04.10.2013
Designing a Landscape for the Updated 2013 Water Restrictions

Starting April 1st through October 31st, Colorado Springs will be under strict water restrictions in the hopes of rebuilding its water supply. The 2013 water restrictions only allow watering 2 days a week for no more than 3 hours between 6pm and 10am. Anyone going over Colorado Springs water restrictions of using more than 2000 cubic feet of water per month will pay double the normal rates for usage, and a fine of $300-$1,000 could be issued if caught watering on non-watering days or times.

Colorado Springs water restrictions may have residents looking at their lawns a little differently this year, as watering times are cut down. Custom landscape designs may become a new trend in the months to come. However, lawns will survive. Those made mostly of Kentucky bluegrass are sure to take the biggest hit. Yet, there are several things that can be done to keep lawns looking good, even under Colorado Springs water restrictions. Fertilizing and weeding will strengthen plants, aerating lawns will help with water absorption, and setting sprinklers to the restricted times so that allotted amounts are not missed can all help. In addition, by seeding in tall fescue and perennial rye grass, lawns will become more drought resistant as these new root systems are trained to grow deep.

On the landscaping front, ideally it would be beneficial for residents to put in custom landscape designs which included more large stone structures, walkways, and sitting areas so that lawns were lessened. However, large shade trees, drip systems, and mulch can also do wonders with cutting down on water usage. To assist, the local Forestry Operations Center offers mulch for free, as does many waste management locations nationwide.

Converting to water restricted landscape designs does not mean turning flower beds into rock gardens. There are many colorful drought resistant plants like annuals, perennials, bushes and trees that can create beautiful gardens. Such plants may include native plants, vinca, marigolds, zinnias, daylilies, vantana, coreopsis, butterfly bushes, roses, ornamental grasses, and crape myrtles to name a few. Limiting your lawn or grass areas isnt going to ruin your landscape ideas, it will just simply open your eyes to ideas like stone pathways, patios, outdoor fireplaces, and other stone features to keep grass square footage to a minimum. You will be happy with your landscape and also will be saving on water when converting to this design idea.

Colorado, desert land by nature, was not designed to keep up with the strains of water use that its residents have placed on it. This is a community issue that will take years to recover from, making the 2013 water restrictions just the beginning. It’s time that individuals and families start making water restricted landscape designs a new trend.