The Top 10 Ways to Reduce Water Use in Your Lawn and Garden

The Top 10 Ways to Reduce Water Use in Your Lawn and Garden is sponsored by Pennington.

Welcome back to our DIY gardening series - part 2!   I am so glad you are here and excited (yes, I am actually excited about saving water!) to dive back into some basic water conservation talk.  Like I mentioned in my previous Pennington post, I am not a crazy nut brown hare.  If I want a good, long soaking shower, I take it.  ...buuuuuuuut I don't want to be completely wasteful and water a 2 acre lawn for hours and hours each week.   I don't want to be one of the Americans spending an average of 73 hours  maintaining my lawn (with MOST of that time spent on WATERING).   Did you know that lawns require approximately 1 inch of water per week to stay green in the summer, which equates to about 2,500 gallons of water per week to keep an average-sized lawn green.  That's crazy!   Depending on their region, homeowners use between 30%-70% of their water outdoors and lawns require approximately 1 inch of water per week to stay green in the summer, which equates to about 2,500 gallons of water per week to keep an average-sized lawn green.  CRAZY.  

So I take small measures to make things better.  It starts with eggs and pots.  Huh, what?

Simply, really.  When I boil potatoes or pasta, I use a ladle to remove them and let the water sit until it is cool.  Then it gives a nice shower to the roses.  
The eggs are really quite wonderful.  After boiling eggs, I again let the water cool and the tomatoes get that water chock full of calcium.

Did you notice that I didn't mention the lawn?  I didn't even mention the garden, because neither get supplemental water.  The only plants that get extra water are brand new baby plants and trees that need to get established, sm potted plants and my fussy favorites.  Fussy plants like roses and tomatoes that well worth the extra effort to save the egg water.

Here are a few more strategies I use to make sure I use the water we are given (Thanks God!) is used as wisely as possible with as little work as possible.

1.  Place pots under hanging baskets.

Hanging baskets leak a LOT, especially when you are actually giving them the water they need to thrive.  While you can't skip watering the baskets, you CAN make use of the dripping bottom of the baskets.  I simply place potted plants directly under the baskets and they get a nice little shower every time the hanging baskets are watered.

2.  Save Rainwater.

I wish (I WISH!) we could afford a bunch of the fancy, beautiful rain barrels to collect water, but until then, I do my own little saving around the garden.  There are a few containers and pots that I leave unplanted each year.  I allow them to fill with rain, serve as water buckets for the free ranging chickens and an extra couple cups of water for nearby pots when they need it.

3. Utilize Mulch in the Garden

I use quite a bit of mulch, but I wait until AFTER the spring rains to apply it.  I let the rains soak in deep into the ground, then add a thick layer of mulch to block out seedlings and keep that moisture down by the plants' roots.   Need a cheaper source of mulch?  THIS ARTICLE spells out where and how I get truckloads of mulch for my garden.

4.  Pick the Right SEED!

If you want to make one decision that will impact the amount of water you are using on your lawn though, it boils down to one simple decision.  Which grass will you plant?  Remember my suggestions HERE?

·        Pennington Smart Seed remains green for up to three weeks without water and requires up to 30 percent less water year after year versus ordinary seed.

·        By utilizing a high-quality seed that requires less water and contains no filler, lawns are more resilient and easier to maintain.

·        As a pure bred, drought-resistant seed, Pennington Smart Seed also helps establish fuller, healthier and greener lawns, while efficiently using natural resources.

·        Introducing beneficial micro-organisms that attach themselves to the emerging seed roots for denser, deeper roots. Each seed in Pennington Smart Seed is further enhanced with Pennington’s exclusive MYCO Advantage seed technology.

·        Pennington Smart Seed comes in both traditional variety blends/mixes, as well as specialized mixes that are customized to specific regional climates.

·        In keeping with Pennington’s commitment to rigorous quality control, consistency and customer satisfaction, every bag of Pennington Smart Seed is of the highest quality.

Now, I have a mature lawn seeded with a drought resistant grass and a green and lush, weeds welcome property, so I don't need to seed a huge space.  However, I do have big holes in the lawn.  Why you ask?  Well we have three little boys that choose random spots to make "digging holes" and we also had one unfortunate accident with a skunk and a trap that left a large bare spot in the lawn.  The solution?  A patch!

When I went shopping for a seed for the patches, I knew I wanted something easy, drought resistant and a grass mix that will blend in with our current yard.  Of course, I also wanted it to be EASY.  That is why I picked this mix (pictured above) that includes the Pennington Smartseed, but also has the mulch and fertilizer needed to get the grass off to a good start.  

What does that mean for me? 

It means place some compost on the hole, sprinkle the Pennington mix day before a rain and WALK AWAY.  Easy, peasy, done and DONE.  I don't do complicated when it comes to simple garden chores.  Another advantage?   I can hand sprinkle the seed without causing clumps thanks to the mulch.

Boys' "Digging Hole
Hole filled with compost and hand sprinkled seed and mulch mix from Pennington Smart Seed
Seed/mulch mix on top of compost to 1/8" depth, evenly spacing the seed

5. Plant Drought Tolerant Plants

You can save a ton of water by simply picking garden plants that are adapted to the amount of natural rainfall your region receives.  As I mentioned before, my plants only get annual rainfall once they are established and in their second year of growth.

6.   Water in the Morning

If you DO need to water, don't waste it watering in the heat of the afternoon when it will simply evaporate!

7.  Water Without Wind

Similarly to hot and dry sun, wind will sap the moisture right away from your plants, so water when it is NOT windy!

8.  Try Bulbs!

Bulbs live DEEP in the ground and many are spring bloomers, receiving the spring rains to restore them for the next year.  They will disappear under the ground all summer and survive a drought when other plants wither and die.  Bulbs and plants that grow from tubers are just tougher than a lot of other plants, so try cannas, iris and spring bulbs when you want tough plants that can survive without supplemental water.  (Note:  These plants will not thrive without SOME rainwater, so a desert climate is not suitable for them.)

9.  Put up with a few weeds.

I've mentioned it a few times, but I will say it again.  I am OK with weeds in the lawn.  They keep the bees coming (hello clover!), the flowers can be quite beautiful (hello violets!) and they stay green when the grass starts to brown.  The biodiversity of a few weeds in your lawn won't hurt anything.  Just don't look too closely, ok?

10.  Put up with a little brown.  

In the same vein, deal with a little brown patch once in awhile.  It likely will green up with the next rain.  If you DO need to water a spot or too, ONLY water that pot or two.  The whole lawn likely does not need a drenching.

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Artisan Crafted said…
What is this blue mulch I see!?
donnaing said…
Grass is starting to green up nicely.
Katherine Hahn said…
My grass is green. The grass is green here everywhere around where I live!
Lily Anne said…
My grass is green. We have a few Buttercups(?) growing which makes the yard pretty, and even a few Dandelions. I love to see all the yellow on our grass.
Lily Anne said…
Oh, BTW, I am listed as Pam B. on the other parts of my entries. Didn't want you to get confused.
id said…
I would love to win a $50.00 gift card! And I love your blog!
susjc said…
I just found your blog and it is very informative. Hope to find some more interesting things every time I visit.
susjc said…
Sorry, I didn't know there was a question to answer. Our grass is now growing very fast here in the NE and is beautiful green after being dormant for the winter!
Karla said…
The grass is quite green. So are the weeds :(
Amy Peca said…
Aim I dont see where the mulch article is? Am I missing something?,,,,,,
Amy Renea said…
THANKS AMY!! The link was broken -- should be fixed now in the post, but here is the link:

Thanks for catching that!! Are yuo having free time on Mother's day for blog browsing?? ;)