The days of large swaths of lawn grass and expansive sprinkler systems are waning. And mowing, weeding, and raking every week. Low-water yard design is in.
Most every homeowner prides themselves on the lushness of their front lawns and the tidy look of a well-manicured landscape. But all that green grass comes at a price.
Precious Water Down the Drain
How much water?
Well, according one statistic from the EPA,
"The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens."
Doing the math, that works out to about 50 gallons of water a day, which is more than a full bathtub of water dumped on the lawn every day!
But it gets worse. Far worse.
An article from the Earth Institute of Columbia University noted the following,
"American lawns occupy some 30-40 million acres of land. Lawnmowers to maintain them account for some 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution – probably more in urban areas. Each year more than 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled during the refilling of lawn and garden equipment—more than the oil that the Exxon Valdez spilled.
Homeowners spend billions of dollars and typically use 10 times the amount of pesticide and fertilizers per acre on their lawns as farmers do on crops; the majority of these chemicals are wasted due to inappropriate timing and application. These chemicals then runoff and become a major source of water pollution. Last but not least, 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used on lawns. Most of this water is also wasted due to poor timing and application."
One of the easiest and most attractive solutions and alternatives is to install a low water use landscape design in lieu of the more traditional lawn grass.
Low-Water Design - Not Just Rocks, Shrubs, and Gravel
Some people hear "low-water landscape" or "drought resistant" yards and they immediately picture front yards completely devoid of grass, covered instead with gravel, bark mulch, and - worst of all - a flimsy patch of cheap, artificial grass.
In truth, a well-designed, low-water landscape will feature hardy and colorful plants, subtle rock and other hardscape elements, and maybe even a dry "streambed" meandering through it. The idea is to produce a landscape that is inviting, drought resistant, and requires little watering and maintenance.
This approach is also known as xeriscaping, which is the process of landscaping, or gardening, that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation.
According to The Grounds Guys, while the biggest reason to install a low-water landscape is to save money on water, there are several other benefits as well, such as:
- Increased curb appeal, which can lead to higher home value
- Conservation of natural resources and decreased energy use
- Creation of habitat for native wildlife
- Reduced landscaping labor and maintenance costs
TIps for a Great Low-Water Design for Your Home
We've referred to a few garden, landscaping, and grounds experts to put together some top tips for creating a successful low-water landscape:
Use native plants: The number-one way to achieve a low-water landscape is to choose hearty plants native to your region. Because these are adapted to the local soil and climate, they require little water beyond natural rainfall once they’re fully established. They also need minimal fertilizer and are more resistant to local pests and diseases than foreign plant species.
Group plants with similar water requirements: Establish “hydro-zones” in your yard to prevent over or under-watering plants. For example, drought-tolerant dwarf heather and pink jasmine, which are native to the Southwest, should be separated from exotic annual flowers that need more water.
Hardscaping: Hardscape features are the inanimate aspects of a landscape, features such as pathways, patios, fencing and pergolas, which are constructed to enhance outdoor living environments. These projects can add beauty to a yard and minimizing plantings, thereby reducing the water needs of the landscape.
Natural water irrigation: Collect rainwater in rain barrels or rainwater collection urns and use it to irrigate the garden, cutting down on water bills and wasted runoff. If possible, build check dams - temporary barriers such as rocks - that cause water to pool and slow the rate of runoff and instead direct rainwater flow toward garden plants.
There is no one way, or perfect way, to design and install low-water landscaping for your yard and other outdoor spaces. The key is to be intentional and to reduce or eliminate any element that will require copious amounts of water, fertilizer, and maintenance.
Yard Makeover? Get Rid of Yard Waste With the Best!
Junk King can provide you with an efficient, safe, affordable, and eco-friendly yard waste removal service so you don’t need to worry about how to dispose of your outdoor debris or extra-large trash items.
And, if you need our services several times during your clean-up project, or just one time, our hauling professionals will ensure that all the junk and debris is out of your way so that you can get on with enjoying the season.
We can be at your house or property in mere minutes, so call us today! Our team is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
And one of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we recycle much of the material we pick-up. This is proof of our commitment to being an eco-friendly removal service.
So, give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK (5865).