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Ways to Conserve Water in Your Yard

written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/6/2010

With a little planning and thoughtful landscape choices, you can drastically reduce the amount of water you use this season to keep your yard green. Learn some easy saving water tips here.

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    We all want a lush green landscape outside our homes, but water conservation is critical during warm summer months. There are numerous ways to conserve water in your yard and garden while still keeping your plants thriving. Follow these water-saving tips below this summer to cut back your water use.

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    1. Water in the Early Morning

    If you water your lawn and plants in the early morning, when temperatures are low and humidity is high, you can minimize water lost by evaporation. The water will soak into the ground to be available to your plants all day. Set your automatic timer to around 4 am or turn on your sprinklers when you first get up.

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    2. Mulch to Maintain Moisture

    Topping your garden and landscape beds with a moderate layer of eco-friendly mulch, such as straw or coconut coir, will hinder evaporation of water from the soil. Add a layer of mulch after a deep watering of your plants in the spring.

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    3. Choose Low-Water Grass and Plants

    succulent Most standard lawn grasses are water hogs. If you are adding lawn area to your yard choose drought resistant grass seed or sod. You can find low-water grass seed mixes locally at nurseries or online. A top online pick is Eco-Lawn seed mix from Wildflower Farm in Canada.

    To complete your landscape, visit your local nursery to find low-water plants best suited for your area. Not all drought-resistant plants are desert-like in appearance. Iris tubers, for example, will produce lovely flowers and green foliage with minimal water.

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    4. Use Drip Irrigation or a Soaker Hose

    Deliver just the right amount of water directly to your plants with a drip irrigation system. Drip emitters slowly water your plants at the roots, saving precious water from landing on foliage just to be evaporated. A drip system is relatively easy to install as a DIY project as it does not need to be buried underground. Learn more by reading this tutorial on how to install a drip irrigation system.

    Soaker hoses, available at most hardware stores, are another smart way to water your plants. Wrap a soaker hose around the base of your landscape plants to deliver water just to the roots.

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    5. Minimize Lawn Area

    Do you really want all that lawn? A lush, green lawn is a nice place to spend your summer day, but you probably have more lawn than you really use. Convert unused lawn space into a xeriscape garden (see below) or a rock garden to save water and time spent maintaining your yard.

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    6. Plant a Xeriscape Garden

    A xeriscape garden is carefully designed and installed to need very minimal water, if any. Xeriscape gardens are not limited to cactus plants - depending on your location your xeriscape garden can include several flowering plants and shrubs as well as ornamental grasses and succulents. Take a look at these beautiful photos of xeriscape gardens and see how appealing a xeriscape garden can be.

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    photo courtesy creative commons license