When the seasons change to spring and summer, the warm weather can often put “looking good” at the top of our priorities, and there’s a lot of pressure to feel like it’s a competition, especially with all the images we’re inundated with on social media and glossy magazines. Keep in mind that being healthy is more important than adhering to a certain look. Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not talking about your tan or swimsuit body…I’m talking about your lawn and garden.
We want to keep our lawns and gardens looking healthy and fresh, but we want to do it without wasting water, and apply it to environmentally friendly landscapes. It’s estimated that up to 50% of the water we use for outdoor needs is not necessary to maintain a healthy landscape. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips that will help you conserve water and still manage to feel good about the look of your lawn this year.
- Don’t over-water. One of the biggest mistakes we can make with plants is watering them more than they need. A good rule of thumb is; 1 inch of water per week, and when in doubt, make sure the plant’s soil is lightly moist. Keep in mind that over-watering is just as bad as under-watering!
- Keep plants local. For gardens and landscaping, native plants require less water and care than those found unnaturally in your local habitat because they are adept at utilizing whatever rainfall is typical of your region.
- Water in the morning or late in the day. The cooler it is outside in the daylight, the more time the plant has to absorb the water throughout the day and receive nourishment before the water evaporates.
- Watch what you’re watering. Check sprinkler heads to make sure water isn’t being wasted on your sidewalks or pavement. You can reduce the runtime for plants in shady areas, too.
- Keep an eye on the weather. Rain in the forecast? This saves you not only a few minutes in the morning by not having to water your plants, but also a lot of water! Be sure to turn off sprinkler systems. Invest in a low-cost rain sensor that turns off the sprinklers when it’s raining.
- 50 shades of (brown) grass. This is an *extra* pro-tip because though brown grass may not look the nicest, brown grass isn’t necessarily dead grass. Grass can go dormant (brown) in the scorching summer months but will likely turn green again once it begins to cool off.
- The right amount of mulch. Now that you’ve got your local super-plants, you don’t want to over-mulch. Mulching beds do help retain moisture and prevent weeds but over-mulching can stress plants. Two to three inches should be plenty.
- Do some research. Knowing of some drought-friendly plants could benefit your yard. In the event of a drought, many of your foreign plants may die- but those accustomed to a drier climate will look healthy and maintained all summer, regardless of the weather. You can start by browsing this helpful guide.
Maintaining a beautiful lawn or garden is something to be proud of, but conserving water while doing so is even better. I hope you have a great summer and strive to follow at least some of these tips. For other water-saving (and money-saving) tips this summer, check here. Your lawns, gardens, and wallets will thank you.