Are there ways to reduce water use in the garden?

FAQ
Question: 

Are there ways to reduce water use in the garden?

Answer: 

Apply a mulch around landscape plantings and garden areas to conserve soil moisture.  Mulching reduces the rate of evaporation from the soil surface and also limits weed competition.  Organic materials, such as grass clippings, clean weed-free straw, and shredded leaves, are excellent mulches for the vegetable garden.  Wood chips and shredded bark are good choices for trees, shrubs, and perennials.  

The depth of the mulch depends on the type of mulching material and site.  Apply wood chips and shredded bark to a depth of 3 to 4 inches around trees and shrubs.  Optimum depth in the vegetable garden ranges from 2 to 3 inches for fine materials, such as grass clippings, to 6 to 8 inches for straw.