Is the drought sneaking up on us? We need to pay much closer attention to this condition. It’s close to Spring and the snow pack across the state of Colorado is below average, in fact,our overall snow pack for last year was also below average. This means that we may not have the luxury of watering our landscapes whenever we want and as much as we want. Even now we can help the situation by conserving and using our water thoughtfully indoors; and it is not too early to consider the water we use in our landscapes.
Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your landscape and lawn to see if it can be more water thrifty. The adjective Xeric, is defined as of, characterized by, or adapted to an extremely dry habitat. Your landscape possesses many opportunities to be more xeric in nature and these changes can really be an investment with great returns. Like many other investments it can put time and money back into your pocket.
Here are several different ideas to help you reassess your landscape.
When you turn your sprinkler system on in Spring, check to make sure it’s operating properly and that the appropriate times are set for each specific zones. Throughout the growing season you should adjust your sprinkler running times at least a few times to correspond to the weather patterns. Is each sprinkler head/nozzle adjusted correctly so that it is watering efficiently? Are you watering your lawn too frequently? Established bluegrass lawns only need to be watered once every three days and can be trained to require even less. An efficient sprinkler system can save a surprising volume of water.
How much turf is too much? Consider which family activities use your lawn; can all those activities take place on a smaller area of lawn than you have now? Perhaps you do not need as much lawn area as you have. Lawns on steep slopes are hard to properly water; the water tends to run off the surface before it soaks into the soil. What about terracing slopes with low walls or replacing the lawn with low water plants that are ideal for holding slopes and preventing erosion? Beyond these, many other strategies to help make your turf areas less thirsty exist. Saving water saves money.
Landscape shrub and flower beds should also be part of this assessment. Maybe it’s time to update all or parts of your landscape bed areas with xeric plantings that require less water and less maintenance. Many colorful and interesting low water shrubs and perennials have been introduced into the nursery industry; xeric minded gardens and bed areas can be designed to be vibrant, colorful and even beneficial in many ways. Xeric gardens are not about settling for less, but creating something interesting and thriving to heighten your senses while saving water, time and money.
Many more options for creating a more xeric landscape are out there, as well as different ways for your yard to be more sustainable. Remember, we can help with all of these ideas so please feel free to contact us with questions and your own landscaping challenges.
Xeric means adapting to lower water conditions that seem to be inevitable for our region, but not a zeroscape or a yard full of rocks. After all, Zeroscape is the name of a Canadian band that blends different music genres together and not a term for the landscape.
Be in your garden and thrive.