I can never believe my utilities bill when it arrives in June, chronicling all the extra water I used in May to bring my post-winter lawn back to life and feed my garden’s little seedlings. I know that water isn’t, overall, one of the most significant expenses in someone’s life, but all the same, an extra $50 in one month can pack a punch. And saving water can be especially important if you’re in a drought-prone state (like I am.) I don’t want to sacrifice the lush, green, liveliness of my yard and garden. So I often start finding creative ways to get the same amount of water to my plants without running the sprinklers or hose quite as often.
Here are some of my favorite ideas. I can’t guarantee exactly how much money you’ll save on them, but I promise, you can save a significant amount of water once they become a habit.
Install a Rain Barrel
This is one of the most significant ways that you can save water in your yard and garden. When you’re blessed with a nice spring rain, where does all that water go? Chances are that your yard is designed to channel quite a bit of it away, to run down the street into the storm drain. This is good– it’s preventing floods from happening in your basement. But if you could catch some of that rain, it’d be really welcome next week when your plants are feeling scorched from the ever-stronger summer sun. Putting a rain barrel under your rain gutter’s downspout is so simple. Just remember to cover it to prevent creating a happy habitat for mosquitoes.
Save Grey Water from the Kitchen
A lot of water flows down your kitchen sink each time you cook. For instance, the water that you use to rinse produce before eating it. There’s really nothing wrong with that water. It can easily be used again. In plumbing, there are three categories of used water. White water, grey water, and black water. Black water should never be reused, since it’s come in contact with fecal matter and possible disease-carrying elements. Grey water is used, but it’s often laced with possible household contaminants. This is usually the water you’ve used to wash your hands and dishes. You can make your grey water more plant-friendly by utilizing eco-friendly soaps. Usually, a little bit of soap won’t hurt your plants. White water, of course, has a green light for use throughout your yard. This is water used to rinse (without soap) as well as, say, the water left after you boil noodles or potatoes. Once it’s cooled down, it’s great to use on plants. I like to keep a large bowl around that will easily catch the runoff water when I use the sink.
Place Plants Thoughtfully
Xeriscaping is an important field for any gardener to learn about. It’s the practice of planning out your yard and garden to avoid water waste. There are many elements to this, but one of them is about placement. Think about the areas in your yard where water naturally puddles, and other areas that tend to get really dried out. Different plants naturally prefer different habitats. If you have a naturally thirsty plant, put it somewhere that the sun won’t evaporate so much water away. This isn’t just about who gets the shady spot under the tree. You need to factor in the elevation of your yard, as well. There are hundreds of varieties of low- water-use plants that bring color, beauty and function to the landscape. Check 37 of them out at Balcony & Garden.
Water Smarter, Not More
Amazingly, there are ways that you can water with the exact same amount of water, and allow your plants to get more out of it. First on that list is to pick the right time for watering. Don’t water in the middle of the day’s heat, when the sun will dry up a large percentage of it before any of your plants have the chance to drink it up. Water as early as possible in the AM. Secondly, know your specific plants’ needs. For example, most lawns are happiest when they’re given long increments of time between thorough soakings, rather than being kept regularly moist. This can also prime them to be more drought-hardy and establish a better root system. Water deeply for a longer period once a week versus a short water daily water. This develops better roots. For more tips on saving sprinkler water, read here.
Let Plants Join In on Water Games
Do you have kids? Well, during the summer, kids love to play in the water. And you don’t have to go to a water park. Most of us just set out the sprinklers and go crazy. Well, think twice about that water used for games. Focus on an area that needs some extra water if the kids are playing outside. If you’ve been using a wading pool, think about where you dump out the water afterwards. And if you have a pool or hot tub, or the kids need to rinse off before coming into the house, use the hose near a spot with thirsty flowers to get rid of any dirt and chlorine.
In conclusion . . .
I hope I’ve captured your imagination about ways to have “free” water for your plants!
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36 thoughts to “Tips to Save Water on Your Yard’s Irrigation”
We have 2 rain barrels in our yard, and it’s rare that we need to get the hose out for watering (unless we’re doing the lawn.) It’s such an easy way to grab that abundant spring water source and keep it ready for use – especially during planting season!
All of these tips are great!
thanks so much Jess!
I mulch like crazy. That helps a lot. And I don’t water the lawn, just the garden, which helps. And I water early in the day or the evening when it’s not so hot and burns off faster. Loved the tip about the kitchen water — I will remember that one!
Thanks for visiting!
The idea for saving my white water when rinsing my hands by keeping a bowl around is so simple,. Thx Also , using the water after boiling veggies. Thx
I’m glad you found something useful.
We have well water here in the country so don’t have a water bill. When we are in drought, I reuse my bath water to water the garden.
Good use of gray water. Thanks for visiting.
Some great water saving ideas there. Fortunately (or unfortunately!) we never have that problem in rainy old England.
Yes that’s why England develped the idea of beautiful green lawns. There are many environments in the US like where I live that green lawns are far from natural.
Some great tips here Carol. We are always looking for ideas to save water 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays 🙂 Hope you can join us again soon.
This is adorable & what a charming garden decoration. I will be featuring this in my 13 Charming Garden Decorations at Merry Monday on Sunday at 6 pm pst. Hope to see you at the party!
Oh thank you so much Jenny!
Love all of these ideas! Shared to Facebook. 🙂
Thanks for visiting Wonderful Wednesday blog hop.
Thanks for visiting and sharing!
Some great ideas here. I do try to reuse water when I can. I remember my mother running the rinse water from the washer into a large tub and reusing it to wash the next load. That was a lot of work and I’m glad that I don’t have to do that but it was a good idea. Thank you for sharing at Snickerdoodle Creat Bake Make Link Party.
Oh that does sound like a lot of work!
we don’t get rain here in Dubai, so a rain butt wouldn’t work. I do use grey water from the kitchen on the lawn. Hadn’t thought about using the veg water, however we do steam our veg in the microwave #goinggreen
It’s hard to imagine no rain at all. That is a different world.
GREAT WATER SAVING TIPS! WE HAVE A RAIN BARREL AND USE IT TO WATER MY WINDOWS BOXES AND OTHER POTTED PLANTS ALL SUMMER LONG. SHARED ON PINTEREST & TWITTER! VISITING FROM #GOINGGREEN LINKY PARTY. HAVE A HEALTHY, HAPPY & BLESSED DAY!
Thanks for the shares. Have a beautiful day yourself.
Your friend Christine has shared so many great tips in this post, Carol. Not only will saving water help to save money, but it’s also environmentally friendly too! I’m featuring this post at the Hearth and Soul Link Party this week. Hope to see you there. Thank you so much for your support of Hearth and Soul. Have a lovely week!
Thanks so much for the feature April. I’ll see you at the party.
I’d love a rain barrel in our garden but it’s not very big. However, we definitely use much less water now we don’t have any grass so I guess that’s a plus #GoingGreenLinky
No grass is a great way to have a lower maintenance yard.
Awesome tips! I am lucky as we are on well water and even when we get tied into city water for the house I am still going to keep the garden on well water. It was a pain in the beginning figuring out that watering overhead with a sprinkler would bring hard water spots or orange stains on concrete.
I guess like Gardening even watering is a learning process too. You yard looks great.
These are such good ideas! I call our water “liquid gold” because it’s so terribly expensive. We try to be conservative but there’s still more we should do. A rain barrel is on the list.
I found a rain barrel paid for itself in water savings. It’s really a smart thing to do.
More great tips! I often use water that I’ve used for something inside to water outside. Thanks for sharing with the Garden Party.
Thanks Jann. Happy Memorial Day!
Thank you for a brilliant post. I’m currently experimenting with different methods of gardening, to see where I get the best use of our water, in my vegetable garden. I’ve planted some plants directly into the ground, and some in self watering pots. I’m looking forward to see the results. So far the plants in the ground have needed more water, to stay healthy, but they are also bigger. I’m trying to think wise when it comes to using the water, since we also live in a state that been plagued with drought for several years. Especially when it comes to choosing fruit trees the difference in how much water they need is significant.
It would be interesting to see how the difference between production of produce is throughout the summer with the potted vs ground veggies. I think you get more from in ground but I have had tomato pots for years also. Thanks for visiting!
Here in France (and much of Europe) we have had an extremely hot dry summer with threatened water restrictions in some places – with summers predicted to get hotter and drier more frequent these tips are really well timed. We are currently building a small extension to our house and hope to add an underwater rainwater tank which will give us water for use in the toilet and for the garden/animals. It is things like this that new building developments really do need to take on board. And generally the public needs to understand that water is not a finite resource but if used carefully there will be enough for everyone.
Thank you for adding this post to the #GoingGreen linky and apologies for taking so long to come and read it. After a summer break the linky will be back again with a new one opening on Sept 3rd. Hope to see you there (and I hope you had a brilliant summer!). Oh and found you in Instagram 🙂
Thanks for the visit – I’ve been with my sister for the last 2 weeks following her husband’s death. My participation online is down but should pick up in Sept.
I am so sorry to hear about the death of your brother in law. Take care.