How to save water and money on your front lawn during the drought

SPOKANE, Wash. — Parts of Washington and Idaho are under severe and extreme drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service in Spokane. That means people are using a lot more water to keep their grass green, costing more money in these dry conditions. However, the city will pay residents to make changes to their font yard to conserve water.

The program is called SpokaneScape, and it’s all about creating yards suitable for Spokane’s climate, so you have plants, bushes and flowers that can withstand the dry conditions.

“We created SpokaneScape as a new landscape style for our area,” said Kristen Zimmer, Spokane’s Conservation Program Mananger. “These plants are drought-tolerant. They’re made for Spokane, and they need a lot less water to thrive.”

Ken Matley has always loved native plants and couldn’t wait to transform his front yard.

“The first thought I had when I looked at this place was, ‘Okay, that grass has got to go,'” Matley said.

Now, he’s taken out all the grass, replaced it with mulch and planted native plants such as ponderosa and yarrow. He drew inspiration from the bluff nearby and loves the yard he’s created.

“I love it. I love looking out the window,” he said.  “When I’m washing dishes or cooking, I can look out and see how it’s coming along.”

His plants are still pretty young, but when they grow, a lot of the mulch will be covered. He says he looks forward to living in his own forest in a few years. Matley’s also saving money because of the transition. Last winter, he didn’t have to pay utilities for four months because of the rebates he received from the city.

His project cost him around $3,000, but Zimmer says you can have a similar yard on a budget if you take some simple steps:

  • Finding plants from friends
  • Getting free wood chips
  • Removing grass by yourself

There’s still time to start a summer project and begin the process of transitioning to SpokaneScape. The city has resources and how you can get started HERE.

If you still want to keep your lawn, there are other rebates you can receive by updating your sprinklers and other water-consuming items. Learn more about the rebates and being water wise HERE.