Warmer temperatures create plenty of opportunities to enjoy your outdoor living space, and the ideal landscaping helps you make the most of those opportunities. But water conservation bylaws and limitations also come with the heat, and your landscape may take a beating from the resulting conditions.
Designing an outdoor space that can survive on less water and handle high levels of heat will allow you to bask in the summer fun, instead of worrying about your grass and gardens. Follow these top landscaping tips to create a yard focused on water conservation without sacrificing appearance.
Tip # 1 - Choose the Right Type of Grass
There are various types of grass available, depending on your climate, soil conditions and exposure. Planting the proper type of grass will ensure your lawn thrives naturally, without heavy maintenance and watering needs.
Cool season grasses (like Kentucky Bluegrass and fescue) work well in northern climates where winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and dry. Warm season grasses (like Zoysia and Buffalo grass) should be planted in southern yards, with mild winters and hot summers. Talk to your local garden center or landscaper about what type is best for your property.
Tip # 2 - Consider Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping reduces the amount of grass on your property, and replaces it with other methods of landscaping that do not require watering. Professional landscapers work hard to design xeriscapes that allow homeowners to comfortably enjoy their outdoor living space without worrying about watering. Designs are based on microclimate, grading, soil conditions and lifestyle. Much more than simply replacing grass with rocks, xeriscaping combines many different elements to create an attractive outdoor space.
You can have the best of both worlds by uniting patios, decks and attractive arrangements of rocks with areas of turf. Have a look at your yard and decide how much grass you want to maintain, and then discuss the alternatives with a landscaping professional.
Tip # 3 - Mulch Heavily
Mulch is one the most important elements of your landscaping, for a variety of reasons. Mulch reduces the spread of weeds, saving you from hours of back breaking garden work. It also helps the soil to retain water, nourishing the roots underneath well into the hot, dry summers.
Natural mulch, like wood chips, breaks down over time, adding nutrients to the soil as well. Mulch is also inexpensive and transforms any garden into a neat, tidy area. Plan on spreading mulch every other year in average conditions, and annually in high traffic locations. Rock or stone mulches last much longer, but provide fewer organic benefits.
Tip # 4 - Select Appropriate Plants and Shrubs
Pay attention to the zone hardiness stated on plant and shrub labels. You can find the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map online, and choose plants that will thrive in your zone. Tropical plants can be brought inside during the winter months, if necessary. But perennials outside of your zone will not last more than a season or two and will require heavy watering and care at certain points in the year.
Many plants have low maintenance requirements. Try to choose more of these plants, as opposed to filling your garden with those flowers, shrubs, trees and plants that need excessive amounts of water to look beautiful. Native plants help you to conserve water and also reduce the risk of disease in your yard.
Tip # 5 - Use Rain Barrels
Patio plants dress up your outdoor living space nicely, but require more frequent watering than other gardens. Because their root systems cannot develop in the same way, patio planters and other containers need daily watering at the heat of summer. Installing a rain barrel will provide you with the resources to attend to your pots, without using the hose and draining municipal water sources.
Rain barrels catch the water draining from your eaves. Fill your watering can from a manual valve or rig up an irrigation system that uses gravity to force water from your barrels to the lawn and gardens. Cisterns act as larger rain barrels and often provide the pressure required for extensive irrigation systems.
Many municipalities and communities offer rain barrels free of charge or for a nominal fee to encourage water conservation.
Tip # 6 - Consider a Sprinkler
Despite what you may assume, automatic sprinklers provide the means to avoid overwatering. As long as you program the sprinkler correctly and abide by the local water bylaws, an automatic sprinkler system will help conserve water by distributing only what's required to maintain the health of your grass.
Experts agree that most lawns can thrive on about 1-inch of water on a weekly basis. Any more and the water will likely run off; any less and the soil will dry up. Automatic systems can be set to distribute the proper amount at the right time, optimizing every drop of water used. Always set your sprinkler to run in the early hours of the morning, avoiding water loss due to evaporation and reducing the risk of fungal disease.
Remember to have your sprinkler system maintained on a regular basis (spring and fall) to ensure maximum longevity and value. Invest in a system with rain sensors to further reduce overwatering and keep your grass at the ideal height.
Conserving water is responsible and environmentally friendly. By implementing even one of these top landscaping tips for water conservation you can help to preserve clean water, which remains a precious resource around the world. Create a yard to love year round, a yard with fewer maintenance demands and a more purposeful design. From automatic sprinklers to xeriscaping, mulch and rain barrels, your landscaping plan can go a long way toward water conservation in any climate.Posted by: TrustedPros