Flip Your Strip - Landscaping Water-Wise Parking Strips

I’ve owned my home since 2017. Since doing so, the grass strips between my sidewalk and the street in front of my house have been the bane of my existence. This troublesome area was once full of weeds and challenging to mow. To add to that, watering it properly was nearly impossible; watching the sprinkler water fly right over the strip into the street drove me absolutely nuts. I tried to adjust my sprinklers and even hired a sprinkler company to correct the issue, but I was informed no company had invented an efficient way of watering parking strips.

I didn’t let that deter me, however. In further researching my issue, I learned my county has a Flip Your Strip program. If you pull your grass out and switch to water-wise landscaping, you will be partially reimbursed. Besides being cost effective, pulling out the grass in your parking strip saves water. Government experts in Utah estimate removing just this section of grass will save you between 5,000-8,000 gallons of water per year for an average household. Because I’m located on a corner lot, I'm probably on the higher end of that range.

I received some bids but I ultimately did not want to spend $5,000 or more on a local landscaping company. Instead, I heaved a heavy sigh and decided to do it myself.

Here’s the breakdown of all I did and what it cost to do it:

  1. Rented a sod-cutter from Home Depot ($100)
  2. Advertised the cut sod for free online, which cleared out most of the sod ($0)
  3. Installed a weed blocker ($75)
  4. Signed up for a wood chip delivery via ChipDrop ($20 donation)
  5. Bought planters ($300) and two drip line irrigation kits ($80)
  6. Set up planters and drip lines, using wood chips to fill the strip
  7. Placed chips in the planters, filling up the remaining space with organic soil ($40)
  8. Planted lovely flowers in the new planters ($100)

All things considered, the parking strip project only cost about $650! It was a lot of hard work, but it was so satisfying to watch everything evolve. It helps that I know I’m doing my part to reduce water waste and help our state and planet. I also installed three raised garden beds (in addition to the three I had) and ripped out half my lawn to create a desert meadow.

For more ideas on what you can do to help save water and improve your yard, visit The Utah Division of Water Resources, Slow The Flow, or research any of your local programs and conservation initiatives.

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