How to save water and still grow an enviable landscape (WFAA Channel 8)

Conserving water doesn’t mean your yard has to be a barren display of stones and cacti. Denise Hickey from NTMWD and Patrick Dickinson from Texas A&M AgriLife were back on our WFAA-TV “Green Segment” August 19 to discuss how water-wise landscaping and maintenance can make your yard one of the most jaw-dropping in the neighborhood.

Planting Native

Far from brown or boring, water-efficient native or adapted plants are some of the most beautiful in North Texas. For a blossoming garden, try this:

Instead of…

  • Italian Cypress, try the very similar but drought-resistant Texas juniper;
  • Sensitive perennials, plant Coreopsis (also called Tickseed) for yellows and Turk’s Cap for brilliant purples and reds; and
  • Monkey Grass, substitute drought-tolerant Sedge.

For a lawn that uses less water and stays satisfactorily green, try…

  • Augustine grass, and especially its most hardy variety TamStar, or
  • Zoysia Palisades, a very drought-tolerant, high-quality turf.

Check out the WaterUniversity Plant Database to search for the above plants and more. To find out more about how to plant in a way that saves money and water, check out Denise and Patrick’s previous segment on native planting.

The Principle of Thirds

In addition to choosing the right plants, using the correct design and following proper maintenance practices are key to a beautiful, water-efficient yard. When it comes to design, use the principle of thirds.

Ideally, approximately one third of your yard should be turfgrass, one third landscape bedding and the final third hardscape such as sidewalk, patio or deck. This proportioning provides you with a good visual balance while also cutting down on water use and maintenance needs. Efficient irrigation techniques, proper lawn maintenance and practices such as rainwater harvesting can also help you save water and money while taking even better care of your yard.

Planning Ahead

As one of our hottest months, August is for planning, not planting. Start thinking holistically and discussing how to integrate these water efficient plants and principles into your new landscape design or upcoming yard alterations.

For help with planning, try out the WaterUniversity ULandscapeIt tool offering free, water-wise landscape blueprints. You’ll find specific designs for a variety of styles and locations including courtyards, shaded landscapes, sunny landscapes and parkways. Incorporating these planting and design techniques will not only save you time and trouble during our hot, north Texas summers but will also help save water for our neighborhoods and children’s future.

Join Denise and Patrick for their next WFAA segment water-saving, yard-thriving tips on September 16. They will be discussing how to choose and properly use weed-deterrent and other common landscaping chemicals.