You may have heard that droughts are being declared in Utah. You may have even heard it from me, given my several recent articles about water conservation options. Yup, it’s another article about water conservation. This time, I want to talk about landscaping features that reduce your water consumption by eliminating the need for watering. Recently, CV Lawn King, a landscaping company that does work in Cache Valley, Bear Lake, and Box Elder County, did some work for Cherry Peak that touched on the subject. We asked them what sorts of options were available.
1. Rock Walls and Steps
The great thing about rocks is that they don’t need water. In fact, too much water is actually bad for rocks because it can cause erosion, weathering, and attract moss. Rock walls make a great visual feature for your landscape by creating something unique to attract the eye. Additionally, building a rock wall and using gravel around the base creates an area where no water is needed to keep it in good shape. Rock steps can also be used along inclines to reduce required watering.
2. Rock Gardens
The great thing about rocks is that they don’t need . . . oh, wait, I just said that. You know how else you can use rocks? For gardens. You’ve probably heard of the traditional Japanese rock garden. This option can create a visually appealing feature in your landscape that does not need to be watered at all. Japanese rock gardens aren’t the only style, however. Rock gardens can also be built into slopes to create a natural rocky mountainside look. Burying small boulders halfway in the soil makes them look natural and also holds the soil in place. Fill in the gaps with medium-sized and small rocks, while leaving small spaces for native, drought resistant plants to create a natural looking terrain. It stands out from the rest of the yard, looks good, and costs nothing in watering.
3. Grass Replacements
Another thing that CV Lawn King combined with rock steps to create a good looking feature is bark and mulch in place of grass. Combined with the rock steps, it creates an appealing feature that directs traffic and needs no water. Bark and mulch also work great as a grass replacement for landscapes that use decorative plants. They hold water just as good as soil, have nutrients plants need, and, unlike grass, don’t suck up all that water for themselves.
Another alternative to grass is a gravel yard. Similar to a rock garden, a gravel yard can mix and match the wide variety of colors gravel comes in to create unique designs and pathways. No water is needed at all to maintain it!
4. Expanded Patio and Outbuildings
How big is your patio? Well, as the King of All The Cosmos once said, “It must be bigger!” Increasing the size of your patio reduces the amount of lawn you need to water. As a bonus, it also gives you a bigger space to entertain guests. What’s not to love? You can also reduce the amount of lawn space by adding outbuildings, like sheds. A well-made shed designed to match the style of your house and yard can be made into an aesthetically appealing feature of your landscape that serves the dual purpose of giving you extra storage for your possessions.
The Importance of Water Conservation in Landscaping
Our water problems aren’t going away any time soon. Utah has always been a desert. As the population grows, the already limited water supply is going to become more limited. The climate shows no signs of stopping its trend towards hotter and drier summers for us, either. While we can’t predict what future years will be for our weather, we can take steps to improve our water use. Water conservation can be achieved, whether by radically altering our lawns, or just making small adjustments to reduce the amount of water-hogging grass our lawns use with low-water landscaping features. There’s no need to make a whole bunch of radical changes all at once, either. You can save money by making small alterations to areas of your landscape over time. This lets you improve your water use without breaking the bank, saving you money all around.
And with the direction things are taking, these are options we need to consider if we’re going to be responsible with our limited water supply in this state.