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Old 03-16-2009, 04:24 PM   #1
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


Hi all,

I just purchased a home with an 18,000 sqft lot. I would love to have all grass but I truly don't look forward to pay that much for a water bill to maintain this. I have been thinking of designs or ideas that will reduce my water bill and low maintenance. I would not like to make it all cement or leave it with all dirt. I do plan to add a patio with pavers, maybe some soil areas with plants. Is there any more ideas on how to achieve a nice landscaping without the high cost for maintenance (water specially)?. I have thought about adding rocks in some areas. What do you think or suggest? Any pictures of your project with similar goals?

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Old 03-16-2009, 07:01 PM   #2
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


I very rarely water my lawn
I know people who do & their grass will die in dry spells unless they keep watering. My lot is about 1/2 acre, 18,000 isn't a lot
I have gardens along the side fence, front fence, driveway & back deck.
I also planted a huge veggie garden out back
Against the house I nuilt a lean too green house & extended another veggie garden out 10x14'
I managed to garden myself out of a riding mower

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Old 03-16-2009, 07:11 PM   #3
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


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My lot is about 1/2 acre, 18,000 isn't a lot

I guess 18,000 sqft may not be much to many people but for most centric city people (like myself) who are not used to having such space could be a bit overwhelming.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


If you do add some gardens and landscaping like Scuba Dave suggeste, there are products you can mix into your soil, around each plant, that will retain water and you won't have to water as often. For plants that do require more water, use a soaker hose. There are a lot of books available about conserving water in your landscaping.

Another option is to add underground sprinkling and and set the timer so it will only run your sprinklers for a short period of time 4 or 5 nights a week. That shouldn't run your water bill up very much.

Or, you can hook your garden hose up to your neighbors spigot...... Just kidding.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


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Or, you can hook your garden hose up to your neighbors spigot...... Just kidding.

Great idea!!!! How come I did not think of this?.

Actually, you did bring a very good point. I will look for plants that may not require a lot of water and still add "mulching" or whatever that material added to the soil to keep it moist.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:48 AM   #6
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


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I guess 18,000 sqft may not be much
18,000 ft­ is over 4/10 of an acre.

Because you just moved in, design your hardscape first. Mow your lawn slightly higher and it will be less prone to browning. If you have to water, do it infrequently and use more to promote deeper root growth.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:57 AM   #7
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


Watering deeper is the key to healthy grass since this allows for deeper root system. Watering established lawns is not always needed, it depends on rainfall in your area. I have 21 acres and 5 are landscaped as a park. I installed 45 zones of sprinklers and all planted areas use drip irrigation. BUT.. my well cannot support this, so little watering gets done, but plants and grass are fine. Summer fertilizer will help prevent browning. Mulch helps retain water by slowly water loss due to evaporation and keeps plant roots cooler and helps keep weeds in control. find grasses that fit your zone and like low water conditions.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:04 PM   #8
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


you know green is the new thing right? i was looking at a house built in the 1800s and there was a cistern on the property that all the downspouts connected to.You might be able to incorporate a similar thing on your property with a pump for lawn irrigation
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:41 PM   #9
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


Or how about only consider having PART of the lawn your green jewel? Focus your water and fertilizing to a "manageable" part of it and have the rest be natural. Now natural i don't mean weeds and tall grasses, i mean that's the part where you will just let mother nature do the watering and fertilizing. Its good to have a "good" section of the lawn and the "bad section". A summer of badmitton or volleyball or whiffle ball on your "good" section could destroy it.

make the green part your trophy and the "yellower" part for sports.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:04 PM   #10
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


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Or how about only consider having PART of the lawn your green jewel? Focus your water and fertilizing to a "manageable" part of it and have the rest be natural. Now natural i don't mean weeds and tall grasses, i mean that's the part where you will just let mother nature do the watering and fertilizing. Its good to have a "good" section of the lawn and the "bad section". A summer of badmitton or volleyball or whiffle ball on your "good" section could destroy it.

make the green part your trophy and the "yellower" part for sports.

Yes, I did have something like this in mind. I will keep the front of the house and patio area nice and green. The rest of the back may be just left to the will of nature.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #11
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Dilema, large back yard but don't want large water bill.


I fertilize the front lawn - very small - maybe 30' x 45'
The back & sides I do not fertilize or only to use up what is left
I did a 3' wide garden along the old driveway. Its' actually moving & a walkway will lead to the front of the house.



Out back I planted a 5' wide garden against the stockade fence
I plant all perennials (regrow every year). I also buy plants that will seed & spread. 3 years after planting I'm actually thinning out plants & giving them away


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