How to cut summer irrigation costs

Earth-kind landscape conservation practices save water, save money

Staff report
Henry Duelberg Salvia is one example of a native plant that is drought-tolerant and requires less watering, resulting in reduced irrigation needs and cost saving.

Since landscape irrigation increases water use by 35 to 75 percent during the summer irrigation season, Texas A&M AgriLife recommends landscape water conservation practices be adapted to reduce water use, save money, and still maintain a beautiful landscape.  Water conservation is the easiest and least expensive method to make water resources sustainable for future use.

A water conserving design with efficient irrigation could reduce water use by up to two-thirds.  Replace high water requiring plants and lawns with native and adapted drought tolerant varieties.  Do not plant new plants or convert your landscape during a drought.  Wait until drought conditions and watering restrictions have lifted before making changes to your landscape. 

A table demonstrating how much water conservation practices can save.

Newly planted landscapes require frequent irrigation until the plants are established.  Once established water conserving landscape plants and lawns require infrequent irrigation.  In fact, some water conserving landscapes require irrigation only a few times in July and August.  The best time to plant is during the fall, winter, or early spring.

Besides native and adapted plants and a drought tolerant lawn, a water conserving landscape has more planted area.  Planted areas absorb rain and irrigation water more efficiently because the soil preparation and mulch in planted beds increase infiltration and percolation rate.  Drought tolerant lawn grasses will reduce water requirements, and disease and insect problems.  Zoysia, Common Bermuda, Buffalo and Blue Gamma grasses make beautiful water conserving lawns.  Always check with your county Extension office about the lawn grasses that perform best in your area.

Good instructions for drawing a landscape design can be found at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/planning-the-home-landscape/

For further information, contact Mark Arnold, County Extension Agent-Agriculture/Natural Resources, 701 South I-35 E Service Road #3, Waxahachie, or call 972-825-5175 or email: wmarnold@ag.tamu.edu .