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Landscape Design for Water Conservation

If your yard has a grassy lawn with trees and shrubs, you are probably very aware of how dependent plants are on water to survive and remain healthy and attractive.

It is not uncommon for residents of northern Delaware to be asked to restrict their water usage during periods of summer drought. The effect of that lack of water to lawns and plants is apparent. Unfortunately, with increased land development and only a limited supply of usable water, restricted water usage could become a way of life. Everyone must participate in better water conservation practices both indoors and out.

How can landscape practices change or adapt to better water conservation? One strategy is to conserve water through creative landscaping. With potentially limited quantities of usable water in many parts of the country, we must be more careful in applying water to the landscape.

An important step in the landscape process is conducting a site analysis. Whether your landscape is new or old, a thorough investigation of your property can reveal ways of implementing water-saving practices. Simple site-specific information that would help you in planning for a more water-conserving landscape might include the following:

Armed with this information, you may want to design or re-design your landscape to be water conserving and better adapted to your site conditions.

Implement water-conserving design features into your plan. They may include the following elements:

By implementing at least some of these ideas into your landscape design, you will be practicing water conservation while providing beautiful and functional landscaping. This will set a good example for your friends and neighbors. With the real threat of a shortage of usable water, it is time that we all create more appropriate, pleasing and water-conserving landscapes for our homes and businesses.

Credits: EPA, DNREC, New Castle-Kent-Sussex Conservation Districts, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Cooperative Extension, University of Delaware. Write to the New Castle County Cooperative Extension office, University of Delaware, 910 S. Chapel St. Newark, DE 19717-1303 for a copy of any publication you need.

Revision Date: 08/02/2004
Kirk Himelick
NPS-08