Landscape design allows homeowners to create their ideal natural home setting. Without landscaping, a home looks stark, cold, and severe. Flower beds, plants, and ornamental trees create stunning visuals and connect a homeowner to nature. In the pursuit of this natural beauty, and to an extent keep in line with the neighbors, some people go overboard in their designs. This can add maintenance and expense, but it also wastes water.
While green-minded homeowners may want to explore alternative landscape treatments to lessen their impact on the planet, some municipalities severely restrict water use. Whether by choice or for compliance, there are several ways to create gorgeous landscapes without taxing natural resources.
The Problem with Lawns
Grassy lawns are popular because they are relatively easy to care for. All lawns need are some grass seed, watering, periodic application of fertilizer and other products, and mowing. However, depending on how much rain your area receives, the water required can be large and unsustainable. Even in areas that have plentiful water, many homeowners over-water their lawns. In some neighborhoods, automatic sprinklers are left on without regard to need. When the lawn grows thick every week or so, homeowners mow it down, bag up the clippings, and start the growth all over again. There is an easier and less water-dependent way of providing natural decoration to your home’s outdoor areas and yards.
Fill Your Front Yard with Plants
Xeriscaping is the process of creatively using low-water plants to make unique and breathtaking landscapes. Rather than typical lawn grass, low-water grasses and plants or alternative ground covers are employed in landscape design. Rock gardens and the use of focal-point features are also popular methods on xeriscaping. According to a Nevada study, switching to these types of designs can reduce water bills by up to 50 percent. This reduced consumption, when spread out over the population of a drought-affected area, can free water for other non-ornamental uses.
Some of the turf grass-replacing plantings used in xeriscaping include:
- Stonecrop. This small, nubby plant looks similar to a cactus without spines but grows throughout the United States. It thrives and multiplies laterally when planted on hills and embankments and, if permitted, can eventually cover an entire front yard.
- Maiden grass. This is a clumping tall green grass that changes to red in fall.
- Zebra grass. Another tall grass, but marked by its green and yellow stripes.
- Blue oat grass. A smaller clumping grass with a blue-green color.
Sound xeriscaping methods also use non-plant material, such as mulch to retain soil moisture, and rocks to provide a foundation for plants and avoid soil erosion. Planning and planting these designs require little skill and are perfect DIY jobs for homeowners looking to reduce their environmental impact. All you need are a few garden tools and a good pair of garden gloves.
Xeriscaping is not only about planting; it also requires sustainable watering practices, as no plant is totally drought proof. Even when your yard is filled with plants that require only minimal water, you can still take steps to further reduce your garden use. By harnessing rainwater through the use of a bucket system, for example, you can collect ample water for use in a garden. You can also easily capture rainwater without an unsightly water barrel, which might also present a mosquito problem due to water stagnation. By diverting roof rain runoff to a water catchment system, nature’s sprinklers can be focused where you need the water.
Through planning and making unique choices, you can have a yard and garden that’s less dependent on water. You’ll save time and effort by not having to mow every week, and you’ll feel good knowing that you have lessened the demand for water.
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