Besides saving water inside of your home, you can also minimize your water-usage outside of your home through “smart gardening.” Since summer usually means many months without a large amount of rainfall, keeping your yard looking alive and fresh often requires large amounts of water-water which could otherwise be preserved, thus helping both the environment and your wallet. This summer, try to utilize some of these water-saving gardening techniques to minimize your use of water.
If possible, do not water your lawn at all. Many neighborhoods have “blue laws” or other such neighborhood guidelines that its citizens have agreed to live by and often “keeping lawns green” is one of these. However, if you are not bound by any such agreement and are willing to deal with brown grass for the summer months, go ahead and make an environmental statement by not watering your lawn. While it may look fairly unpleasant, most grass will usually grow back to its full splendor in the winter months, whether you have kept it watered all summer or not.
If you do not wish to cut out watering all together, try to minimize the size of your lawn if possible. This can be done by altering your yard’s landscaping to include more alternative methods of landscaping such as bark, more trees, plant groundcovers, or even stone “creeks.” The more you have in the way of these other landscaping options, the less lawn you will have to water or mow. While bark may be annoying to keep weed-free, it will certainly not require any watering; if more trees seems like a hassle because of the possibility of having to rake up leaves in the fall, consider planting “evergreen” trees if desired. Although weeding and raking may seem like time-intensive activities to trade for simply watering a lawn, they offer the added benefit of giving you exercise.
If you choose to water your lawn this summer, try to do so in the “best” possible way. If you do not have an automatic sprinkler system then you probably have more control over exactly how your lawn is watered. Try to position your sprinkler in an area where it will be the most beneficial to your lawn; avoid spots that will simply spray a lot of water onto the sidewalk or driveway. Instead, place your sprinkler where it will have the maximum “grass-spraying” radius. One way to get a two-for-one deal with watering your lawn is to allow your children to play in the sprinkler while it is already watering the lawn, instead of turning the sprinkler on an additional time for play-time. To maximize the benefits of all the water you will be using, avoid watering your lawn in the middle of the day. Instead, turn on your sprinkler during either the morning or evening when it is cooler. If you turn the sprinkler on during the heat of the day, the higher temperatures will cause the water to evaporate very quickly, thus forcing you to use an unnecessarily large amount of water to keep your lawn equally green.
Besides conscientiously watering (or not watering) your lawn, try to be environmentally friendly in your other landscaping schemes as well. Plant flowers and bushes that boast of needing “little to no” water. If possible, try using native plants in your landscaping as much as possible. Besides being naturally beautiful, most of these plants were designed to survive all months in the region where they grow naturally. Thus they should require much less water to look good during the summer than the artificially introduced plants that you may otherwise buy.