How to improve your lawn's water design
Saving water is a key concern these days but, even in dry regions, it shouldn't mean you can have a nice garden. There are ways to improve your lawn design to efficiently fulfill your needs with the least usage of running water. It's just a matter of getting the most out of the water you use and understanding how it behaves (and how can you exploit that behavior). Are you wondering how can you achieve that? By following these tips, of course!
Old engineering practices were about paving, draining and piping the rainwater, but with highly populated areas and climate change this paradigm is of no use today. Luckily, there are now organizations like the Water Institute of the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center that promotes a more sensible approach on stormwater manage: Slow it, spread it, sink it!
Identify the water runoff of your house and yard, like roofs, shingles, concrete, paths, rocks, ramps or hills and find ways to collect it.
You can collect rainwater from steep-roof’s gutters into a barrel or an underground cistern for later use. This will both contribute to reduce your municipal water usage and help avoid damaging leaks to foundations.
A living roof is a great way to collect and filter rainwater if you have a low-slope or flat roof with the extra benefit of capture even small amounts of water and release it back into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration.
A good lawn’s water design should help carry the water and avoid puddles that are dirty and unuseful. You can create drainage ditches along paths and driveways to spread the overflow to plants and grass, and you can use them to irrigate your collected water, too.
A cheap solution for a sloped site is creating swales with rocks to carry stormwater. Swales can be the base for a rock garden or a planter on a patio.
Remember that irrigation by dripping is more efficient that sprinkling water in most cases, so ask your contractor which water spreading solution is best suited for your climate.
There areas where maybe you won’t need collection but drainage, like big areas of driveway or patios. For those, you should use permeable paving. The eco-friendly pavers range from the more open grass-planted concrete, to brick, board or stone-alike with gaps to favor the percolation.
Plants, rock and sand are better to absorb water that naked soil, so remember to include them in your landscape design with planters, steps and curvy swales, specially for steep-slope terrains where rainfall runs more quickly.
Contouring and grading are the key to a more efficient landscape design and that’s something everyone can achieve. A good combination of water saving, smart irrigation and the appropriate election of plants can provide you with a very nice garden even with harsh climates, so start planning the landscape of your dreams with our design recommendations.