Guest Blog by Lisa Walker at Neighborhood Sprout
Drought conditions are a recurring event in Southern California, as reported by the California Department of Water Resources. However, residents can help alleviate the problem by modifying their landscaping to use less water. According to Garry Brown of Orange County Coastkeeper, the water conservation practices previously adopted by Orange County homeowners have enabled the county to handle the current drought. Here are a few eco-friendly water-saving ideas to try in your yard.
Replace Your Lawn
Replacing your green lawn with a sustainable garden made of drought-tolerant plants doesn’t mean you will be stuck with a dull brown yard. There are many flowering plants, trees, and shrubs with various textures and heights that you can use to create a colorful visual masterpiece.
If you still prefer the appearance of a lawn, plant a look-alike alternative, such as buffalo grass, white clover, sheep fescue or blue grama. These green ground covers require very little or no irrigation to thrive, are heat tolerant, and require little or no mowing.
Modify Your Lawn Routine
Even if you decide to keep your grass lawn, there are steps to take to reduce your water usage. These include:
- Go brown in the cooler months instead of overseeding a winter lawn
- Remove the weeds
- Mow less often and to the highest recommended height
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn for natural fertilization
- Stick to a watering schedule to avoid overwatering
- Fix any leaks in your irrigation system
Change Your Gardening Habits
Changing your habits in your flower beds and vegetable gardens also helps you conserve water:
- Apply Mulch – Spread a layer of mulch around your plants to protect them from losing water due to evaporation.
- Use a Watering Can – Water your plants with a watering can instead of a hose to allow you to control how much water you use.
- Harvest Rainwater – Add a container in your yard to collect rainwater and use it to fill your watering can.
Upgrade Your Irrigation System
You can upgrade your current irrigation system to make it more energy-efficient. To conserve water, switch the spray nozzles on your irrigation to rotating nozzles that apply an even amount of water to a larger area. This method also allows you to distribute water in a semi-circular direction to ensure you aren’t watering the pavement or sidewalk.
Use drip irrigation on all your shrubs and garden plants to ensure the right amount of water is distributed to the plants’ roots and eliminate run-off. Install a controller with a clock and set the irrigation to come on in the cooler early morning hours. Have a rain sensor added to your irrigation controller so a watering cycle is skipped whenever your yard has enough rainfall to hydrate your landscaping adequately.
If you want to make significant water conservation changes to your new or current home, the FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage program is available to help you finance them. It allows you to obtain a new or refinance mortgage and include the cost of converting your yard to drought-tolerant landscaping or installing a new irrigation system with the latest energy-efficient technology.
Making any of these eco-friendly changes to your home landscape helps you conserve water while still enjoying a beautiful yard. In addition, it enables you to do your part to minimize the effects of drought in Southern California.
Photo by Paola L at Pexels