Golden landscaping a way to go ‘green’

Published on Wed, Jul 8, 2009 by Emily Resch Birch Bay Water & Sewer District

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During the summer, lawns throughout Blaine and Birch Bay reflect varying shades of green, golden or brown colors depending on the type of lawn care. 

The City of Blaine and Birch Bay Water & Sewer District identify residents who choose to forgo a green lawn and let their lawns go dormant (brown or golden) during the summer as practicing “golden” landscaping. 

Lawns go dormant or “golden” when precipitation decreases and temperatures increase in the summer.  Dormancy is grasses’ natural response to surviving periods of inadequate water or drought.  Grasses will recover once there is more precipitation and temperatures cool. 

For those who choose to do so, the Pacific Northwest provides the perfect platform to practice “golden” landscaping.  Our mild winters help grasses stay lush and green for the greater part of the year.   

Water customers who decide to “ go golden” can see big  savings on their water bills.  “Just watering your lawn at the recommended one inch per week adds up to 67,000 gallons over the course of three months,” states District water conservation specialist Emily Resch.  Based on billing rates for the City of Blaine and the District, this would cost the average water customer as much as $200 during the summer. 

Other savings associated with “golden” landscaping include saving money and time on lawn care.  The average homeowner spends $220 and works over 150 hours annually on his/her lawn. Americans also burn 800 million gallons of gas each year trimming their grassy yards according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which provides huge potential savings on annual fuel costs.    

In addition, “golden” landscaping helps to reduce the impact of peak-use periods on City and District water supplies. 

During the summer, Blaine and Birch Bay experience peak demands 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than the average demand during winter months.

Most of the water used for landscape irrigation is treated drinking water and by reducing the amount of drinking water used for landscape irrigation, we can reduce the burden on our water supply, water transmission facilities and defer future facility costs.