Xeriscaping Can Keep Utah Yards Beautiful While Saving Water, Time, Money
Jul 27, 2018, 7:22 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Whether your community is under a mandatory watering restriction, or you simply want to cut down water consumption to conserve, most of us can make significant reductions in outdoor watering and still keep a beautiful yard.
A water conservationist shared three things we can do to save more water.
“When people conserve water and see how easy it is, it really starts them on a path,” said Nick Schou, Utah Rivers Council Conservation Director.
If your lawn looks lush and green this stage of the summer, chances are you’re over watering, he said. Most of us can use a lot less water and keep our lawns looking beautiful in the heat.
“When it turns brown it doesn’t mean it’s dead; it’s just going dormant,” said Schou. “This is a natural cycle for turf grass to go dormant during the hot parts of the year.”
Schou has plants in his front lawn, which he does not water. It’s attractive, well-kept, and requires very little water.
“Xeriscaping doesn’t mean just using rocks and things that don’t require water,” he said. “Xeriscaping is all about using drought-friendly plants.”
As conservation director for the Utah Rivers Council, he’s always looking for ways to conserve and stop over watering.
“A lawn with the right amount of water would certainly have brown spots this time of year. There’s no shame in that,” he said. “So, just giving the grass the amount of water it needs, about 30 inches or less a year, is a really good start.”
Most of us on the Wasatch Front use 75% of our water outside, and we over water anywhere from 50% to 200%, according to Utah numbers. The state puts a weekly lawn watering guide online. Right now, nobody should be watering more than three times a week in any part of the state.
“This is Buffalo grass. I don’t water this grass at all,” Schou said about a small patch of brown grass in his yard.
That leads to his second recommendation: Change thirsty Kentucky bluegrass for a drought tolerant variety available from local producers. Buffalo grass is only one of several options that require about half the water, said Schou.
“People have lawns on their parking strips, which don’t get used it all and use a ton of water,” he said. “Places like that: you can start to eliminate turf in areas where it’s not used.”
He also suggested choosing Utah-friendly plants to add color.
“This is Jupiter’s beard,” said Schou, pointing to a full, maroon-colored bush. “It will bloom several times a year.”
It grows easily without water, he said. So do Russian sage and globe mallow. Many neighborhood garden stores carry those Utah-friendly plants.
“These are Utah-friendly plants that you can plant it in your front yard, or elsewhere, and really not need to water at all once they’ve been established,” Schou said.
Hesaves time without having to mow his law, but he also saves two other precious resources.
“When residents use less water they save money,” he said.
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