ever.  Outdoor water use accounts for 25% of Greater Vancouver water use. Find best practices for reducing your water usage below.

Create shade

  1. Delicate plants don’t like full sun
  2. Cools the soil
  3. Image result for drip irrigationAllows water to penetrate more deeply, evaporation is not as fast

Plant drought-resistant or tolerant plants

  1. Group plants with similar water needs together

Incorporate drip irrigation into your garden plan

  1. Waters the soil deeply, not the plants which also helps with disease prevention


  1. Create shade with a tomato plant and interplant lettuce around. The lettuce shades and covers the soil helping to slow evaporation and preventing the tomato plant from drying out

Cover crop

  1. Shade the soil with cover crops
  2. Helps build soil integrity increasing the water retention of the garden

Know your plant water needs

  1. Over-watering is a much more common issue
  2. Generally, don’t need to water as much as gardeners think

Build up your soil

  1. Add compost!
    1. Apply organic matter twice a year to build up the structure
    2. Work towards loam soil, good water retention and drainage
    3. Sandy soil loses water too quickly and clay soil holds onto too much water
    4. Feed the microbial community in the soil that helps direct water to plant roots

Water in the morning

  1. Soil is cool, it will be absorbed and not evaporate off
  2. Allows the plants to be more resilient to a dry day (putting on armour vs bandages if you water afterwards)
  3. Plants won’t be wet through the night, great for preventing and managing water-born diseases

Infrequent, but deep watering

  1. Encourages deep root growth making a stronger, healthier plant
    1. Roots will grow down towards the water
    2. Frequent, short watering encourages short root growth more susceptible to dry days


  1. Insulates the plant from the heat
  2. Helps slow evaporation as the soil is covered

Rain barrels

  1. Collect water in barrels during our rainy days and attach a drip hose to water the garden
  2. Should be closed barrels with a mesh on top to prevent it from becoming a danger to children and animals
  3. Use the water frequently so mosquitoes can’t breed in the standing water

Incorporate xeriscaping and native planting

  1. Designing your garden with plants that require little to no water
    1. Lavender, rosemary, thyme
    2. Native plants do better in our climate and are better for our native pollinators!
  2. If you’re in one of our community gardens, this may not be feasible, but incorporate plants that don’t need too much water with your vegetables