September 14, 2021
If there’s one thing that this fall is teaching Denver residents it’s the importance of water. With all of the fires currently raging in the state, water is quickly becoming the most precious resource in our state. The government is starting to put restrictions on how often residents can water their gardens and lawns. So, what can you do to keep your fall plants thriving during the water ban? Just because you can’t turn your Denver sprinkler system on to water your plants doesn’t mean you have to watch them die. Here are a few easy tips to help you keep your plants happy without violating your neighborhood watering ban.
Save Your Dish Water
You still use dozens of gallons of water every day even when there are use restrictions in place. This means you’re still generating tons of gray water—water that isn’t safe to drink—every hour. The biggest generator of that gray water is, hands down, doing dishes. Use this to your advantage. Start collecting at least some of your old dish water every time you do the washing up. Store it in a watering can and use it to water your potted plants and any super-thirsty plants in your garden beds. Just make sure to use eco-friendly or biodegradable soap to wash your dishes instead of standard detergent. This way, you won’t have to worry about the soap changing the soil’s pH content or hurting your plants’ growth.
Collect Rain in Rain Barrels
Though the weather forecast has been dry for the last few weeks, there’s always a chance that we’ll get a good rainfall or two before the freezing weather hits. If possible, collect that rainfall in dedicated rain barrels. Set the barrels beneath the gutters on your property and let the runoff flow into the barrels instead of the ground. You can then use this water to keep your plants hydrated and in good condition even when there’s a severe drought. Keep in mind that the barrels can be expensive, but once you install them, they’ll continue to work without requiring any maintenance down the road. Even better, during the wet season, using that collected rainwater can save you on your monthly water bill. The less you have to run the faucet, the lower your water bill will be.
Never Toss Out Old Water From Your Cups
Think about what happens when you collect the dishes from the table and around the house. Some of the cups, mugs, and glasses will be empty but others often have a few sips of liquid left. Instead of flushing the remnants down the drain, save what you can. If you’re drinking water or iced tea, collect it and use it to water your plants. Save it in a jar or watering can and collect enough to keep your plants hydrated. This way, nothing will go to waste and your plants will be able to benefit from regular watering even during times of drought and water bans.
Collect Cold Water in the Shower
How often do you shower? If you’re like most people, it’s at least once a day. And unless you have an on-demand water heater that gives you hot water instantly, you need to run the tap to let the water warm up. Though it might only take a few minutes, that’s tons of water that you’re just sending down the drain. Instead of letting cold water run down the drain until the water heater kicks on, collect that water and use it to water your plants. Pick up a 5-gallon bucket at your local hardware store and set it beneath the faucet before you shower. You can then refill your watering cans or use the water to rinse clean dishes if your plants are getting enough water elsewhere. This can end up saving you on your water bill over the course of the year.
Spread Mulch in Your Planting Beds
One of the best things you can do to keep your plants and garden beds happy even during dry spells is to spread mulch over the topsoil. The mulch helps keep the moisture in the soil by the plants’ roots where it belongs and reduces the risk of evaporation and erosion. If you choose the right mulch, it will also add a fun and beautiful dynamic to your garden that brings color to your yard even when the plants go dormant in the winter.
Keep Track of Watering Guidelines Often
Watering guidelines and restrictions can change by the week. Get in the habit of reviewing those restrictions every few days and see if there are any changes. If the city or county lifts the watering ban or lets you water on set days of the week, you’ll want to take advantage as soon as you can. If you’re not sure where to look, contact your local county office for guidance or check the state’s website for further information.
The most important thing to remember is to be respectful of the watering ban. If the ban is in place, don’t turn the sprinkler system on and water your lawn with abandon. At best, you’ll aggravate your neighbors. At worst, you’ll end up facing an expensive fine from the city or county. Follow the guidelines as best you can and only water with your irrigation system or sprinkler system when you’re legally permitted to. Remember, the state needs access to as much water as it can get to contain the wildfires and keep them from threatening more towns and cities along the Front Range.
Water Bans Can Be Tough
Water bans are a fact of life for everyone that lives in the Southwest, but they’re still a relatively new concept for many Denver-area homeowners. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to keep your yard looking great at all times, no matter what the watering restrictions are like. Once spring rolls around and you’re ready to start watering your lawn after a (hopefully) wet winter, contact us to schedule a sprinkler system tune-up.