Everybody loves summer and the lovely, lush green landscape that comes along with it.
But that water bill? Yikes.
You’re not alone.The average American household uses 320 gallons of water per day, and landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly a third of that.
And as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.
Cheer up. There are things you can do this fall that will help lower your water bill starting in the spring.
Let’s take a look.
Install An Automatic Sprinkler System
If you water your lawn with a hose and sprinklers, chances are, you’re wasting water — and money.
An automatic sprinkler system effectively and efficiently waters the lawn, spreading water only when and where it’s needed.
Hose-end sprinklers use more water than necessary and don’t evenly distribute the water. Water often sprays where it isn’t needed, shooting over onto pavement, driveways and sidewalks.
It’s easy to forget to turn the sprinkler off, so you’re often using more water than your landscape needs.
An automatic irrigation system prevents this waste. The sprinkler heads are placed at precise locations that allow them to deliver water only where it’s needed —to lawn, shrubs, trees and flower beds. And timers ensure automatic turnoff, whether you’re paying attention or not.
No more wasted water.
Save More Water With Smart Irrigation Controls
Smart irrigation controllers boost an automatic irrigation system’s efficiency even more. They act as a sort of thermostat for your sprinkler system, telling it when to turn on and off.
Instead of just turning on based on what time of day it is, they can use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor watering schedules to actual conditions in your landscape.
Smart controllers maintain your watering schedule, so you don’t have to. They automatically adjust for changes in weather and seasonality, using as little water as possible while keeping your landscape looking its best.
If every home in the United States installed an automatic sprinkler system with a smart controller, we could save $435 million in water costs and 120 billion gallons of water across the country annually from not over watering lawns and landscapes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Plant Native Plants — They Need Less Water
Unlike many non-native plants, native plants are hardy and less susceptible to pests and diseases. They grow well and require little care. By choosing the right native plants, you’ll likely need fewer pesticides and less water.
Here in New York and Connecticut, we’re lucky — we’re blessed with loads of lovely native plantings that can beautify your landscape and save on your water bill.
Wild columbine, with its unique red and yellow flowers, attracts hummingbirds. Plant a chokeberry bush for bright red fruit and pinkish-orange fall color. Red osier dogwood offers white flowers in the spring and red twigs and berries in the fall.
Visit plantnative.org for a great list of choices.
Consider Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation delivers water right to the root zones at the base of the plant, where the water is quickly absorbed. It uses less water and there’s no waste from overspray.
Drip irrigation can be customized for small residential gardens, greenhouses or large-scale properties such as parks and golf courses.
The biggest “pro” to drip irrigation systems: They allow consistent, precise water delivery to exactly where you need it, whether that’s a tree, a flowerbed, shrubs or even a container garden.
Add More Shade Trees
Consider planting more shade trees to cast more shade over lawn areas to save water.
Can’t wait that long?
Some trees grow faster than others. Here are our five favorite fast-growing shade trees:
Northern Red Oak grows about two feet a year. It’s also known for brilliant red fall color.
Hybrid Poplar can grow up to 8 feet a year.
Autumn Blaze Maple is the fastest-growing maple, with 3 to 5 feet of growth a year. This fast grower won back-to-back “Urban Tree of the Year” awards in 2003 and 2004.
River Birch grows from 13 to 24 inches a year.
Tulip Tree grows more than two feet a year and will reach up to 90 feet tall. Hummingbirds love the nectar in its flowers.
And, good news: fall is ideal for tree planting.
Choose A Low-Maintenance Lawn Alternative
We love our lawns. But they need a lot of water.
There are more alternatives than you might think.
Lilyturf, an evergreen ground cover, doesn’t need as much water as traditional turf. Moss needs very little water once it’s established.
Artificial turf looks like grass but just needs hosing off once in a while.
A number of manufacturers have developed versions that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. Artificial turf is now available in a number of different textures, thickness, colors and densities to create a natural look.
Trade Grass for Hardscape
Some areas of a yard can make growing grass a losing battle. So stop fighting.
If grass never grows well in your side yard, replace it with a nice patio. The great thing about gravel, pavers, brick and flagstone? That’s right — they don’t need water.
Start Collecting Rainwater
If you have gutters and downspouts on your house or garage, you already have a fantastic system for harvesting rainwater for watering your garden. All you need is a rain barrel to collect it.
If you have 1,900 square feet of roof surface, it will shed between 12,000 and 24,000 gallons of rain water a year, depending on how much precipitation your area receives.
Buy a rain barrel from a home and garden center, or check online for instructions on how to make your own.
Let Neave Help You Lower That Water Bill
Your Neave Irrigation specialist can figure out the best plan to lower your water bill. We don’t just train our staff to know sprinklers — we make sure they’re familiar with various plant life and its needs so that they can offer the best advice.
More great news? Neave Landscaping and Neave Lawn Care can help you with a lot of these other cost-saving measures, too, from shade trees to native plants to lawn alternatives.
Considering hardscape to lower your water bill? The experts at Neave Masonry are happy to help.
We’d love to hear from you.
If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.