Image via Pexels
Water Scarcity in the United States
Despite what many people think, water scarcity is a real problem in the United States. Half of the country suffers from a drought at any given moment. Rivers and lakes all around the country are at risk for running dry due to pollution, demands, and various other factors. Meanwhile cities from Los Angeles to Miami are water stressed, meaning residents have to limit their usage. In LA, high temperatures and reduced rainfall created the worst drought for the area in 1,200 years. In Miami, rising sea levels leak into wells and contaminate fresh water supplies used for things such as bathing and drinking.
Even if you don’t live in a water scarce area, limiting your water usage has several benefits:
- Minimizes the negative effects of drought should one happen
- Saves money
- Preserves valuable drinking water
- Keeps water available for recreation
- Builds safe and beautiful communities
An easy way to reduce your water consumption is through landscaping. Your traditional English lawn was not designed with the current ecological climate in mind. The amount of water it takes to keep grass green and lush is downright wasteful. Plus, the pesticides and fertilizers you use get washed away and pose a risk of contaminating your area’s water supply. That’s why, in this day and age, it is much smarter to opt out of having a lawn in favor of an yard landscaped with native and water-saving plants.
So break out your gardening gloves and sun hat– we have the best tips for eco-friendly landscaping.
If you truly want your yard to be “green,” it’s best to work with plants throughout the color spectrum. Instead of relying on yards and yards of turf, eco-friendly landscaping utilizes local flora that does well in the home’s ecosystem combined with plants that do not need much rain or watering to survive. Xeriscape landscaping is a technique that requires little to no irrigation in order to conserve water.
There are various elements to successful xeriscaping:
- Using a wide variety of plants
- Grouping plants with similar water needs together
- Reducing lawn grass
- Utilizing plants that need little to no water such as cacti and succulents
- Planting drought-tolerant trees and shrubs
- Working with native plants to the area
Beyond water conservation, xeriscaping is also environmentally friendly because native plants do not need artificial fertilizers and pesticides to thrive. Foregoing these toxic chemicals keeps them out of your storm drain which protects your area’s water supply. Furthermore, xeriscaping simply looks cooler than your traditional lawn. Instead of having your basic turf covered yard, your home stands out with its colorful use of various plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs.
More Water Conservation Tips for Homeowners
- Use “grey water” from baths, showers and washing machines to water plants
- Collect water with a rain barrel.
- If you do need to water your yard, do it at dusk to prevent unnecessary evaporation.
- Mulch all your flower beds regularly to contain water at the roots
- Check for hose or sprinkler leaks regularly.
- Replace home fixtures with water saving versions.
- Insulate pipes to heat water faster so you don’t have to leave it on as long.
Plant rain gardens below gutter downspouts that catch dirty runoff while taking advantage of precipitation.
Don’t just delegate water-smart landscaping to the front yard– landscape the backyard as well.
If your family likes to play sports and games on the lawn, consider laying artificial turf that provides a nice, green field with no water and very little maintenance.
Believe it or not, water scarcity is a real problem in the United States. Homeowners from the east to west coast need to do their part to help conserve water for the future. An easy way to save a lot of water without compromising quality of life is to get rid of your lawn in favor of eco-friendly yard options. Not only do they look unique and preserve water, water conserving yards save you money and time spent on maintenance.