By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
Whether you are a homeowner or a home seller, summer offers perfect conditions for landscaping that will both enhance both your quality of life and the value of your home. While this year we kicked off summer with some welcome relief from the drought, the fact remains that water conservation is still as important as ever. For most homeowners, landscaping is the biggest consumer of water, so if you’re planning to spend the summer months out in the garden or enhance your home’s ‘curb appeal’, here are a few tips to help you make the best and most cost- and resource–effective choices you can make.
One of the elements that make San Bernardino County such a desirable destination for homebuyers is our Mediterranean climate (wet winters followed by dry summers interspersed with periods of low rainfall), so responsible water use will always be a first consideration for landscaping improvements. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can reduce energy bills up to $250 annually with smartly designed landscaping. Here in San Bernardino County and especially in our Victor and Morongo valley areas, homeowners can save even more by replacing traditional lawns with water-saving desertscaping (known as Xeriscaping), which involves using natural precipitation to meet your landscape's watering needs to reduce your water usage.
Before you start looking at any landscaping improvements, start by checking your existing water usage and irrigation system. Watering your lawn one to two days per week instead of every day can save hundreds of gallons per week. Checking your sprinkler system for leaks, overspray and damaged sprinkler heads and making appropriate repairs can save hundreds of gallons of water per month. In fact, installing a smart sprinkler controller that adjusts watering based on weather, soil type, amount of shade and plant type saves up to 40 gallons per day. Watering your plants in the early morning or evening is a great way to reduce evaporation and overspray.
Using mulch around plants to reduce evaporation is another great way to conserve water. Mulching minimizes water loss, helps control weeds, and returns nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. Check with your local nursery or home improvement center or visit www.bewaterwise.com/gardensoft for more helpful hints.
Then, check with your local water district because they are the best resource when it comes to providing effective landscaping guidance for their customers. Call your local water provider or visit their website and see all they have to offer, or visit www.bewaterwise.com a website of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the family of Southern California water agencies. The website offers great tips on how to save money and water by using your irrigation systems more efficiently by using a Watering Calculator that creates a customized watering schedule to manage your automatic timer or a Watering Index, a scientifically based figure that will guide your watering schedule according to changes in the weather.
To build today’s new homes and new home communities, Baldy View Region homebuilders employ the highest-quality and best educated landscaping professionals to design and install landscaping utilizing native (those that grow naturally in your area) or California-friendly plants, trees and shrubs. So if you're looking to simply enhance your existing landscaping, consult your local nursery or home and garden center for suggestions on the best types of trees and shrubs that will thrive where you live. Because many communities encourage the planting of certain types of native species, local nurseries are generally very knowledgeable on the subject. Likewise, homeowners associations (HOAs) often provide landscape design guidelines including approved plants and trees. Check with your Association to determine is changes to your landscape, especially any that might require preapproval or architectural review.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.
And have a terrific summer!