Maintenance, Modifications, and Water Use in Private Gardens of Alt Empordà, Spain

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Water scarcity in developed countries along the Mediterranean coast may be aggravated in the near future due to rising water demand. The recent growth of low-density urban developments in these regions has led to an increase in the number of private domestic gardens. These particular landscapes may account for a large proportion of total domestic water use. This article examines the features and management practices of private gardens in relation to their relative water requirements. To calculate this variable, we use a method based on the relative water needs of garden species and the area of vegetation cover. In addition, transformations in the layouts of the gardens over the last 5 years, as well as various expected changes, are assessed. In total, 258 domestic gardens along the coast of Catalonia were investigated and their owners interviewed. A list of all plants growing in the gardens was recorded. The results indicate that the presence of turf is related to professional landscaping design, property age, and swimming pool presence. Moreover, gardens with greater landscape water requirements have more efficient watering systems. We present a progressive strategy for garden restructuring that may reduce water use while increasing the number of orchards and fruit trees ​
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