Experts estimate that Americans use nearly 408 billion gallons of water per day. On average, 50 to 70 percent of home water is used outdoors for watering lawns and gardens.
The Irrigation Assn. has named July Smart Irrigation Month to raise awareness of the importance of water conservation in the lawn and garden. Here are the top 10 things you can do to conserve water in your own backyard:
- Put a 3- to 5-inch layer of mulch around your plants. Mulching helps retain moisture and prevents evaporation.
- Install a drip irrigation system around your shrubs, hanging baskets, flower and vegetable gardens. Drip irrigation systems use 50 percent less water than conventional sprinklers.
- Install a home irrigation system with a rain sensor. Rain sensors interrupt the watering program if it rains, saving even more water.
- If you already have a home irrigation system, make sure you're getting the most out of your timer. Automatic, programmable timers save more water than mechanical models.
- Don't fertilize during hot, dry weather, and use slow-release fertilizer.
- Raise the blade on your lawn mower. Closely cropped grass requires more water.
- Recycle your grass clippings back into your lawn by using a mulching mower.
- Cut back on routine pruning, which stimulates new growth.
- If you use a hose and portable sprinkler, buy a hose-end timer to regulate your watering time.
- Sweep sidewalks and driveway rather than hosing them down.