Yes, You CAN Have a Water-Wise Lawn

From on June 04, 2007 in Landscaping

lawn careWhile many conservation-minded Bay Areans have torn out their lawns and opted for alternatives from gravel to ground cover, that’s not an option that appeals to everybody. For many of us, there’s no substitute for that lush expanse of green—an ideal play surface for the kids, an inviting place for social gatherings, and of course an aesthetic enhancement for your home. And there’s nothing like the feeling of cool grass between your toes on a hot summer day.

In these drought-conscious times, lawns are often portrayed as water-guzzling enemies of the planet. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning and common sense, you can enjoy the lawn of your dreams without being an eco-villain, whether you’re starting from scratch or working with a lawn that’s already in place.

sprinklerIf you’re putting in a new lawn, your smartest move will be to select a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant variety of grass. John Garcia of Landscape by Design swears by several varieties offered by Delta Bluegrass of Stockton, which are ideal for the Bay Area. They hold up to daily wear and tear (one Delta variety is in use on the ball field at Pac Bell Park) while retaining a great appearance, and they require little water.

Your other smartest move, in a new or existing lawn, is to install an automated sprinkler system that puts the water only where it’s needed. In many cases, it’s not so much the lawn itself that wastes water, it’s poorly aimed sprinklers sending water onto the driveway and sidewalk, into the street, down the gutters and ultimately into the Bay.

For best results, experts recommend watering thoroughly, but not frequently (even in the summer, three times a week is usually plenty) in the early morning; the water has a better chance to soak in and benefit the lawn throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to aerate the lawn frequently (walk around in those old golf shoes!) to loosen compacted soil and allow the water to reach the roots.

Another tip from nursery experts: feed your lawn with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. This will slow its growth, which translates to less water consumption and less maintenance.

Chosen and maintained correctly, a lawn doesn’t just beautify your property, it adds oxygen to the air, filters out toxins, keeps erosion and dust at bay, and helps cool the air. When you just have to have that turf, but want to be environmentally sensitive about it, our experts are ready to help with choosing and maintaining just the right variety for your needs.

[tags]lawn, grass, low maintenance lawn, lawn care[/tags]