Though the weather as of late has been hot and wet, droughts are not uncommon during the mid to late summer months. A few weeks without consistent rain can mean disaster for your landscape, especially as daytime temperatures climb into the 90s. That’s why many homeowners chose to install irrigation systems that automatically correct for inconsistent weather and keep grass and plants watered no matter what’s in the forecast. However, it’s no secret that irrigation system hike up water bills. Even manual lawn maintenance gets expensive this time of year. For some, steep water bills make a green summer landscape seem completely unattainable. However, some industriousness and creativity on the side of the homeowner can make all kinds of seemingly impossible feats possible. To help, we’ve created this guide of tips for price-conscious homeowners (or environmentally-conscious landscapers) on how to cut down water usage (and water bills) while still being able to maintain a manicured lawn. Try several of these tips at once for best results. They won’t eliminate your water bill completely, but a few small changes can go a long way in landscaping:
Eliminate Turf Areas
Turf grass is perpetually thirsty. If you’re looking to save on water, consider some alternative ground coverings, such as rock or mulch beds. You can mix a small amount of traditional turf grass with rock gardens or mulch beds for a lawn that is still green and lush without needing constant hydration.
Mow high and leave lawn clippings in the yard to shade your soil and reduce the chance of evaporation. Grass clippings can also be used to shield beds from harsh sunlight and intense heat. The cooler your ground stays, the better it will retain moisture.
Water at Plant Roots
Watering the leaves and flowers of plants is much less effective and efficient than watering them at their roots. Root watering reduces the risk of evaporation and ensures there’s no excess runoff. If you have an irrigation system, considering getting drip irrigation installed around your beds. If you water manually, be sure to water low to the ground near the base of the plant.
Use Native Plants
Native plants are used to the soil conditions, weather patterns, and rain levels in your area. Thus, they need less strenuous care. Many native plants are drought resistant and can subsist in normal weather conditions. Plus, they boost the strength of local ecosystems!
Trees provide shade and respite from the dry summer heat. They also make beautiful additions to any lawn, and native breeds of trees are highly efficient when it comes to hydrating themselves. They need little or no extra watering!
Water Potted Plants Later in the Day
Watering in the late afternoon or early evening when most of your lawn is in shade will help ensure that little water is wasted due to evaporation. Steady, overhead sunlight can quickly dry out freshly watered soil.
Catch Rain Water
Installing a rain garden or a couple cisterns that can trap rainwater runoff from roofs and gutters could save you thousands of dollars a year in water bills. These tools recycle natural rainwater and store it so you can use it in your garden without ever having to turn on a gardening hose.