Water is an essential component of human and plant life, and when droughts occur, the resulting water shortages have an impact on everyone. The 2014 drought in California has caused devastating effects to residents of the state, leading to widespread repercussions for the entire country. Although dead, dry lawns are unattractive (and may even lead to fines), it is possible to irrigate one's yard without using excessive amounts of water.
A Lush, Green Lawn Without Ecological Backlash
Whether your area is anticipating a California-sized drought or you value the planet intrinsically, conservation is possible, and a balance between aesthetic curb appeal and conscientiousness can be had. Consider these recommendations:
- Irrigate smarter, not harder. Consider a rotary sprinkler head for your irrigation system to direct water more efficiently and lose less to the wind while irrigating.
- Convert your green. Did you know lawns do not have to be made of the typical grasses? In a dry spell, you can easily kill off your grass and replace it with other plant seed that will sprout quickly and require less water from your irrigation system. Amidst the recent California outcry for water conservation, organizations are paying residents to make this switch.
- Maximize with mulch. Convert part of your lawn to a garden with mulch, soil, or pea gravel. Of course, thirsty plants will cost you water, too, but hardy shrubs, cacti, or other dry-weather plants work well. You could also line the area with rock and other attractive accoutrements without the need for watering.
- Reduce your lawn size by laying wood mulch, rubber mulch, or pea gravel and erecting a jungle gym, gazebo, or other lawn ornament that doesn't require water. In this way, the appearance and usability of your lawn is not lost to the drought or efforts to conserve.
- Drip irrigation. Upgrading to a low pressure system requires less water and less energy to perform. This will save you money and protect the planet. Drip irrigation may seem overly sophisticated for some people who want a lush lawn, but the savings in cost and efficiency are astronomical. Because of the slow, low-pressure drip functionality and the low-lying wind avoidance, these systems lose less water and therefore take less money from your pocket.
- "Smart" controllers. There are many irrigation systems available today which automatically deactivate in the event of adequate soil moisture, air humidity, or detection of rain. Investing in a "smart" system can ensure that you do not have to manually shut off the system following a miraculous rain.
Further, the irrigation systems with these intuitive built in technologies may actually know more about the surroundings than you do, having the ability to detect soil moisture at a depth to which most people will not excavate. Stop wondering and upgrade to a system that does all the dirty work for you. This will cut back on costs, because the sprinklers won't be running when the grass doesn't need them.
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