The water crisis facing California is serious and carries imminent environmental, financial and human impacts, but below-normal rainfall is not uncommon in several areas of the country. Before giving up on your lawn–or worse, ripping it out–consider carrying out the following steps, says the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
Evaluate what you have.
Look at the landscape you have now. Some elements in your landscape may already be drought-friendly, but you may need to change others. Calculate how much water you are using now and how frequently you are watering.
Think about how you intend to use your lawn or landscape moving forward.
Do you enjoy backyard barbecues with friends and family? Is your yard a restful oasis from stress? A place for children and pets to romp and run? Consider how you want to use your yard or landscape going forward to ensure that your re-designed landscape meets your needs.
Educate yourself about how lawns and turf grass respond during a droug
ht. Most people over-water their lawns and assume that if grass is not green, it may be dying. Grass actually goes into a dormant state during a drought. It may look brown, but it’s not dead. If the crowns and root system are intact and have adequate moisture, grass can sustain itself.
Consider the environmental and human impacts.
Lawns and landscapes offer benefits that mitigate drought impacts. Grass cools the air around a home or building, reduces pollution, limits heat islands, suppresses dust, controls soil erosion and sequesters carbon.
Grass also assists in decomposing pollutants, dissipates heat, lowers allergy-related problems, reduces home cooling costs and acts as a fire barrier. Importantly, grass serves as a natural filter to potable water supplies, reducing stormwater runoff and capturing and filtering precipitation.
Seek the advice of lawn and landscape professionals.
With a variety of different rules and restrictions at the state and local level, it is important to make sure you are making changes that are in line with the regulations. A Landscape Industry Certified professional implements best practices, applies up-to-date information, and has a thorough understanding of land stewardship. Many landscape companies have water management specialists, as well as professionals educated in sustainable landscape practices.
Install drought-friendly landscaping and change your watering practices.
There are many drought-friendly landscaping options available, such as drought tolerant low-water native plants. Planting with hydro zones and installing drip irrigation can minimize water usage. There are many ways to make a landscape drought-friendly, enjoyable and useful.
Published with permission from RISMedia.