Though the rains are currently flowing heavy in most areas of the country, later in the summer, a drought always seems to hit. According to the Green Guide, nearly 2 billion people worldwide live in water-stressed regions with insufficient water supplies. As a green living rule of thumb, saving water usage is a given. All kinds of new watering systems are available that use irrigation from local water sources or from deep underground. Still, when it comes to choosing which plants to fill your gardens with, some choices are smarter than others.

In order to save money on your water bills and to help conserve water throughout the world, there are simple steps you can take in your gardening routine to diminish your use of water. It all comes down to which flowers and plants you decide to grow.

• Purchase native plants that already know how to survive in your environment. Native species rarely need more water than what Mother Nature naturally offers, so they’re easier to care for too.
• Keep your soil fertile and healthy. Start a compost pile, or cover your gardens with mulch. These methods help prevent water from drying up.
• Fight the urge to purchase tropical and exotic plants, unless you live in an extremely wet area. These species naturally reside in tropical regions that receive ample amounts of rainfall, so they require more watering than local options.
• Choose perennials over annuals. Annuals intensely bloom for only a short period of time, therefore their roots are shallow and do not obtain water from deep within the soil.
• Reduce the amount of grass that fills your lawn. Grass needs ample amounts of water in order to remain green and lush, so consider eliminating some grass with large gardens, buffalo grass or with xeriscaping.

Visually, steer clear of plants that contain these:

• Glossy, dark leaves
• Oversized leaves
• Soft, fleshy trunks
• Shallow root systems

For more information from the Green Guide, click here.