EPA Water-Smart Audits
You don’t have to use a lot of water or spend a lot of money to have a beautiful yard. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program can help you determine how to best keep your yard healthy while using less water.
Tips for Water-Smart Landscaping
Go Native or Choose Plants That Require Less Water
Once established, native and low water-using plants need little water beyond normal rainfall.
Therefore, make sure to consider the water needs of the plants you choose when designing a new landscape or just sprucing up your current landscape.
Group Plants According to their Water Needs
You can reduce water use by grouping vegetation with similar watering needs int specific “hydrozones”. This allows you to water each zone;s specific needs.
Always separate turf areas and shrub ares into different hydrozones because of their differing water needs.
Maintain Healthy Soils
For a water-smart landscape, healthy soils are necessary.
Healthy soils effectively perform the following:
- cycle nutrients
- minimize runoff
- retain water
- absorb excess nutrients, sediments and pollutants
Be Selective When Adding Turf Areas
In traditional landscaping, turfgrass receives the highest percentage of irrigation water.
Plant turfgrass only where it has a practical function to improve the aesthetics of your landscape and better manage outdoor water use.
Make sure you know your plants water needs. Avoid watering them during the heat of the day.
Also, if you have an irrigation system, ensure proper watering by making regular adjustments.
Incorporating mulch around shrubs and garden plants can help with the following:
- reduce evaporation
- inhibit weed growth
- moderate soil temperature
- prevent erosion
In addition, adding organic matter and aerating soil can improve its ability to hold water.
Provide Regular Maintenance
Make sure to replace mulch around shrubs and garden plants at least once a year.
Also, remove weeds and thatch as necessary.
Benefits of Water-Smart Landscaping
Water-smart landscaping offers a variety of benefits, including the following:
- Lower water bills from reduction of water use
- Conservation of natural resources and preservation of habitat for plants and wildlife, such as fish, birds and waterfowl
- Decrease in energy use (and air pollution associated with its generation) due to less pumping and treatment of water is necessary
- Reduction in home or office heating and cooling costs through the careful placement of shade trees and shrubs
- Reduction in runoff of stormwater and irrigation water that carries top soils, fertilizers and pesticides into lakes, rivers and streams
- Fewer yard trimmings to manage
- Reduction in landscaping labor and maintenance costs
- Extended life for water resource infrastructure (e.g. reservoirs, treatment plants, groundwater aquifers), thus reduction in taxpayer costs.
These are just the basics of the EPA water-smart audits for 2018. Contact us with the link below to start your water-smart landscaping with Agscapes Landscaping today!