Based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the typical household uses around 300 gallons of water daily, with outdoor use accounting for about 30 percent. This number may even be higher during the summertime, where nearly 70 percent of an average household’s daily water consumption occurs outdoors.
Additionally, it is estimated that 9 billion gallons of water are used for landscape irrigation per day. Experts believe that nearly half of this figure is wasted due to poor irrigation systems, overwatering, evaporation, and much more.
If you live in dry or humid counties within Florida, such as Lafayette County, Washington County, and Madison County, you’ll likely be using even more water outdoors. Keep your yard looking lush and healthy — without wasting water — by following the tips below.
#1 Inspect Your Sprinklers
Having an automatic sprinkler can be a tremendous help, especially if you don’t have the time to water your yard. The problem, however, is that it can be a money-waster.
In many Florida homes, sprinklers are installed in unstrategic locations around the yard. Most of the time, they end up watering the driveway, sidewalk, or the road instead of the grass. Make sure that your sprinklers are positioned properly by turning them on and checking if they effectively water the surrounding grass.
You should also consider installing moisture sensors that will automatically turn the sprinklers off when it detects that it is raining or if the ground is already damp.
#2 Collect Rainwater
Use a rain barrel to collect the runoff from your roof’s gutters. By catching rainwater, you are creating your own supply of natural water, which you can use to water your garden, wash your car, and much more — all without spending a penny!
What’s more, is that rainwater is better for your plants, as it is free from the chemicals and pollutants that can be found in groundwater. Consider installing a drainage valve into the barrel to allow you to collect water easily. Don’t forget to ask your property manager about monetary incentives that your state may be offering to households that practice rainwater harvesting.
#3 Water Only During Specific Times
As a rule of thumb, water your lawn or yard in the morning — or, if you don’t have the time, in the evening. Watering your plants during the day, when temperatures are high, will only cause the water to evaporate quickly, leaving your plants with little to no moisture.
Ideally, you should water your garden from 5:00 to 9:00 A.M. using a hose or sprinkler. By the time you finish watering the plants, the foliage will have already dried. This quick-drying prevents fungus from developing on your plants.
Watering in the evening is acceptable, but it isn’t advisable. Be sure to deliver water directly into the roots. Avoid using a sprinkler or garden hose at night, as this will cause your plants to remain soaked throughout the night.
#4 Use a Drip System
Sprinklers are more convenient, but they’re less efficient than a drip system. A drip irrigation system is placed around the garden and consists of a hose with tiny holes that deliver water directly into the plants’ roots. This keeps water in the soil and off of the leaves, preventing the growth of fungal diseases and sunscald.
You can easily make a drip system at home using rubber tubes or PVC pipes, but it pays to invest in a proper drip irrigation system that is designed by a landscaping professional. This way, you can have healthier plants and lower your water bills at the same time.
Ask your friends for landscaping professionals whom they can recommend, or hire a Florida property management firm to do the scouting for you.
#5 Use a Moisture Meter
A moisture meter will tell you how much moisture is in the soil, preventing you from wasting water by over-watering your plants. Most moisture meters have a scale of one to ten, with one being extremely dry and ten being wet. Use the moisture meter before you water your plants, especially the potted ones.
If you don’t have a moisture meter, you can use a basic screwdriver to measure the moisture. If its blade goes through the soil easily, then there’s probably no need to water your plants. If it requires a bit of force, then the soil is likely dry and needs attention. However, if it goes in too easily, that may be an indication that there’s too much moisture in the soil, and that you should take it easy with your watering.
#6 Choose Plants That Require Little Water
Plants can liven up any Florida property and instantly boost its curb appeal, but taking care of them can be a hassle — not to mention an expense.
The good news is that not all plants require daily maintenance. Some plants don’t need frequent watering, such as succulents, snake plants, air plants, cacti, and much more. Ask your local landscaping professional for advice regarding the types of plants that will thrive in your geographic location even with minimal watering.
#7 Look for Leaks
According to the EPA, one 1/32-inch diameter hole on a garden hose, faucet, etc. can result in over 6,000 gallons of wasted water per year. And that’s only one leak — imagine how much you would be wasting if you had more.
Outdoor leaks are less likely to be noticed because they’re out of sight. And when something is out of sight, it’s instantly out of mind. During your next home inspection, don’t forget to inspect your outdoor houses, faucets, emitters, and more, for leaks. Be sure to patch them up immediately, or you may find yourself with a water bill that’s higher than what you expected.
By conserving water that you use for your garden, lawn, or yard, you can significantly reduce your monthly water bill, and in turn, keep your plants healthy and thriving. All it takes are a few simple changes!
At Luxury Property Care, we help Florida homeowners keep their properties in optimum condition throughout the year. We offer an extensive array of services, including home landscaping, which is designed to protect and maintain your Florida property. We coordinate with the most skilled landscaping professionals in the state to guarantee the highest standards of work.