Friday, June 6, 2008

Outside Water Conservation

With more emphasis being put on becoming more environmentally friendly these days, water conservation is a subject on everyone’s mind. It doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact there are many simple things you can do around your home to help with saving water, especially outside in the summer. We’ve put together a list of the top 15 things that you can do outside to save water this year.

1. Get a rain barrel. Saving rain water reduces the amount of water you would otherwise get from your hose. This is especially beneficial during those dry drought periods you may get during the summer.

2. Water your garden either first thing in the morning, or during the evening. Watering your garden or lawn during the hottest part of the day will only result in most of the water evaporating, and won’t do your lawn and garden any good.

3. Get your car washed at a car wash that uses recycled water, or use a product like the California Car Duster. The Car Duster removes dust from your car, helping it maintain a clear appearance without the necessity of rinsing it with water!

4. Don’t spray your driveway, sidewalk, deck or porch with either your sprinkler or hose. If your driveway is dirty, or covered in leaves, sweep the mess up with a broom or blow it off with a leaf blower. If you are watering your lawn or garden, position your sprinkler so it doesn’t water your driveway, street or sidewalk.

5. Most neighbourhoods have watering schedules, where you can only use water outside on certain days during the summer. Find out what these days are, and observe them.

6. When mowing your lawn, set the blade to the highest possible height. Longer grass will grow deeper roots, and will help shade the soil enough to prevent water evaporation. Keep the blades on your mower sharp to prevent tearing of grass, which has a tendency to look unhealthy. Lastly, don’t use a bag on your lawn mower to collect grass clippings – let the clippings fall onto your lawn. These clippings will help fertilize your lawn and keep moisture in the soil.

7. Use a water-efficient sprinkler. Some sprinklers, such as the Rainforest brand of sprinklers, will save up to 30% less water when using them compared to a typical sprinkler, but splitting the water drops into a mist that helps to improve the quality of watering you give your lawn or garden.

8. Make your garden larger. Grass needs more water than most other plants. Why not try adding a paved area to your yard, or a mulch bed around your trees to help reduce grassed areas?

9. Check for leaks on a regular basis – this includes around all faucets, connectors, hoses, sprinkling systems, and around your swimming pool.

10. Plan your garden properly – group plants that have similar watering needs together. Also, try to do your planting in either the spring or the fall, when these plants are going to need the least amount of water.

11. Weed your garden regularly. By weeding regularly, you will remove other plants that are competing with your own plants for water, which will in turn mean that you need to water your garden less.

12. Choose any water features that you install in your garden carefully. While everyone loves the sound of trickling water, if the water is running too fast, there is the chance that you will lose a lot of it while it bounces out of the water feature or evaporates.

13. Don’t over-water your lawn. Usually lawns only need to be watered once every 3-5 days. When you are using a sprinkler, don’t forget that it’s on. Use a timer to remind you to shut if off, if you need to.

14. Use mulch in your garden instead of soil. Much helps with the absorption of water, and prevents it from evaporating as quickly as may otherwise happen.

15. When watering plants, make sure you are watering the base of the plant, where the water can quickly get to your roots. By watering the leaves of the plant, your plant is less likely to get the water that it needs, and it will more easily evaporate.

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