Get a Beautiful Yard While Cutting Down on Water Waste
Drips, spills and runoff. These can add hundreds of dollars to your water bills if you’re not careful. Turning off the hose when you’re done using it may save you a few pennies here and there, but to really conserve water, you’ll need to make some serious changes to your landscaping. It’s the right move both economically and environmentally as regions throughout the country face water shortages, and the price of hydration continues to rise. Here are a few moves to make now.
Check for Leaks
Leaks could be the reason why your water bills are so high, especially if you use your sprinkler for an extended period. First, you have to find the source of the leak. It could be from where the hose joins the faucet, in which case you may have a faulty packing nut or washer. Secondly, check the entire length of the hose for cracks or holes. If there’s only a few, that’s easy enough to fix with a mending kit from your local gardening center.
Plant Drought-Resistant Varieties
You can beautify your lawn and garden using varieties common to arid climates that have evolved to store water in their leaves or grow narrower leaves that lower the rate of evaporation. Cacti are the best-known of such varieties, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. You can choose from lavender, thyme, sumac and dozens of others to add a dash of color to the landscape while keeping the hose work down to a minimum. Some of these plants can be a little prickly and difficult to work, so it may require some gloves and work boots for protection.
Maintain Healthy Soil
Feeding your plants with organic matter is a must to keep them growing strong. One of the side benefits is that it helps absorb moisture in the soil while also preventing it from draining away, say the gardening gurus at GrowVeg, which is quite a feat for errant kitchen waste. Just don’t forget to mulch. Whether it’s wood chips or cut grass, they’ll prevent the sun from beating down on the soil and keeping that moisture from evaporating.
Doing it on a regular schedule is actually a mistake, say the folks at Garden Fundamentals. Though morning and evening are always the best time to give your plants a drink, as the sun isn’t shining so bright and less water evaporates, how often depends on the species and type of soil. Sand is loose and lets water pass through quickly, while clay does the opposite. You may need to dig in your shovel to see whether or not you even need to make it rain.
Install Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is a low-pressure irrigation system in which nozzles are placed at the base of plants and water is applied very slowly. It’s a highly efficient watering system both in terms of water and energy use. In addition, it helps keep mulch in place whereas traditional watering tends to push it away, leaving patches of bare soil exposed to the sun. Laying the pipes and placing emitters takes some careful planning and a bit of hard work, but it all pays off in the end with beautiful plants and lower utility bills.
According to the gardeners at Morning Chores, you can gather 600 gallons of rainwater from one inch of rain falling from a 1,000-square-foot roof. That’ll keep your plants well hydrated for a long time if used wisely. Best of all, you can tap into this resource for less than $100 using one of 23 designs that require little more than some plastic barrels, spigots, adapters and some sweat, and that’s for something relatively fancy.
Your dramatically lower water bill will be the first pleasant surprise to come from these efforts, followed by the compliments from your neighbors about how beautiful your yard is. Spread the word and make your entire neighborhood greener in more ways than one.
Image via Unsplash.
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