July 3 2013 03:00 AM

Current water shortages across the country are making low-water-use landscaping a priority. PLANET, the national landscape industry association, offers some strategies to help your clients conserve water.

Make the soil healthier. Break up and amend the soil 12 to 18 inches deep, so plant roots can penetrate deeper. “The most important thing in landscaping is soil preparation and choosing plants suited to the micro-climate where they’re going,” said Kurt Bland, a PLANET spokesman and president of Bland Landscaping Company in Apex, North Carolina.

Group plants with similar water needs together. “Doing so will create less stress on the plants, which will help keep them disease-free under low-water conditions,” the trade association says.

Create an irrigation plan that includes reclaimed water and low-consumption drip systems. The improper use of irrigation creates a too-wet and too-dry cycle. This adds more stress to the roots and less-than-ideal growth. Drip irrigation promotes the best growth possible.

Choose the right grasses for lawns. And don’t forget to mulch, which retains moisture, smothers weeds and adds nutrients to the soil.