Some of you may be living through the hottest, driest summer you've been through yet (like I am). In severe droughts, it's especially important to use water efficiently and according to the city's guidelines. While it's no secret that you need water to keep your garden alive, here are a few more tips to help you prioritize when water is scarce. Take care of your foundation. Drought means that the ground becomes extremely dry, obviously, and cracks. If it gets dry enough, it can actually shift—causing your foundation to shift, too. Experts recommend wrapping a soaker hose about six inches from the foundation, and watering at the homeowner's discretion (i.e., weigh your worries over the foundation against the water bill), or a few times per week to be safe.
Don't neglect the big trees. Large trees may look better for longer than their smaller counterparts, but eventually they'll need watering too. Employ soaker hoses again here, but don't just water at the base of the tree: a tree's roots extend as far as their leafy canopies, so wrap soaker hoses in concentric circles around the tree until it's as far out as the branches. This will help make sure water reaches all the roots.
Forget the grass. Our lawn died about a month ago, but our water bill didn't make us cry. One neighbor with a green lawn said he was shocked when he opened his utility bills last month. Forget the grass and focus on larger, structural, and fruit-bearing plants.
Never water when the sun's up. If possible, water very early in the morning so that the plants have time to drink and the water doesn't immediately evaporate away.