Mansfield Living

SmartScape landscaping can reduce water, bills

Summer is approaching, and with the heat comes expensive water bills. But those water bills can be reduced. More than half of a typical household’s outdoor water use goes to watering the lawn and garden, and converting to a water-efficient landscape through the proper choice of plants and careful design can reduce this water use by 20 percent to 50 percent. Once native and adapted plants are established, they require a lot less water than other plants do.

To help reduce the amount of water -- and money -- used on your landscape, consider converting to a Texas SmartScape yard or garden. For more information about upcoming classes visit City of Mansfield’s TX SmartScape website, www.mansfieldtexas.gov/texas-smartscape-classes.

Texas SmartScape is an award-winning gardening program that educates homeowners about the ecological and economic benefits of using landscaping plants, trees, shrubs and grasses native to this region and the local climate. Homeowners can have a thriving lawn or garden in the middle of summer that requires less water and less money, while still looking beautiful. By using native plants, water is conserved and the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides applied can be reduced. This saves the homeowner money and helps keep chemicals out of streams, rivers and lakes.

Whether you are in the market for a major landscape overhaul or are looking for a few quick fixes to save water this summer, the Texas SmartScape program’s website, www.txsmartscape.com, can provide you with the tools for success. The plant database available at www.txsmartscape.com/plant_search/index.asp allows you to find SmartScape approved plants that are the right fit for your yard, while the landscape design tool walks seasoned and first-timer gardeners through the landscaping process. The website also offers plenty of tips on caring for a SmartScape yard.

Simple ways to save water:

Use native and adapted plants. These plants can handle both the Texas summer heat and winter’s cold.

Water efficiently and effectively. Up to 50 percent of irrigation goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, improper system design or overwatering.

Water early or late in the day. To avoid water loss from evaporation, water your yard between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. Early morning is best.

Water less frequently. Most lawns only need watering once every five to seven days in the growing season and every 15 to 20 days in the winter—even less frequently if it rains.

Install drip irrigation in flower beds and at the roots of shrubs. Almost 95 percent of drip irrigation water can reach a plant, while traditional automatic sprinklers are much less efficient.

Reduce turf grass. Lawns typically require a large amount of supplemental water and more intensive maintenance than other vegetation.

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