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Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.

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Loving Your Little Landscape

Water Conservation Is The Hottest Trend In Landscape Design

by Charlotte White

According to a survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the feature most customers are asking for is  water storage or water conservation elements in their landscapes. Native and drought tolerant plants came in second and third.

What Does the Survey Reveal?

The survey reveals a growing awareness across the U.S. of critical water issues. Even in areas not suffering from water shortages, customers are looking to the future and thinking of ways to lessen their water usage. This makes sense, seeing that California is entering its fifth year of drought. Undoubtedly, the pictures of dying crops and stories of severe water restrictions and fines have homeowners thinking and planning to be prepared for the worst.

How Are People Conserving Water?

Many homeowners are removing their lawns altogether. They are replacing thirsty turf grass with native grasses or drought-tolerant ground covers. If they do have lawn areas, they are smaller and designed to be practical, such as a play area for the children or a gathering place for guests. Water-guzzling turf grasses, such as St. Augustine grass, are being replaced with drought tolerant grasses, such as Bahia grass.  More minimal landscaping is watered with super-efficient systems such as drip irrigation. For planting areas, homeowners are improving their soils to add more water-retentive organic matter and mulching heavily to prevent evaporation. Rain barrels and cisterns are installed to reduce water usage by using collected precipitation. Greywater from washing machines and bathtubs is also being recycled into the garden.

How Can Proper Landscape Maintenance Help?

Healthy plants not only look better, but they also need less water, so proper pruning, weeding and fertilizing is essential. Be sure turf is cut to the proper height and the entire landscape is watered deeply and less frequently so turf and plants develop deep roots.

What Other Design Elements Can Help Conserve Water?

A professional landscape designer will always take the topography of the site into consideration when choosing plant placement, because grouping plants with the same water needs together is important. Eliminating water runoff is also necessary to conserve water, and some leveling or changing the slope of an area may be required.

The nature of landscaping is changing drastically. Water conservation is the most asked for element in landscape design today. Whether you want to make your existing landscape more sustainable or you are starting from scratch with a new yard, an experienced landscape designer can give you everything you need to make your yard water-wise, saving you money and time.

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