10 Easy Ways to Conserve Water In Your Yard

10 Easy Ways to Conserve Water In Your Yard

With the focus on water efficient appliances and other smart ways to conserve water inside, it’s easy to forget how much water we put into our yards and gardens. But outdoor usage accounts for 30% of all home water use, and that number can climb even higher in dryer parts of the country. That’s why taking the time to reducing outdoor water use is an important part of greening your home, and we want to help you get started with these ten easy ways to reduce your water footprint.

1. Get a rain barrel
Recyclable Rain Barrel

Recyclable Rain Barrel

The best way to make your yard or garden water efficient is to make use of nature’s own sprinkler system by installing a rain barrel. Options like this recyclable rain barrel and this collapsible barrel can be put under a gutter or other drainage system to catch and store water for later use. Both will hold up to 50 gallons each and have a tap to make it easy to attach a hose. Look for a rain filter systemif you want to attach a barrel directly to your gutter and prevent overflow.

2. Be smart with irrigation

Whether you’re using a rain barrel or your home’s plumbing, you’ll want to be smart with your water. The best method to water gardens, lawns, trees, and shrubs is a soaker hose or drip irrigation systems: these types of hoses rest on or just under the surface and slowly drip water onto the soil. Because they apply water directly where it’s needed, soaker hoses require less water than a sprinkler system, which can use up to 500 gallons of water in two hours (that’s more than a family of four uses in a day!).

3. Use sprinklers wisely

If sprinklers are your only option, make sure you use them as efficiently as possible. Aim them to avoid wasting water on non-absorbent surfaces like sidewalks or driveways, and only run them when the sun is down to minimize evaporative loss. You can also install sensors that will prevent your sprinklers from turning on in the rain.

4. Know when your yard needs water

Use a screwdriver or small shovel to test the soil in your yard: if the top 3 – 5 inches are damp, you can put the hoses away. Most lawns will only need water once a week in the summer and even less in the winter.

5. Plant native, drought-resistant plants

Plants have evolved over millions of years to fit perfectly into their environment, so if you live in a dry climate, native plants are one of your best weapons against water waste. Drought resistant plants like cacti and rosemary can reduce the amount of water your yard needs, so check with local nurseries to find the best plants for your area.

6. Organize plants by water need and in the right location

You can make it easy to get the plants in your yard the water they need if you landscape smart. Place thirsty plants together in lower areas to make watering easy and efficient, and group hardier plants in drier spots like windy areas or slopes.

7. Aerate your yard

Aerating your lawn will help it absorb water quickly and reduce runoff, especially if your lawn gets a lot of traffic or has an easily compacted soil like clay.

8. Ditch the grass

If you live in a drought-prone area, it can be easier to just get rid of water-hungry lawns. You can replace grass with low-maintenance gravel, paving stones, or marble chips that will keep your lawn looking neat without the wasted water. If you don’t want to get rid of your whole lawn, try landscaping around your house, trees, or driveway with rock features.

9. Mulch your garden and shrubs

Mulch is a great way to keep your water usage down because it traps moisture under the soil where it’s needed most. Spread wood chips, straw, compost, or leaves in your garden or around the base of trees and shrubs to help the soil hold onto water. As an added bonus, mulch will help prevent erosion and will also provide extra nutrients when it starts to break down. Letting your grass grown long (around 3 inches) will help your lawn retain water.

10. Keep up with pool and spa maintenance

Check for leaks around pumps, filters, and pipes and cover pools and spas to prevent evaporative loss.

Greenhome’s garden water conservation kit has all the tools you need to get started. It includes a rainfall meter, hose repair kit, hose timer, and more.

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