How do I save money on my water bill?

During the hot, dry months of late summer everyone begins thinking about reducing the water costs.  Here are the options we recommend most frequently for reducing or eliminating your landscape’s water usage (ordered from easiest/quickest to most difficult/time intensive)

Water Audit
A water audit by our team is an easy starting point.  In a couple of hours, we will locate any major problems and calculate water usage rates for each irrigation station.  With this information, we can make a list of both easy and difficult fixes and estimate their relative costs.

Sensor based irrigation controller
Modern smart controllers use temperature, sunlight, rain, and/or humidity sensors to adjust the amount of water your garden receives due to varying weather.   Prices on these controllers have lowered and they require only a minimal amount of extra programming to make them great water savers.   We recommend this upgrade for anyone with a proper irrigation system wishing to optimize every gallon of water.

Edit your plants
With so many beautiful native plants to choose from, consider only using draught resistant local species.  If your garden already features some native, established plants- consider replacing some of your “thirsty” non-natives with a more draught tolerant option.  Reviewing your garden for poor planting choices such as shade/part shade plants located in full-sun areas, plantings in unnoticed locations, or removing sickly plants can go a long way in saving water for your landscape.

State of the art drip irrigation and sprinklers
Drip irrigation sends water to the plants that most need it, and in appropriate amounts.  All of our irrigation systems utilize the best materials the industry has to offer and expert installation, so every gallon of water goes where it should- to making your garden as beautiful as possible.  If you have an out of date sprinkler system, you are most likely wasting water.

If you do need a “sprinkler”, the low flow MP Rotator series is the only way to go.  Rotators provide the best spread, with lower flow, allowing for longer run time and maximum absorption with minimal overflow.

Replace lawn areas
A grass lawn is the most water hungry landscape element.  Even with the most advanced new generation sprinklers and controllers, they will require a lot of steady water to keep them green.  If you’ve already installed a water-wise controller and the best low output sprinklers, the only option to further reduce usage is to reduce area.

  • Mulch/gravel-   If your lawn is really just a place to let the kids play and the dogs roam, mulch or gravel with an underlay of solidly secured landscape cloth will provide a dirt, mud and weed-free alternative to lawn.
  • Hardscape/landscape-   A new patio area with small plantings of native varieties looks great, and can give your property an area for outside entertaining.  The patio area can be mortared stone on concrete, pedestal set stone with plants between, decomposed granite- natural or hard set with GraniteCrete, or any mix of these options.
  • Artificial Turf–   Psychologically, large expanses of green lawn are cooling and today’s artificial lawns are a far cry from the options of the past.  If you want to reduce watering costs but maintain that lush green look, we highly recommend artificial turf.  It has the added benefit of being dirt and mud free. With a sizable installation cost, but virtually no upkeep, artificial turf can save considerable water today and provide decades of enjoyment.
  • Mix it up…With a small area of artificial turf, a new small patio, and mulch over light plantings- your former lawn could provide a visually appealing space for entertaining, with a minimum of water usage.

Install a Rainwater Catchment System
To ensure the longevity of your landscape through drought and water rationing while reducing your water bills every year, a rainwater catchment system is the best option for a property with open space for tanks.  We have installed 13,000 gallon systems on small properties in Monterey, and 25,000+ gallon systems on large estates in Carmel Valley.   Above ground tanks are relatively straightforward to install, and when used rationally, reduce your water bills during the highest cost summer months.  Without a doubt, rainwater collection is an important aspect for the future of living on the peninsula.  Installation of a system today will give you a head start towards living without CalAm’s variable supply and ever-rising rates. (View an example of a rainwater catchment system)

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