Zone your landscape!

Dividing your garden into high/medium/low/very low water-use areas is responsible and efficient.

A hydrozone in a landscape refers to a section of the landscape that is watered using the same volume of water, meaning that all the plants in the hydrozone (hydrostation) in question are watered as one unit. Hence, each area in a landscape or garden that is individually watered must be assessed separately.

High Zone

  • This should be no more than 10 – 30% of the landscape.
  • Plant water-loving annuals/ plants in selected highwater-use areas, such as entrances, entertainment areas, containers and focal points.
  • Avoid long, winding borders of colour – they are impractical to water.
  • Use colour in containers.

Medium Zone

  • This should make up between 20 and 40% of the landscape.
  • It can incorporate the bulk of the garden or landscape.
  • Consists mainly of shrubs, perennials, groundcovers and lawns.

Low Zone

  • Makes up between 30 and 60% of the landscape.
  • Is the backbone of the design.
  • Is mainly trees, large shrubs, limited small Mediterranean-type shrubs, succulents and aloes.

Very Low Zone

  • This should make up between 40% and 100% of the landscape.
  • Consists of mainly locally indigenous trees, shrubs and other plants.
  • Permeable paving rather than solid, non-permeable paving should be used in this zone.

The portions of landscapes or gardens planted in each zone are determined by using these maximum percentages of each zone. Obviously this is just a recommendation, but because South Africa is a water-stressed country it is responsible to limit the size of high hydrozones in your designs. Using a big area for lower water zones makes overall water use lower, and these areas can be balanced and complemented with small sections of high or medium water zones.

The Gardener