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Go Green and Save with a Low-Maintenance Lawn

Remember the first time you saw your yard? You probably said something like, "let's put the rose garden there" or "now we can host the 4th of July party." Your outdoor space is special; it's where you entertain, relax and have fun with your family. Maintaining that space can cost you time, money and sweat. However, you can have a beautiful lawn that's friendly to the environment without breaking your budget or your back. Here's how.

Less water, more green

It takes a lot to make your lawn look great, but it could take a lot less. In fact, many Americans overwater their lawn by as much as 50 percent due to inefficient irrigation. Start simple by watering only in the early morning, when less water is lost through evaporation.

Take it to another level by installing WaterSense-labeled spray sprinkler bodies and irrigation controllers. Spray sprinkler bodies ensure a consistent flow rate and deliver water evenly to the landscape. Irrigation control technologies use local climate and landscape conditions to manage watering schedules, applying water only when plants need it.

Go native

Native plants, which grow naturally in your area and climate, can thrive and add beauty to your landscape with less help from you. They may also require less water and less fertilzer. For more information about native plants in your area, work with a qualified landscaper or contact your local Cooperative Extension System office. Remember to call 811 before you dig to have any underground utility lines marked.

Focus on outdoor lighting

Your yard looks great, then night comes and shrouds it in darkness. Outdoor lighting can accent landscaping features and provide security, but the costs become all too visible on your energy bills. LEDs are a great solution because they're are up to 75 percent more efficient than standard bulbs and last much longer. What's more, LEDs are resistant to breakage, making them a perfect fit for a rugged outdoor environment.

Outdoor solar lights are another option. They convert sunlight into electricity and then store that energy in batteries to provide light at night. They're easy to install, virtually maintenance-free and they use clean, renewable energy from the sun.

With these simple measures, you can have an outdoor space that's friendly to the environment and the envy of the neighborhood.

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