Living in a high desert state, as we do in Utah, water conservation should be one of our primary considerations as we landscape our yards. From the general layout to the plants we choose, when we keep water conservation in mind, we can get the most out of every drop of water we use. Here are a few suggestions to help with water conservation in your yard.
Use a Variety of Landscaping Options
Not only does it look better, but breaking up your lawn with trees, shrubs, and other plants with lower water needs can go a long way toward reducing the amount of water your yard will need to look its best. Talk to your local nursery or landscaper to help determine which types of water-friendly plants will work best in the different parts of your yard. Look at the plants you have selected for your yard and group them by similar watering needs.
Overseed Your Grass
Be sure to aerate once a year in the spring or fall and fertilize late in the fall with a slow-release fertilizer. Overseed the grass to create a thicker lawn. Move the blade on your mower up to 2 ½-3 inches high. Taller grass can shade itself. A thicker, taller lawn trains roots to go deeper and chokes out unsightly and water-hogging weeds. Mulching your clippings and leaving them on the grass will help the soil re-absorb nitrogen and helps improve the soil’s ability to handle moisture.
In addition to mulching your grass clippings back onto the lawn when you mow, add organic matter to your soil to help it hold onto the water. In flowerbeds and around trees, use a thick layer of mulch on top to help cool the soil and slow evaporation.
Adjust Your Sprinkler System
Each year, check your sprinklers to make sure they are watering your lawn and plants, not the sidewalk, gutter, or anything other than your yard. Don’t overwater. You aren’t just wasting water; when you let it run off and run down the drain, you are washing your grass seed, fertilizers and pesticides away with it.
Use Drip Irrigation When You Can
Most plants, other than your lawn, will benefit from getting their water from a drip line rather than from a sprinkler. A drip line takes small hoses to each plant or cluster of plants in your yard, allowing you to water the plants themselves, rather than simply spraying the whole area with a sprinkler and watering dirt that does not have plants growing in it.
Plan Your Water Usage
Do your watering during the coolest hours of the day, before 9 am and after 7 pm. If it’s a windy day, much of the water from your sprinklers will be blown off target and wasted. If it’s raining, wait a day or two before watering again. If you have brown or dry patches, water them by hand. There is no need to water the entire lawn to take care of just one or two spots.
By choosing water-friendly landscaping, we are being friendly to our plants, our environment, and our neighbors who need water, too.