Colorado State University estimates that in the typical Colorado household, outdoor water use accounts for about 50% of overall consumption, making urban lawn watering the single largest water demand on municipal supplies.

By following a few of the simple steps below, you can have a healthy, water-smart landscape that’s both beautiful and easy to maintain, while cutting down on your water bill.

Cut Grass Effectively

A common mistake people make with their lawn is thinking they need to mow all the time to stop the grass from getting too tall. Instead, grass that’s mowed to the proper height and not scalped develops a deeper root system to better find water and nutrients in the soil. A taller plant also shades the soil and keeps the roots cooler during periods of high heat. So, set your mower to a 3–4-inch cut.

Use a Rainwater Tank

A rainwater tank is an innovative way to collect and store rainwater for later use. Most homeowners in Colorado are now allowed to use rain barrels to collect rainwater and use it to irrigate outdoor lawns, plants or gardens.

There are two types of rainwater harvesting that you can use for your landscaping: active and passive. Active is capturing the water in containers for later use. Passive rainwater harvesting is diverting the water to vegetated areas for immediate use or soil storage. Whichever type you decide to use, it’s important to check with your HOA and city rules and regulations before installing your tank.

And always remember that rainwater collected from a roof is not safe to drink.

Utilize Low-Water Landscaping

The Colorado climate includes tough soil, harsh sun and persistent droughts, so utilizing low-water landscaping can make gardening and paying the water bill much simpler. Colorado also recently signed House Bill 1151 into law, requiring the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop a statewide financial incentive program to inspire voluntary turf replacement for homeowners and local governments. You can read more about this new program here.

Common Yarrow, Prairie Sage, Spreading Daisy, Evening-Primrose and Blue Mist Penstemon are all plants native to Colorado that require less water.

Water Your Yard Before 10am or After 3pm

Your lawn needs water either when it turns gray-green or footprints are left in the lawn for extended periods of time after walking on it. We suggest setting your sprinkler system to water before 10am or after 3pm to ensure you’re not losing water through evaporation. Because this timeframe is generally less windy and cooler in temperature, your grass will receive the maximum amount of water.

Spread Mulch

Adding mulch to your soil has many benefits including reducing evaporation from soil surface, stabilizing soil moisture, preventing soil compaction, moderating soil temperature, controlling erosion and improving aesthetic quality.

When deciding which mulch to use, you want to make sure you’re working with a mulch that will break down over time without introducing harmful elements in the process. The smaller the materials in your mulch are, the quicker they’ll break down. Wood chips, pine bark, leaves, straw and grass clippings are all examples of beneficial mulch.

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