How Much Lawn is Too Much?

Donna Fossum

Homeowners have begun to ask this question especially during these hot summer months. This summer, many of us are wondering why we have lawns at all.

Add up all the heat, drought, chemicals, fuel, water, labor and regulations, and it’s a wonder why anyone would even want a big yard. This year many people have simply let their lawns die. However, by composting, mowing infrequently or very high, and using your water window effectively, you could still have a fairly green lawn.

The key factor: how much lawn you have.

  • Reducing a typical landscape from 75 percent lawn area to less than 50 percent can shrink your outdoor watering significantly. Flowering perennials and shrubs use 50 percent less water than turf does.
  • Expanding beds with mulch alone or combining with a pervious hardscape can also reduce outdoor watering needs.
  • The smaller the lawn, the better chance you have at keeping it green. Why? Because the most efficient way to water is infrequently and deeply (think hand watering) to create a deep water profile in the soil.

Although it seems time-consuming, watering by hand often yields the best results with minimal water waste. And, it is the only method of watering allowed any day and time during drought restrictions.

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