Dear Ida B. Green,
I have cut down on my bluegrass lawn and put in a patio and some xeric gardens that require little water, but I'm still getting bigger water bills than I'd expected.
Decreasing the number of water-thirsty plants while increasing your water-thrifty and no-water areas are great physical changes to make in reducing your water bills. Now comes the hard stuff. If your new gardens have been established in place for the past two summers and you've already converted them to drip irrigation, all that's left is to start treating your yard like the grown-up xeric yard it can be.
You need to do your part to help your plants actually become low-water plants. It's important to water less often and more deeply to develop plants, including grass, that can prosper with low watering in our dry summer heat. Less frequent, deep (longer) watering will prompt roots to grow deeper to draw water from a greater area, which is crucial to a healthy, low-maintenance lawn and garden.
I know it's hard, but wait until you see slight signs of stress in your plants and lawn and then wait to give them a good soak between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. They'll do fine and you'll have healthier, drought-tolerant plants along with your lower water bill.
Keep it Green,