March 4, 2008
by Canadian Architect
Water costs continue to rise. However, smart landscape design and simple watering habits can significantly reduce a home’s utility bills. By planning now, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars and thousands of gallons of water this summer, and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends the following steps for a water-saving garden makeover:
Start Early. Plan ahead so that all new plantings take place in the spring. It keeps you out of the summer heat and plants require much less water to get situated compared to the warmer months.
Go Native. When deciding what to install in your yard, consider native and drought-resistant plants. They typically require less maintenance and little watering once established (sometimes none at all).
Must Mulch. Use compost when planting and cover the area with mulch afterwards. Compost helps keep the water by the plant’s roots and mulch prevents evaporation. Make sure to leave some space around the base of each plant and resist creating mulch mounds around plants and trees.
Less Lawn. The average American uses 200 gallons per day watering their lawn. Consider replacing some of that grass with an attractive groundcover which is drought-resistant, covers a large area, and requires zero mowing.
Super Soak. Up to a third of all water from sprinklers can evaporate during the heat of the day. Instead, give your plants fewer, heavy soakings. If you must use sprinklers, only use them in the morning.
Grey is Good. Recapturing grey water or rainwater can provide a free source of garden irrigation. These systems can be easily installed and even incorporated into irrigation systems.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip irrigation systems water plants right at the root and serve as an efficient alternative to sprinkler systems. Be sure to get a timer for maximum effectiveness.
There are many ways to significantly reduce utility bills through landscape design. For more information, please visit www.asla.org.