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Conserving Water and Energy in Your LandscapingApril 30th, 2014 by
You’ve installed low-flow showerheads and swapped your old toilets for water-efficient models, but if you’re still watering your lawn with a hose and sprinkler, you might not be saving as much water—or money—as you thought.
Below are several options for conserving water while still maintaining your lawn and garden. Following any one of these suggestions can save you a lot at the spigot and the bank.
Commonly used in areas afflicted by drought, drip irrigation systems (also called localized or trickle irrigation) allow you to focus the water where it matters most: at the plant’s roots. This aptly named irrigation method drips water from a series of small hoses directly onto the root area of your trees, shrubs, and other plants, negating water waste by localizing the irrigation. Not only can you save water and cash by using a drip irrigation system, but you’ll also keep water out of places you don’t want it, which will cut down on weed growth and pesky mosquitoes. Whether you’re interested in drip line irrigation or a different type of sprinkler system, check out our blog that details the different styles of sprinkler heads.
Watering at the Right Time
Believe it or not, the time of day you water your lawn can greatly affect how much water your lawn will actually get. If you water in the heat of the afternoon, you’ll lose most of it to evaporation. Watering in the evening makes sense at first—it’s usually nice and cool, so no danger of evaporation—but some experts say that watering at night can promote fungus growth. The best bet is to water in the early morning. That way your lawn will get the full benefit and you won’t have to water as often, which will save you money. If you don’t feel like getting up early on the weekend, look into having a sprinkler with a timer installed. Also keep in mind that lawns need about an inch of water per week, so if it has rained recently, take that into consideration and don’t overwater. For even more watering tips, look at our earlier article on ways to reduce water waste.
Using Native Plants
Plants that aren’t from your area often have very different water needs than native plants, so one way to save water is to only plant perennials, ornamental trees, grasses, shrubs, and ground covers that already thrive where you live. Often your municipal or state government will have information online about what plants are water-wise and/or native to the region. By choosing native plants, you’ll not only save money on irrigation by using fewer resources, but you’ll also have far more success in your gardening by investing in plants that already flourish in your area. If you’re still unsure about why to stick with native plants, read our blog on invasive plant species to learn more about preserving your local ecosystem.
Pile on the Mulch
Though many gardeners swear by mulch for its aesthetic value, it’s also a great way to conserve water. Mulch covers the topsoil and slows down evaporation, allowing water to get to the plant roots where it’s needed. There are multitudes of mulches—many of them organic—including grass clippings, hay, bark, and shredded leaves. Get educated on our blog about types of mulching, and for best mulching techniques, contact a Best Pick landscaper in your area.
If xeriscaping sounds like a sci-fi term, don’t be fooled: it’s very real and very earthbound. An alternative to a typical grass lawn, xeriscaping is the use of native plants that sip water instead of gulping. Though the idea started in dry, arid Colorado and moved to the desert communities of the American Southwest, xeriscaping is catching on across the country because of drought conditions and for the fact that it saves homeowners lots of money by saving water. How much water, though? In the drier parts of the country, over 50 percent of water usage is dedicated to landscape irrigation, so the water and money savings can be huge. If you’re interested in xeriscaping your lawn, all it takes is a little research and some elbow grease; or you can call on a Best Pick landscaping company to help out. Either way, you’ll be saving both water and money, rain or shine.
Sources: Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage & Lighting; Colorado State University Cooperative Extension; North Carolina Cooperator Extension Service; Popular Mechanics; USA TODAY.
For more information on our sources, please contact us directly.