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WaterSaver landscapes are composed of no more than 50 percent turf — less is even better. Although some grass varieties need less water than others, all grasses require more water than mulched beds of drought-tolerant plants. (Hint, hint.)

Probably the most effective water-saving change you can make is to replace your grass with garden beds made up of hardy, water-wise plants. It’ll make a dramatic difference not only on your water bill but also in the look of your landscape.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding which part of your landscape to convert from turf to garden bed:

  • Curb appeal — Visualize where a garden bed would complement the rest of your landscape and enhance your home’s architecture.
  • View from inside — How would the bed’s placement look from your favorite vantage point within your home?
  • Underutilized areas — Are there large spots you visit only when the grass has been mowed? These areas are ideal for conversion from turf to plants.
  • Sun vs. shade — Excessive sun and shade prevent grass from growing. Create beds that’ll thrive in these conditions instead.
  • Supersize it — It’s Texas after all… so if you want to make a big impression, start with the landscape beds (not the grass.)  Expanding the existing beds is all you have to do, once you figure out a way to remove the surrounding turf.

Once you’ve chosen the grass area to convert, use a water hose, tape or water-based paint to outline the shape of your future water-saving bed. You may want to leave the layout for a day or two to make any adjustments.

Then you can move to the next step toward saving water — getting rid of the grass!

Removing Grass from San Antonio Water System on Vimeo.

Juan Soulas
Juan Soulas
Juan Soulas is a conservation planner for San Antonio Water System. Since joining SAWS in 2007 his duties have focused on residential water use. He works with his Conservation colleagues to help customers find ways to reduce outdoor usage without compromising the health and aesthetic quality of their landscapes. Juan also coordinates engaging outreach efforts with SAWS’ conservation partners -- Bexar County Master Gardeners, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, San Antonio Botanical Garden and Mitchell Lake Audubon Center – to increase community access to vital conservation information.
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