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10 Tips to a Beautiful Yard, Without Wasteful Watering

Did you know that the United States uses 355 billion gallons of water a day? The average American family uses 60 gallons of water per day (almost 22,000 gallons per year) just to water their lawns and gardens.

 
That’s a crazy amount of water and it’s incumbent upon all of us to do our part in conserving this precious limited resource. "Xeriscaping" is a practical way you can help save water.
 
According to epa.gov, this technique is a systematic method of encouraging water conservation in landscaped areas. Although xeriscaping is mostly used in dry areas, its principles can be used in any region to help save water.
Here are some tips and to-do’s for making strategic decisions about your landscaping.
 
• Don’t fight nature. Choose regionally-appropriate plants that require minimal water. The EPA website provides resources to find what native plants thrive in your state.

• Limit areas of turf. Less grass requires less water, so structure your landscaping to include areas of paving stones, drought-resistant ground cover plants or a larger patio area.
 
• Consider synthetic turf. Yep, it’s a thing. Synthetic grass can be used in both commercial and residential applications. This is an eco-friendly landscape solution for those who want the look of a lawn, but not its water-sucking properties.
 
• Balance use of annuals and perennials. Added to your yard each year, these flowers and plants require significant water to produce their bright blooms for a single season. Perennials or other hardy plants have the time to develop deep roots, which enables them to access water deep within the soil.
 
• Zone plants strategically. Group plants with similar water needs together. Doing this will allow you to target your watering levels without wasting water on plants that don’t need as much.
 
• Choose cacti and succulents. These plants have thickened or fleshy areas, and retain water. This makes them ideal for arid climates.
 
• Minimize steep slopes. Run-off is an avoidable waste of water. Terrace your yard to conserve water and prevent puddles at the bottom of your hill. This technique includes creating various levels (or terraces) of landscaping (like steps), rather than having a slope that produces run-off.
 
• Add mulch to plant-intensive areas. Proper mulching will keep plant roots cool and reduce evaporation. It also prevents soil from crusting (which can limit the amount of water that reaches a plant’s roots) and stymies weed growth.
 
• Raise your mower’s cutting height. Keeping the grass a bit longer provides shade and enables the soil to retain more moisture.
 
• When you must water, do so in the morning. Tending to your plants during the coolest part of the day reduces evaporation. However, it’s unwise to water during cool evenings since the moisture creates a perfect breeding ground for fungus.
 
Updating your landscaping ranks among the top features that appeal to homebuyers and it may add to your resale value. Even if you’re not planning to move, this can be an ecologically-sound update to your home. And if that isn’t enough motivation, consider this. Globally, nearly 2 billion people live in water-stressed areas. Let’s each do our part to take good care of our planet and our properties.
 
- By The Compass Hawaii Team, Feb 05, 2019



 
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