If you’re lucky enough to have a little piece of Texas for your new home-building site consider preserving as much of it as you can. Preservation is conservation.
As a starting point, preserve a minimum of 30 percent of your land after your home footprint is set. Even better, go a step further and design your home to maximize the native area. Then protect it during construction. If you have shade trees and good understory, protect everything under the drip lines with temporary fencing.
Ask your homebuilder for guarantees that those areas deemed “off-limits” are protected. You may even include financial penalties in the contract to help enforce your preservation efforts. Soil in native areas must be undisturbed and not compacted by vehicles for long-term survivability.
No need to install an irrigation system in native areas since established native trees and understory plants require no supplemental watering to thrive. That’s a good thing considering homes with irrigation systems use 51 percent more water annually (higher in the summer) than those without irrigation systems!
Native areas not only save water and look beautiful, but they also provide wonderful habitat for urban wildlife.