Five Ways to Vacation-proof Your Yard and Garden this Summer

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NDS, Inc.'s "Dr. Drainage" offers five tips for making sure homeowners' yards and gardens are well tended while away on summer vacation

It’s that time of year for Americans to pack their bags and take that well-deserved summer vacation. Maybe you’re leaving for the beach to soak up the summer rays or travelling somewhere cool to beat the heat. However, it’s important to ensure that while you’re taking the time to rest and recharge, the health of your yard and garden doesn’t deteriorate in the process.

Weather forecasters are calling for the coming weeks to be full of unpredictable storms and record-breaking temperatures. To keep homeowners one step ahead of the game, Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer at NDS, Inc. who is known as “Dr. Drainage” in NDS’s YouTube instructional video series about drainage and stormwater management products, offers the following five simple steps to ensure that your yard and garden will look even better than it did than when you left.

1. Put a timer on your sprinkler

With a few easy steps, you can create your own automatic irrigation system. Take a flexible hose and attach a soaker hose on one end and a timer on the other. Now you can set the watering start time, duration, and frequency before you go on vacation, instead of relying on a gardening company or neighbor to water your plants for you. Automatic irrigation systems are easy to move around too, so you can re-arrange your watering system if you later decide to change the layout of your garden.

2. Bring your containers to the water

If you have your pots spread out throughout the yard, consider moving the containers closer to the main area of your garden before you leave for vacation. In doing so, the potted plants can take advantage of your sprinkler and get the necessary water needed to survive your time away.

You can also reduce the amount of water that your plants need by grouping the pots together under the shade, which allows them to create their own humid microclimate. If your vacation is for a longer period, cluster the pots within an inflatable kid’s pool with 1-2 inches of water at the bottom, which can keep the plants hydrated for up to two weeks.

3. Mulch well

Mulched gardens retain 25 percent more moisture than un-mulched gardens since the mulch acts as a protective layer between the soil and the hot air. Consider fertilizing your plants and watering the roots, allowing the moisture to seep in before you add the mulch barrier. If you don’t want to re-mulch the entire garden, consider mulching the plant roots, and be careful not to bury the crown of the plant.

4. Install a dripline

Drip irrigation is an economical and efficient way to ensure that your garden gets the water it needs while you’re gone. Since a dripline releases the water under the mulch, you will lose little water to evaporation. This method saves water and prevents run off. Rainbird makes drip irrigation kits for specific applications: flower, shrub and trees; ground cover and flower beds; container and hanging baskets; and garden vegetable.

5. Install a catch basin

Weather forecasts predict that extreme downpours are likely to persist throughout the summer. You want your yard to be best prepared to deal with this rainfall while you are away to ensure that your garden doesn’t get flooded. Consider investing in a catch basin, which effectively collects water from landscape areas, planter areas, and downspouts and connects to a drainage pipe to discharge water away from your house.

For more information about how to select and install solutions for fixing the 8 most common homeowner drainage problems, visit NDS’s Home Drainage Center.

About NDS, Inc.: 
NDS is a leading manufacturer of stormwater management, efficient landscape irrigation, and water flow management products and solutions for both residential and commercial markets. Headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., NDS’s products are sold at major retailers and wholesalers throughout the U.S., and online at

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Michael Tebo

Michi Morales