Tips for Growing a Lush Lawn That's Light on Water Use

By: Clara Beaufort

  Image courtesy of    Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Is your lawn soaking up your time and money with upkeep?  As a homeowner, you don’t want a lawn that is all work and no play.  With a few eco-friendly changes, you can create a lawn that conserves water and is beautiful to boot! 

 

Be water-wise. 

You don’t need to remove and reseed your lawn to create a water-conscious landscape.  A few wise watering strategies can make a big difference!  Follow these basics to get started:

 

●     Use a mulching mower.  It’ll recycle your grass clippings back into your lawn, and it’ll take less time to mow.

●     When you do need to water your grass and landscaping, some professionals recommend that you do so in the morning to reduce evaporation. 

●     Put an adjustable nozzle on your hose so that when you water, you can be more economical. 

●     Mulch your landscape plants.  Three to five inches of mulch will help retain moisture, reduce weeds, and can improve plant growth.

●     Instead of washing your walkways and driveway, sweep them with a broom or leaf blower.

●     Mow at a higher setting.  Longer grass stems mean less evaporation.

●     Aerate your lawn at least once each year.  As explained by the Indiana State Department of Health, this increases the ability of the soil to absorb water and reduces runoff.  This is especially important in sloping areas and areas with heavy soils.

●     Fertilize wisely; overly fertile grass absorbs excessive amounts of water, has a more shallow root system, and is less hardy. 

●     Remove thatch from your lawn.  Thatch can be a result of poor mowing techniques, over fertilization, or overwatering.  It causes water runoff, thereby making rain and watering less efficient. 

●     When planting your lawn, choose drought-tolerant grasses. 

●     If you install water features such as fountains or ornamental ponds, ensure they recycle water.

 

Recycle rainwater.  

Reusing rainwater is a great way to improve water conservation.  One idea is to use a rain barrel to capture water for distribution through a lawn irrigation system.  Rain barrels can sometimes be acquired through local municipalities.  Another suggestion is to plant a rain garden.  Planting a rain garden isn’t complicated, even if you don’t have a green thumb!  As This Old House explains, you’ll want to plant at least 10 feet from your house and 50 feet from any septic systems.  Wherever your rain garden will hold standing water, usually in a low spot or the center, use native plants.  The areas that receive more moderate water can be planted with somewhat less water-tolerant plants, and the outer area should include the most drought-tolerant plants.  If you struggle with finding the right plants, some experts recommend checking in with a professional landscaper with a permaculture certificate. This person can help you select low-maintenance plants that are native to your location.  Then choose great gardening gloves to go along with your smart plant choices.  Gardening is no fun with poorly made gloves, and with proper planning, you’ll have a green thumb before you know it! 

 

Add hardscaping. 

Including hardscaping on your property is a terrific way to add visual appeal while reducing water usage.  You can set up outdoor rooms with gravel, concrete, or rock floors and add a sculpture for visual appeal.  Some experts recommend including trees for shade since those hard surfaces can radiate heat on sunny days.  Consider including eye-catching planters and a fire pit, and you’ll have a destination for lounging, entertaining, and family fun.

 

Smart-scaping! 

Being water-wise is smart for your lawn and landscape.  Create a lush lawn that is easy to maintain and beautiful, and enhance your property with eco-friendly choices.  Even if you have a brown thumb, you can enjoy an effective and water-conscious landscape!