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Plant right to conserve water

Conservation is one of the keys to adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Though some might feel the transition to such a lifestyle might be difficult, it's often far simpler than it may seem. Conserving water, for instance, can be done in a number of ways.

One such way concerns how you treat your landscape. Planting the right way can save a substantial amount of water, which will also save you money on your utility bills. The following are a few ways to plant right that won't require a complete overhaul of your landscape.

* Research before you plant anything. Decorating your landscape with the prettiest plant might add to your home's aesthetic appeal, but it's not always the most practical or eco-friendly decision. Choose plants that will thrive in your local climate so you don't need to constantly water them just to keep them alive and looking good. Certain grasses, for instance, are best suited for certain climates. When planting, make use of shaded areas around your property so plants won't need more water to make it through the warmer months of the year.

* Maintain a healthy soil. Healthy soil allows water to penetrate effectively, promoting strong roots and ensuring plants get all they need to thrive. Aerate your lawn, including areas around trees, once a year and cultivate the soil before planting. Add compost or fertilize the soil, which increases moisture retention and reduces the need to water. Healthy soil helps make stronger plants that won't need to be watered as often as plants that are not healthy or struggling to survive.

* Be timely when planting. Spring or fall is typically the ideal time to plant. Though you can plant in the summer, that's not the best time if one of your goals is to conserve water. Planting in the summer when temperatures are generally at their warmest makes it more difficult for plants to establish themselves without extra watering.

* Plant shade trees. Shade trees are trees that, when full grown, shade the yard and plants from the sun. This lowers the air and soil temperatures and reduces moisture loss. The more moisture a plant and the soil can maintain, the less they need to be watered.

* Don't procrastinate with regard to lawn care. It's easy to put off lawn maintenance, particularly during the dog days of summer when temperatures can be especially hot. However, it won't take long for a blazing sun to do a number on your lawn. Putting off lawn care, even if just for a few days when the weather is hot, will require more water down the road when you start taking care of your property again. But a well-maintained lawn won't need as much water to stay healthy.