SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Although California is in a historically bad drought, there are still ways for residents to keep gardens growing without wasting water.

Lance Walheim was on the California Department of Water Resources’ advisory panel and is a conservation expert. He says if you follow these five tips you can save water in your backyard.

1. Water efficiently: Water deeply to wet the entire root zone, then let soil partially dry before watering again.

2. Mulch: Apply 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch to cool soil, reduce evaporation and weeds.

3. Less will be More: Vigorous growth will only result in more water use, which you don’t want during a drought. Fertilize less, prune less and plant less, using flowers only in areas where they have the most visual impact.

4. Use drip irrigation: This technique applies water directly to roots without waste runoff or over spray.

5. Control pests: Insects and diseases can stress plants, further weakening them. Keep your plants healthy!

You can find more information about the drought conditions and water conservation at sbwater.org.