When it comes to household goals, saving water and maintaining a luscious lawn can feel eternally at odds. Depending on the species of grass in your yard, you might rack up a serious water bill trying to keep the space green and bright. Moreover, many homeowners feel guilty using up valuable water just to keep their lawn looking good.
Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to help you strike a balance between a great-looking lawn and a steep water bill. Whether you want to maintain the traditional grass lawn aesthetic or want to break into something more unique, Plastic Free Sea has some tips to help you achieve your environmental goals:
Start With a Plan
Before you dive into any kind of lawn re-creation project, you should come up with a solid and specific plan. This means taking a look through all of your options, considering the size of your lawn, learning about your region’s native plants and weather patterns, and looking into local zoning laws and HOA rules, if applicable. It’s important to do this basic research first since some types of lawns may not be feasible for your property, environment, or neighborhood rules.
You should also use this planning period to figure out the budget for your project. If you don’t have a lot of money to spare, you can look into loans and funding programs. For example, if you’ve already been considering refinancing your mortgage, you can look into the FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage program. This type of loan allows you to add the cost of qualifying projects into your loan, so you can get the funds now and pay it back over your repayment period.
If you like the look of a traditional lawn, there are plenty of options available that use less water. For example, you can look into drought-friendly grass species, such as Fine Fescue. This variety thrives well when watered lightly once a week or so. Since it doesn't respond well to frequent waterings, it’s a great fit for saving water in drier climates.
Although you may be tempted to install an artificial lawn for an eco-friendly option, know that astroturf comes with serious ecological drawbacks. Yes, they eliminate the ecological costs of watering and mowing. However, the plastic used for artificial lawns is ecologically damaging, and the installation process can cause long-term damage to the soil underneath.
If you’re interested in breaking away from grass entirely, there are several options available. For example, you can use rock gardening to reduce or eliminate grass entirely, supplementing the space with decorative plants and highly designed rock patterns. This can be a great option for someone who wants to create a deliberate, landscaped show piece.
If you’re looking for something that’s functionally similar to a lawn, there are several forms of ground cover that don’t need nearly as much water as grass. Clover and wild violets are just two examples of ground cover that can thrive without a ton of watering. Moreover, these are often no-mow options, plus they can help bees and other pollinators thrive.
Finally, consider turning your lawn into a vegetable or herb garden. This is a great way to cut down on grass and make your space more functional. There can be drawbacks to this. For example, it may not cut down on your water usage; however, it can make that water usage more functional - if the water is going toward feeding you and your family, you can hardly consider it wasted.
Creating an eco-friendly lawn isn’t necessarily a simple process, but it’s one many households find well worth it. Not only will you wind up with a smaller water bill, but you can be proud knowing you’ve done your part to reduce water usage and help protect the environment along the way.
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