Summer Marches On
Boy, the summer sure is hot. Even as we pass the peak and start moving towards fall, the days are more hot than not. Spring rainfall has helped Cache Valley avoid serious water regulation this summer, but it’s still been a dry summer. It’s always a dry summer in Utah. Irrigation is one of the most expensive parts of maintaining a yard, so we’re seeing increasing interest in low-water landscaping.
What Is Low-Water Landscaping?
Low-water landscaping is exactly what it sounds like; it’s landscape design that minimizes the use of water. It’s not quite as extreme as xeriscaping, but it’s still good for water conservation efforts. How does one get low-water landscaping, you ask? Well, here’s the low-down.
1. Use Native Plants
Using native plants is an important part of low-water landscaping. Plants native to your area are suited to the average rainfall in the area. Since they’re adapted to survive in the area, they’ll be able to get by on exactly however much rainfall is normal for the area. You won’t have to worry about constantly watering them to keep them alive. They’ll also need less fertilizer, because they’re adapted to the nutrient levels found in this area’s natural soil. Even better, they’ll be adapted to the local area’s pests. It makes them much easier to care for in every way.
Keep the water requirements of your plants in mind as you plant them. If you have plants that require more water than others, arrange them into special areas where they can all be watered at once. A single, thirsty perennial in an area of low-water plants will needed to be watered just as much as an entire garden area of perennials, so there’s no reason not to group them together.
2. Minimize Turf
The idea of a lawn with well-manicured grass is one that’s been appealing for centuries, but grass is a real water hog. Most of the water you pour into your lawn will go to keep the grass green. If you want to minimize water use, you need to minimize grass. This can be done by selectively planting your turf. Use low-water vegetation to cover most of your yard and reserve grass for specific areas you intend to use.
Where you do plant grass, you should use grass that grows well in your area. Some grasses are better adapted to low water, so planting them will reduce water requirements. It’s also a good idea to cut your grass longer than shorter. Long grass grows deeper roots as well as giving shade to the soil to reduce evaporation.
3. Promote Healthy Soil
The healthier your soil is, the better able to thrive your lawn will be. Healthy soil absorbs moisture better and provides nutrients better. Aerate your soil to keep it from becoming compacted, giving your lawn better water absorption and nutrient delivery. Use mulch around trees, shrubs, and flower beds to further slow evaporation and inhibit weeds. You can also use bark chips and gravel in place of grass in some areas.
4. Minimize Fertilizer Use
If you stick to native plants, you won’t need to use as much fertilizer. It’s important that you stick to this, because using too-much fertilizer will encourage thirsty top-growth that’ll only increase the water needs of your lawn. When you do use fertilizer, select slow-release products that feed the plants gradually. That will encourage healthy root growth without increasing water demands.
Wise Water Use
Low-water landscaping can save you a lot of money on water use if you stick to it. That doesn’t mean there’s no watering involved, though. It’s important that you learn what your lawn needs. Too little and it will die off, but too much will only encourage the growth of plants that demand more water. You need to assess how your lawn is doing and adjust accordingly. When you’ve got it figured out, you can work out the best method of watering your lawn to keep it looking good at minimal water use. With the aid of automatic irrigation systems, you can manage your yard to near perfection without worrying about using too much water. It’s not effort-free, but the amount of money you can save on your water bill makes it more than worth it.
Give Us A Call
It’s a bit late in the year to be planting a full, low-water landscape now, but there’s still a lot that needs managing. Soon, there’ll be other things to deal with, too. Fall is coming up and it’ll soon be time to blow-out your sprinklers. While you won’t be doing it just yet, now’s the time to be planning for it. You don’t want to wait until the last minute and risk not having any openings, or having an early snow making it impossible for you to get it done. Be thinking about it now so you can get it done sooner rather than too-late.
If there’s any other landscaping or lawn maintenance you need help with, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re ready to help you with all your landscaping needs.