Turning a Green Lawn into a Green Future

Part of our front yard. Notice the many types of plants, and all the colors. You might also notice the wood chips – which were provided by ChipDrop.

Happy start to 2022! Now, in the new year, we have the privilege of looking back on 2021 from a climate vantage point. The Boulder community alone saw an abnormally warm year, particularly marked by nearly six months with little rainfall, breaking the all-time state record for the least precipitation in the second half of the year according to the National Weather Service. Boulder County also broke at least nine daily maximum temperature records between April and December, according to NOAA.

One facet of the battle against a warmer world is water conservation. In light of the extreme drought, heat waves, and below-average snow accumulation Colorado saw last year, efforts to conserve water are all the more important.

A major way that homeowners can participate in conservation efforts is through xeriscaping. Colorado is known for its abundant sunshine throughout the year but, as a result, supplemental water usage is essential. Even in Boulder, we were watering our plants and grass in early December due to such a long period of drought.

My family and I realized a few years ago that our water bill was sky-high, and our lawn was parched – an unintuitive combination. We decided it was time to transform our lawn from an inefficient water-sink into an array of native plants, flowers, and grasses that would both need less water, and potentially look even nicer than a lawn.

If you’re feeling hesitant about xeriscaping your yard, you can also read an article published by Colorado Public Radio that details why xeriscaping is good for both the environment, and why xeriscape isn’t synonymous with the plain sunbaked rocks that might initially come to mind.

In Boulder County, homeowners interested in engaging in water conservation through xeriscaping their yards can look into and sign up for the Garden In A Box program through Resource Central. The program is a great deal, where Resource Central will give you FREE native plants if you dig out your grass. The native plants they provide don’t need much extra water, since Boulder is their natural environment.

Growing plants benefit from fewer fluctuations in temperature, and water efficiency, which is the reasoning behind the ways that plants’ roots grow. Mulch is a great way to help achieve those goals. ChipDrop is a company that connects arborists with gardeners. Local arborists with unwanted mulched trees, can give the mulch to gardeners, who can use it to insulate their yards and gardens. Mulch insulates your yard in two ways – it effectively holds in the water, and it can help protect the roots of growing plants from extreme temperatures. To get mulch from ChipDrop, you can sign up for a load of mulch on their website, and they’ll give you an estimated date of the arrival of a FREE load of mulch and possibly some stumps and logs.

My family and I got two large boxes of free plants for our whole front yard. Now our yard saves us money and stands out in our neighborhood for all its diverse plants. Now, digging out grass can be a little tedious, and you’ll likely break a sweat. Concerned about the work? The first option is to mysteriously come up with an alternative plan for one of your planned excavation days… The better option though, if you’re worried about the work, is to hire Resource Central to send a team to do the digging for you.

By the time you’re considering your New Year’s Resolution for 2023, you could look out your window, and see a low-water, aesthetically pleasing yard that makes you smile, and a water bill that makes your wallet smile.

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