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Keep Your Yard Beautiful and Save Water

(ARA) - The old saw "April showers bring May flowers," says it all. Spend the rainy days now planning how you'll enjoy your yard once everything starts blooming, and the sunny days taking care of spring chores that will pay off in the months to come.

This is the perfect time to get out and prune your trees and bushes. Once they start to bud, you'll want to wait until fall. Pruning now ensures that you have healthy, well-shaped plants to frame your yard.

Homeowners often plant shrubs close to the house, for privacy as well as appearance. If your home doesn't have a gutter system, or if those gutters are clogged, you'll get a trench effect around the perimeter of the house where rain rushes off the roof. This deluge of water every time it rains can be tough on all plants, including flowers. It can also damage your home's foundation.

Installing a gutter system can help alleviate this problem, but choose carefully. "With a typical gutter and downspout system, much of the rain is often directed off the property," notes Bob Zuklie, vice president of Rainhandler, a company that manufactures a state-of-the-art rain dispersal system that converts the sheets of rainwater running off the roof to a 2- to 3-foot wide band of soft, rain-sized droplets sprinkling the landscape.

Invented by an M.I.T. aeronautical engineer, the system makes use of 100 percent of rain water to benefit your lawn and plantings. The design of the product's aluminum louvers also permits leaves and debris to simply blow away, since there is no gutter-like container, which makes Rainhandler self-cleaning and eliminates clogged, over-flowing gutters and downspouts. That means no climbing on ladders and roofs to clean gutters. In addition, if you live in a colder climate, the system eliminates destructive ice dams from frozen gutters.

In areas with summer water restrictions, the Rainhandler system provides a source of "free" water for lawns and gardens. This helps conserve water and saves on your water bill as well. Thinking about what and how you plant in your yard can also help you have a beautiful landscape with minimal work.

For example, using native plants that are adapted to the local climate means they'll need less attention to keep them looking good. Your local nursery can help you choose the best plants. Be sure to mulch around plants and trees to help retain moisture and cut down on watering.

Keeping a lawn green all summer takes lots of work (mowing, fertilizing, weeding) and lots of water. Consider transitioning your yard from grass to a prairie featuring hardy native plants. Or think about converting part of your yard into a vegetable garden.

Of course, any landscaping option will require at least some watering. Choose an appropriate irrigation system that makes the most of this natural resource. A drip irrigation system is great for flower beds and vegetable gardens, as it provides a deep, quenching watering that reaches the roots of the plants, giving them the moisture they need with less frequent watering. If you use a conventional sprinkler system, program it to run only as needed, and remember that a couple of longer soaks will be better for your lawn than a short burst of water every day.

For more information on the Rainhandler gutter system, visit www.rainhandler.com or call (800) 942-3004. You can also find the Rainhandler System on-line at Yahoo shopping and at Brookstone Hard to Find Tools.

Courtesy of ARA Content

For more information on collecting rain water to water your garden, please read this article on Simple Rainwater Harvesting.

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