Wicking beds are very water efficient. These self-contained planters have a reservoir of water at the bottom and a wicking medium that slowly pulls water up to the plant roots. The folks over at Bits Out the Back created this short tutorial on making a wicking bucket. The same technique can be applied to larger beds and can even work in-ground, as detailed over at Resilience. These beds are excellent for regions facing severe drought.
(If you’re in water conservation mode, be sure to check out my earlier post on gardening through a drought, too.)