Thomas Ramey Watson

Replace your lawn with gardens

How much water you are wasting keeping a lawn depends on the region you live in and what type of grass you are growing.

Kentucky blue grass, the most common turf outside of the Southern United States, requires a lot of water. St. Augustine grass is prone to succumbing to pests and diseases, and Bermudagrass needs constant maintenance to keep it looking clean and can be invasive.

Instead of trying to keep a lawn alive during this drought, why not plant a garden? Either an ornamental garden that beautifies your neighborhood and provides habitat for wildlife, or a vegetable garden that you can feed yourself from—both are better alternatives.

Take advantage of the effects of our current drought to examine where you can remove turf on your property, and you’ll start to see a reduction in the amount of water you use.

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I highly recommend this. You can install a drip system in dry areas like Denver, put down weed control cloth, and use recycled wood chips available from many tree cutters for less than you’d spend on the commercial wood chips, and plant your yard with perennials and vegetables. It may take some getting used to. But you will help the planet and wildlife, not to mention yourself, in many ways. You get plenty of food in the deal and learn to tend the earth instead of just taking advantage of it.

My water bill is 1/3 to 1/2 of that of my neighbor’s because I did this when I first moved in and landscaped the area myself. I have all sorts of animals visit my yard–from red foxes to raccoons, and more varieties of birds than we typically see here in Denver. I have watched red foxes pluck grapes from my vines outside my study window, using their paws like hands. I like to think of foxgloves and imagine foxes putting the flowers on to protect their “hands.”

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