By guest blogger, Rama Nayeri, landscape designer and owner of Creations Landscape Designs in Orange County, CA.
I count myself among the majority of Americans living upside down – owing more on my house than it’s currently worth. Yep! I am right there with you. But, just because the economy has gone to pieces doesn’t mean your wallet has to too. Consider these five tips on how to reduce your water bill and add a little more GREEN to your wallet. They may even add some GREEN to your property value.
1. Trash Your Lawn
Let’s face it. Lawns are a waste of money and valuable real estate. The amount of water spent watering the lawn and money spent mowing and fertilizing it is not well spent. You could, instead, utilize that valuable real estate to create a low-water meadow garden or create a wildlife-friendly, native plant garden.
In this economy, it has become a challenge just to make ends meet. If you are a homeowner, meeting this challenge means reducing your expenses. How can you spend less? How can you reduce your water bill while increasing your property value? The simplest solution is to “trash” your lawn, and replace it with the type of garden that will save you lots of GREEN, and is GREENER to the environment.
Lawns require plenty of water and regular maintenance to be kept up, which means plenty of expense. By killing off these areas and replacing them with native plants you are doing all of the following…
- Creating a wildlife habitat
- Reducing the amount of water used for irrigation by a significant amount
- Creating a beautiful garden and becoming the neighborhood trendsetter
- Creating a garden that rarely needs to be maintained
- Getting on Mother Nature’s good side and so much more…
2. Harvest Rainwater and Greywater
If Mother Nature is giving us free water then why are we not harvesting it? And, why not re-use our wash water (greywater) to irrigate our gardens? In three easy steps, you can do both:
- Cut a whole in the bottom of a large, decorative pot (any color/style you want) for a spigot and attach a hose.
- Cover the top of the pot with some mesh netting to keep out the bugs.
- Place the pot under the gutter or attach a hose from the washing machine that leads outside to the top of the pot.
You now have a gardening hose that uses all recycled water! For more convenience, you can even have your collected water connected directly to your irrigation system.
3. Know Your Garden
My mother is the classic over-waterer. Even though I’ve advised her many times that the plants in her garden don’t need much water, she still insists on watering more often then necessary. You should know your garden and exactly how much water each plant needs. If you have hired a designer, then he or she should tell you all the details about your plants and if you have had an irrigation system installed, your contractor should educate you on how to use it.
4. Plant Native
Native plants are already adapted to the climate and specific soil in your area, will thrive on just about as much water as Mother Nature provides and the local wildlife will love them. If you must have grass in your garden then look for options that grow naturally in your region.
5. Sweep It
My front porch is on the second floor of a condo complex and I would not dare use water to wash it with. I just grab a broom and sweep. This exercise gives me a good upper body workout and helps save a precious resource. Just imagine where the water you use to wash hardscape with is going – into the storm drain and possibly destroying our watersheds.
Guest blogger, Rama Nayeri specializes in California native/drought tolerant landscape designs that reduce your water bill, while increasing your property value. Visit her Website or Blog for additional information.