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The Grass is Always Greener: Five Easy Ways to Make Your Backyard Eco-Friendly 

Five tips to help make your yard more eco-friendly.

Install a Smart Irrigation timer: The latest irrigation technology allows you to program your system to target specific plants and soil types, making it less likely that you'll over water. Some timers can sense moisture levels and precipitation, i.e. no more watering in the rain.

Kill Your Lawn: O.K. put down the blowtorch. We don't mean it literally. But many homes around Central Oregon have an over abundance of turf. Consider scaling back on the bluegrass, expanding natural areas with rock and native plants. Remember, the desert look is right at home in the desert.

Replace your sprinklers: You may want to call in an expert if you're not the DIY type, but replacing high-volume watering heads with low-flow drip systems is a great way to save water and cut back on your bill. This is a good project to tackle in tandem with step 2.

Switch Your Grass: Most landscapers, builders and turf companies use Kentucky Bluegrass varieties in Central Oregon. The grass establishes itself well in Central Oregon's short growing season, however, it's also incredibly thirsty. Recent research by the City of Bend and Oregon State University has shown that a better option is tall fescue, a more resilient and drought-tolerant grass that can be equally attractive and help cut down on your water bill. The City of Bend has a great step-by-step guide for creating a fescue lawn from seed on its Water Wise page.

Fertilize: Yes, it may sound like a dirty word, but Central Oregon's sandy soil needs a little help if you want it to sustain a healthy lawn. Skipping on fertilizer just means more watering, and not necessarily with the same results. Talk to an expert, aka the guy or girl with the name tag on at the hardware store, to find out how much to apply to your lawn and when.

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