From Terri Bennett, Founder of

The heat is taking a toll on many of us these days. As the temperatures soar, our gardens and lawns are suffering too. Do Your Part during this season’s extreme conditions to water more effectively and efficiently. Here are my ‘Top 7 Ways to Garden During a Drought.’

List, photos and captions courtesy of Terri Bennett and DoYourPart

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  • Pick The Right Plants

    Going native in the garden is the best way to avoid excessive watering. Plants native to where you live usually require a lot less water to thrive. Also, perennials may need more water when they are first planted but less water over time.

  • Water The Right Way

    One of the biggest problems during these dog days of summer is the dry soil. Watering our lawns and plants is tough because the water simply runs off instead of getting to the roots. Soaker hoses are your most affordable option. They let water drip out along the length of it to get a slow and deep soaking. High tech drip irrigation systems are another effective option but are pricier and a bit more involved.

  • Mulch Makes A Difference

    Using mulch in specific areas can make a big impact. Placing roughly 3-6 inches of mulch over soaker hoses and in between plants will keep precious water from running off. Mulch can be bought or created from things such as grass clippings, newspaper, wood chips, or straw.

  • Pick A Better Pot

    Mulch can also be placed in pots to keep soil moist. And, selecting the right kind of pots important. Choose pots made from glazed ceramic or plastic. Those options won't soak up the water going to your potted plants. Make sure to move them to shaded areas during the hottest days.

  • Capture Water When You Can

    It's hard to capture water outside during droughts. However, a rain barrel will still collect what rain does come. Also, consider capturing water from inside your house. Keeping a pitcher by the sink to collect excess cooking water or the water which usually goes to waste while waiting for hot water is perfect for putting on our lawn and gardens.

  • Give The Lawn Some Love

    Learning about your specific lawn will also help keep it thriving. For instance, some grasses are dormant in the summer and no amount of watering will keep it green. Also, keep your lawn a little higher in drought conditions. Grass that is too short needs more water and creates prime conditions for weeds. And, always mow with a sharp blade. Cutting with dull blades weakens grass and makes it need more irrigation.

  • Free Yourself From Fertilizing

    And finally, avoid fertilizing and pruning in the hot summer months. Proper fertilization requires a lot of water to support growth and root development.

  • Also On The Huffington Post...

    Gardening tips, have bright beautiful gardens all summer long.

About the Author:
Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, syndicated columnist and author, and founder of DoYourPart, everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to and follow DoYourPart on Facebook and Twitter. Terri's new book "Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living" is now available at 
© 2011 Terri Bennett Enterprises, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.