No matter where you live, outdoor water conservation is crucial. While it’s common to think, “Why conserve water,” when you aren’t in an area impacted by water shortages, your actions do make a difference.
Even though the Hudson Valley isn’t prone to drought, summer still puts a strain on water resources. By making smarter water-related choices, you can do your part to combat climate change, support local wildlife, and help pollinators thrive. Plus, you can lower your summer water bill, allowing you to save money during the hotter part of the year.
While it may seem like saving water in the garden or yard would be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of approaches that can help you make a real difference. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are 12 of the best ways to conserve water outdoors this summer.
12 Ways to Conserve Water Outdoors This Summer
1. Choose the Right Plants
If you want to have a water-saving garden design, choose the right plants. Often, starting with native plants is your best bet. Those species are designed to flourish based on common rain levels in the area, so they may require less watering. If you want to make lawn water conversation a priority, choose local plants that also do well if there is a dry spell.
If you want to incorporate plants that aren’t necessarily native, opt for ones that can thrive even if it’s a bit drier. With those, you can have a lush landscape with less watering.
However, when you pick the plants, don’t just look for drought tolerance. You also need to make sure the plants will do well in the overall climate.
For example, if you want to add succulents, options like Agave and Jovibarba could be good choices. They can tolerate colder weather, increasing the odds that they’ll survive a Hudson Valley winter. Lamb’s ear can also be a good choice, as it prefers drier weather and can be used as ground cover.
2. Start Collecting Rain Water
When you’re trying to figure out how to conserve water, making the most of what’s naturally available is an excellent idea. By collecting rainfall in a rain barrel, you give yourself a way to water your lawn without using the local water utility.
Rain barrels are widely available and also reasonably simple to make. Once you have the right container, you can redirect a downspout to the barrel, allowing you to fill it when it rains. Then, when it’s time to water your garden, you use a spigot at the bottom to get what you need.
3. Try Drip Irrigation Hoses
If you’re looking for ways to conserve water, switching to drip irrigation hoses can make a difference. By watering this way, the water stays closer to the ground, allowing more to absorb into the soil. Plus, the hoses release water through tiny holes across the full length, letting you get better coverage.
4. Add Mulch to Planting Beds
One of the best ways to conserve water outdoors is also one of the simplest. By having a two or three-inch layer of mulch in your planting beds, you help keep moisture in the soil. Mulch limits evaporation by creating a protective barrier and also supports strong root growth. Once in place, it takes less watering to keep your planting beds healthy.
When you pick a mulch, look for an organic one. Not only will it protect the soil, but it can also enrich it, making it one of the best options available.
5. Water at the Right Time of Day
Another easy outdoor water conservation tip that anyone can do is to make sure they are watering their garden at the right time. During the summer, the early morning is typically the best time to water.
The temperature isn’t at its hottest, so the water has a chance to absorb. That allows the plants to be ready for the heat of the day, keeping them healthier.
Plus, since the sun is up in the early morning, excess water on leaves will evaporate in a reasonable amount of time. This helps reduce the risk of fungal growth, keeping your plants disease-free.
6. Keep Your Grass Longer
If you want to create a water-saving landscape, cutting your grass incredibly short isn’t a great move during the summer. Instead, you want to keep it closer to its maximum recommended height based on the species.
If you keep your grass longer, the blades create shade close to the ground. This can reduce water evaporation, allowing to have a beautiful lawn while conserving water.
Plus, shorter grass makes it easier for weeds to thrive. By leaving it a bit longer, you may be able to keep your lawn free of weeds with less work and fewer chemicals, which is a nice bonus.
7. Reposition Your Sprinklers
If you’re asking yourself, “How can you conserve water outside the home?” check the spray coming from your sprinklers. If any water is hitting pavement, you’re sending water to a place where it doesn’t need to go.
Take a moment to reposition your sprinklers to create solid coverage without soaking anything that doesn’t need watering. This may help you water your yard faster, allowing you to shut off the sprinklers more often.
8. Don’t Go for Golf Course Green
While a golf course green lawn can be attractive, it is tough to achieve and maintain, especially if you don’t have the correct type of grass. Plus, many golf courses aren’t naturally that vibrant. Instead, they use turf colorants to brighten up the fairways and greens.
If you genuinely want to know how to save water on your lawn, this is a big one. Let go of the idea of a golf course green yard and simply aim for healthy. It makes a big difference.
9. Try a Ground Cover Plant Instead of Grass
When it comes to water-saving landscape ideas, limiting the amount of turfgrass you have is one of the best. Grass can require a surprising amount of care, especially in comparison to other ground cover options.
There are plenty of ground cover plants that can potentially thrive in the Hudson Valley area. Depending on the amount of sun that hits your yard, options like common wild ginger, creeping phlox, or wild stonecrop may work.
As you explore ground cover plants, make sure you don’t choose anything that’s considered invasive in your area. You may also want to explore how aggressive the plant is, as that gives you an idea of how quickly it may spread or how hard it may be to keep in a limited space.
10. Add More Hardscape
If you’re looking for water-saving landscape ideas, hardscape could be your answer. Hardscape is any element that isn’t living, such as pavers, stone, wood, or brick. Adding more of these elements to your garden or patio design will leave fewer plants to water. Plus, they can give your home extra curb appeal, particularly if you treat them with the same care given to other architectural features.
11. Add a Solar Cover to Your Pool
A backyard pool can lose around one inch of water every week, mainly through evaporation. If you want to reduce the water loss, reducing your need to top off the water, a solar cover can be a simple solution.
With a solar cover, evaporation rates can be cut in half. That means you’ll need to add far less water to keep the pool in usable shape.
12. Install a Rain-Shutoff on Your Irrigation System
Another one of the simpler water-saving ideas for the garden, rain-shutoffs are small devices that you can add to the controller for your irrigation system. When a certain amount of rainfall comes through the area, the device shuts your irrigation system off for a period.
With a shutoff, you save water whenever nature gives your lawn what it needs. Plus, it prevents overwatering, something that can be harmful to your plants.