If your tenants are responsible for paying utilities, specifically water, or you pay the water bill every month, one way or the other the rent charged reflects that responsibility. If they pay, the rent is lower and if you pay the rent a bit higher to cover utility costs.

You can ask your tenants to be carefulxeriscape your lawn and conserve water and install low-flush toilets and water-saving showerheads. That helps. But if your single family rental has a yard, you can save plenty by xeriscaping your lawn. How do you do that?

Xeriscaping your lawn means getting rid of or otherwise reducing the footprint of grass and other water-craving plants. You don’t need to entirely get rid of all plants, but any reduction will certainly help. As much as 50 percent of your water bill can be attributed to lawn care. Sprinkler systems are more efficient and can be timed to water in the wee hours of the morning when there is less heat, but now that winter is here, or at least it certainly feels like it, it’s time to reevaluate your lot.

Different types of grass will consume more or less water. Research the types of grass that will both survive in your geographical area while needing less water. Your local gardener can provide you with various options. Don’t get rid of your entire lawn and replace it with rocks or gravel. In the warmer months, these rocks will increase the surface temperature of the lawn. Instead, xeriscape in areas that are difficult to water or otherwise maintain. For example, areas near fences often lack proper irrigation. Sloping areas allow water to run off with less soaking into the ground. When watering, if the driveway and sidewalks get a decent soaking every time the sprinkler system is on, xeriscape the areas near impervious cover and reposition the sprinklers to water where there is need.

There are so many ways to xeriscape a lawn, saving hundreds in utility bills while helping preserve precious water. This is something you can do yourself with a little guidance from the hardware and garden store. When you’re done, you’ll find your yard not only uses less water but is more attractive as well.