It’s hard to believe, but some homes use more water outdoors in the summer than they use for all other purposes all year.
The average suburban house uses at least 30% of its water for irrigation, even though more than 50% of landscape water is lost due to evaporation or over-watering.
The good news is that highly attractive, low-maintenance landscapes are possible without enormous amounts of water.
You can conserve lawn and garden water usage and have an impact far beyond your property lines.
You can minimize lawn and garden water use by:
Watering outdoors only when needed, not on a set schedule. If your grass springs back after you step on it, it doesn’t need watering.
Watering by hand. Automated systems use significantly more water, not all of which is actually needed.
Installing drip-irrigation systems in your garden rather than sprinklers (hand-watering is still best).
Planting gardens to take advantage of rainwater running off other parts of your property.
Using a rain barrel to capture water running from your roof to use in your garden. Use cooking water, too, as well as water captured from faucets as you wait for it to warm or cool.
Reducing the size of your lawn by planting shrubs, berry bushes or other low-maintenance ground covers – or just letting it go “native.”
Letting your grass grow longer, which will encourage deeper roots and keep them cooler and moisture during dry spells.
Leaving grass clippings on the lawn to decompose, nourish the grass and reduce your need for fertilizers.
Avoid watering in the middle of the day. Water early in the morning or in the evening. That will reduce evaporation and allow more water to reach your lawn’s root zone.
Using a rain gauge to determine when your lawn needs water and also to measure how much you’re applying. Generally, turf grasses need about ¾"—1" of water per week. If the forecast calls for rain, hold off on watering.
Using directional sprinklers, and putting them where they water just the lawn, not driveways or sidewalks.
Planting trees to shade your lawn.
Planting drought-resistant grass and other plants.