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Grade Your Landscape’s Summer Performance

The end of summer is just about here. Now is a great time to consider how well your landscape fared this past summer. You can learn a great deal from simple-yet-thoughtful observations.

If you followed SAWS’ watering advice your landscape likely survived mostly unscathed. In fact, with the right plant selection, placement and good year-round maintenance your landscape may have actually thrived during the hottest part of the summer and ongoing drought. If not, here are a few things to consider as you assess your landscape:

  • Brown vs. green — The resulting amount of brown in your landscape, no matter how much water you poured on it, can be due to many factors: not enough soil for moisture retention, wrong plant selection, wrong site selection, etc. But more importantly, it’s an easy way to identify areas that are ripe for change, may it be replacing grass with more drought-tolerant plants or perhaps an attractive patioscape. Important to note: brown does not equal dead. Native species go dormant without dying.
  • Landscape diversity — Is your landscape grass-dominant? Lack of diversity increases vulnerability to the damaging impact a harsh summer brings. A balanced landscape with a good backbone has a better chance of surviving and is more attractive.
  • For a different perspective — look at your landscape with your September water bill in hand. Is your water consumption during the summer consistently in the fourth tier?

Then embrace the opportunity, fall is a great time to make changes that will help you create an attractive, resilient and water-saving landscape for next summer.

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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