Minimizing the area of your yard by planting trees and plants native to your region, part of a technique called xeriscaping, can help you save money by keeping your lawn green without constant watering.
Cut back on the size of your lawn, says Eric Liskey, deputy editor at Better Homes and Gardens magazine. "It's the most maintenance intensive, water-hungry kind of thing you can have in your yard," he says.
Instead, Liskey recommends planting drought-tolerant plants that can get by better on natural rain and more sporadic watering.
"Focus on drought-tolerant plants," Liskey says. "Most nurseries and garden centers now will highlight that."
The savings can be big. One estimate by the University of Illinois Extension puts the amount of water a lawn needs to stay green in summer at 1 inch of water per week, which translates to an average of about 2,500 gallons of water per week to keep a 4,000 square-foot lawn green, assuming no rainfall. If you pay $3 per 1,000 gallons, that's almost $400 per year to water your lawn. Xeriscaping cuts that in half, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, making the savings almost $200 per year.