|Have your soil tested and amend it as needed.|
Eco-friendly living and a lush, green lawn are often thought of as mutually exclusive ideas, and it's no wonder when more than 3 million tons of synthetic fertilizers and 70 million lbs. of other chemicals are dumped on U.S. lawns each year. And according to the EPA nearly 9 billion gallons of water are used for landscape irrigation in the U.S. each and every day. Our lawns may be green, but the way we maintain them certainly isn't. Fortunately the desire to live an eco-friendly life and the desire for a front lawn all your neighbors will envy are both attainable goals.
Start at Ground Zero
Have your soil tested and amend it as needed. Feed it natural fertilizers such as compost and processed manure. Soil that's properly balanced and fertilized has the necessary nutrients to support a healthy lawn and won't require constant care with synthetic amendments. Focusing on the condition of the soil, instead of the condition of the grass provides better results with less work.
Too many homeowners fight an uphill battle with their lawns because they insist on growing the popular type of grass instead of the right kind of grass. Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most beloved types of lawn grasses because of its rich color and thick growth. But it's also one of the hungriest and thirstiest plants you could select. Selecting a mix of varieties that include fescue and ryegrass will look more natural and the diversity will make the lawn healthier overall. Certain fescues are especially drought tolerant, with long roots that find water deep into the soil. Red fescues are a good option for shady spots. They can thrive in poor conditions without adding loads of chemical fertilizers.
|Water deep - a penetrating soak is more efficient and means less watering overall.|
The flowers and shrubs planted around the perimeter of the grass also have a profound effect on water usage. Stick with native plants, those that grow naturally in the region without special care. Native plants can thrive without special fertilizers or extra watering.
Water Less and Water Right
As mentioned above, choosing the best plants for your site is the key to a low-maintenance lawn. In addition, using a timed, automatic control to regulate sprinklers will ensure your grass receives the correct amount of moisture at the optimal time of day without waste. The EPA suggests looking for WaterSense brand irrigation controls for the most efficient watering system.
When it is time to water the lawn, water deep. Depending on your environment, the season and the type of grass, approximately 1 inch of water per week is considered a deep soak. Giving the grass a light sprinkle actually encourages weed growth, which then requires more chemicals to kill them. A penetrating soak is more efficient and means less watering overall.