Outdoor Water Conservation Tips

  • For the Lawn
  • In the Garden
  • Questions to think about for your current or proposed irrigation system:

    1. Do you have a rain sensor?
    2. Has your contractor proposed ways for you to reduce your water use?
    3. Do you have water efficient products such as drip irrigation and pressure regulated sprinklers?
    4. Is your contractor certified? To find out visit: http://www.irrigation.org/hirecertified External Link
    5. Does you irrigation system layout ensure spray heads and rotary style sprinklers are not combined on the same zone?
    6. July is Smart Irrigation month. For more information visit the Irrigation Association websiteExternal Link
    Around the Home

For the Lawn

  1. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street
  2. Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  3. Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.
  4. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
  5. Use the sprinkler for larger areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
  6. Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
  7. Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good shape.
  8. Don't water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways don't need water.
  9. Use a soaker hose to prevent wasteful runoff when watering grass on steep slopes,
  10. Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.
  11. Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don't water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of litres of water annually.
  12. Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops of water and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
  13. Be sure only to water plants when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  14. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.

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In the Garden

  1. Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  2. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  3. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation.
  4. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.
  5. Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs and ground cover with rock and granite mulching.
  6. Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.
  7. Water your plants deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  8. Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
  9. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed. While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption.
  10. Place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your hanging plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
  11. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  12. Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water.

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Around the Home

  1. Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  2. Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.
  3. Don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
  4. Periodically check your pool for leaks if you have an automatic refilling device.
  5. Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
  6. Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save litres of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
  7. Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.
  8. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  9. Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems. Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching.
  10. Use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most when the kids want to cool off.
  11. Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
  12. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  13. Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  14. Bathe your pets outdoors in an area in need of water.
  15. When backwashing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
  16. Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent from using the garbage disposal.
  17. When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don't throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.

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