The winter is the only time of year when some property owners actually look forward to receiving their water bills. Thanks to the season’s heavy rains, there is no need to water outdoor plants, bringing monthly totals down substantially from the dry summer highs.
But what if I told you there was a way to see this winter water savings all year round? All it takes is a little planning and a lot of planting. As we head into spring, now is the time to start thinking about how you want your garden—and your wallet—to grow this year.
Lose the Lawn and Gain Control of Your Water Use
Across California, homeowners are ditching water-guzzling turf and turning to beautiful and economical drought-resistant alternatives. After all, about half the water we use in our homes is spent on outdoor landscaping, according to the California Department of Water Resources. So, being mindful about what and when you plant can really pay off.
In general, plants that grow naturally in the same area as your property are going to create the most savings. “Because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water,” according to the Audubon Society.
Native plants save water over time, but they do need a good dousing regularly after planting as their root systems are getting established. Starting before the rainy season is over in early spring (or just as it begins in the fall) is key for success.
Three months after planting, the plants will need a soaking just once every two or three weeks, advises the California Native Plant Society. After the first year, the plants should only need to be watered once a month, if at all.
Smart Saver Tip of the Month
Did you know that easy-to-fix leaks account for 1 trillion gallons of water wasted each year in the U.S.? Do your part to save water, money and the environment by participating in Fix a Leak Week, March 19 through March 25.
The EPA sponsors the exciting annual community event, which includes everything from family fun runs to leak detection contests. Most are free and all are designed to train Americans from coast to coast on how to spot and fix household leaks. An event map is available online.