Landscaping & Lawn Care
TLC for your Lawn and Landscape
Landscaping and Water Conservation
Landscaping is not only the finishing touch for your property it is the welcome mat for your home. For years many homeowners have spread out large, lush green lawns that take bags of fertilizers to and thousands of gallons of water to keep up. In addition most of these lawns are mowed with gasoline-powered lawnmowers that require yearly maintenance.
As the demand for water increases in certain areas the aquifers there begin to get lower. An aquifer is a permeable rock formation or layer of loose stone like gravel that hold water. When this happens the water that is available there contains a high concentration of salts and minerals that not only affect the taste but can affect the body where low doses did not matter. And research has shown that the majority of the water usage does not go for human consumption.
With the diminishing water supplies a certainty a landscape contractor will not only design property's flora and fauna around using less water. In addition he or she will suggest alternative ways in which the landscape can thrive on other sources.
In most areas before the first shovel hit the ground there were thriving communities of plant life that had been growing there since before the first man arrived. Whether it be yew trees, huckleberry bushes or wild grasses these plants survived in the seasonal conditions without being fed or hosed with chemicals to keep the pests away. Landscape contractors are now going back in time to re-introduce some of these plants to their native surroundings and have found that they make a wonderful addition to the landscape.
Hardscape used to mean rocks and wood retaining walls but with addition of pressed concrete blocks and paving stones the art of landscape construction is become a defining feature in many yards. Another way a landscaper can control the land is through terracing and retaining walls can add both design and function through dozens of designs and colors. This is also true of paving stones that can imitate the colored brick of an English garden or the tumbled travertine of a Tuscan patio.
As you drive down a street on a mid-summer's evening you might see dozens of lawn sprinklers watering the lawns and gardens. As you watch the sprays of water you'll see that the majority of the water is either vaporized or does not hit the mark and streams begin to run down and into the road drains. This is a great waste of water and many communities now have bylaws in place to prevent this practice. However, to save water landscape companies are now installing drip irrigation systems in both the front and backyard landscape. These are tubes buried beneath the surface of the ground that bring the water to the roots of the trees, shrubs and other greenery. There are holes in the tubes and water is dispensed in a timed flow. In this way there is no evaporation and no wastage.
Here is a calculation for the amount of rainwater coming off a roof and into the drain. Multiply of rainfall per hour times the square footage of an average roof (1500 square feet) and you get around 108,000 cubic inches of rainwater or 467.5 gallons of water per hour. This is free water that is going down the storm drain. Even in dry areas there are intervals where there is rain. During these times rain can be collected and stored in cisterns for retrieval later. Because the water isn't for drinking these storage units can be rain barrels or even old tanks that have been scrubbed out. When hooked up to a drip irrigation system the water can be dispersed during the dry season when there is a ban on watering lawns and gardens from a city supply.
Another big water user is the household. However, most of this water goes down the drain, water that has been used for showers and washing clothes. This gray water is another source of water for the gardens. It requires a plumber to hook up all the drains, with the exception of toilets, to a storage unit that is then hooked into the drip irrigation system. Of course all the soaps in the house would have to be organic because phosphates and other chemicals may harm certain plant species.
Adding compost to garden soil will help contain the water, preventing it from evaporation or drainage. Most compost contains bulky components which not only feed the plants but act as tiny water reservoirs tat hold the water until needed.
Courtesy of TrustedPros.com