Water Conservation Tips

birdbath in a naturescaped yard

Take a step by step approach to saving water in your landscape! Use the links below to scroll down to any of the water conservation sections.

How do we waste water?

We waste water when we ……

  • water too much. Excess water runs off the area, or through the soil past the plant’s roots.
  • water too little, and the plant dies.
  • water when it’s too hot, and surface water is lost to evaporation. Water early in the morning on hot days to prevent this.
  • water when it’s too windy, and lose water to wind spray and evaporation.
  • plant non-native plants that need constant summer irrigation!
Create Healthy Soil – add Organic Matter!

Adding organic matter to your soil is a simple and effective way to make the most of the water you use! Doing this will

Avoid using leaf blowers – they compact the surface of the soil making it difficult for water to soak in.
Right plant, right place Grouping plants with similar water needs together

You can save time, effort and lots of water by making sure you place plants in the right area!

Check out our Native Plant Database for detailed information on over 50 native groundcovers, shrubs and trees! Each listing will tell you the plant’s light and water requirements, mature size, wildlife supported and more.
Plant Native plants How do native plants help us save water?

Native plants have evolved here with our wet Winters and our dry Summers. They are also adapted to the soils of this region. What this means is that once they are established after a year or two, there is no need to water them. Imagine the plants in the forest – nobody is out there watering them!

If you have any questions about native plants or how to care for them, contact us!

Add mulch to surface of soil

Mulch moderates soil temperatures, keeping the ground temperature more stable. It also helps prevent weeds, adds nutrients as it breaks down, and retains moisture on dry summer days!

  • Organic mulch (from plant materials – bark mulch, compost, hazelnut shells etc) is generally better than inorganic mulch (such as rocks).
  • Organic mulch breaks down into beneficial nutrients and also doesn’t tend to heat up as much with the sun (the more heat, the more you need to irrigate)
How should I water my landscape?
  • Hand-watering usually only wets the surface, which can lead to shallow root systems.
  • Sprinklers allow you to walk away and water deeper, but you almost always end up watering areas that don’t need water – encouraging weeds and contributing to runoff.
  • Drip irrigation / soaker hoses deliver water right to the root system. They produce minimal evaporation, reduce weeds and encourage a deeper root system.
    • Maintaining drip systems for water efficiency:
      • Plant densely (don’t leave open ground), prune and weed regularly.
      • Check drip system for proper function and coverage.

No matter which device you use – utilize a timer!

  • Time watering to reduce evaporation:
    Cool temperature + still air = low evaporation= less water wasted
  • Early morning (or in the middle of the night if you have a timer) are the best times to water.
  • The water bureau recommends watering in the middle of the night instead of first thing in the morning so we avoid the morning shower rush. Makes sense – if we are all watering our landscapes at the same time that many of us are showering it can really put a drain on the City’s water system!
Amount of water per week

To water the most efficiently, keep an eye on the “weekly watering number”.
The Weekly Watering Number is the amount of water in inches that your lawn will need that week.  You can also use the Weekly Watering Number for watering other types of plants, by using these general guidelines while getting your plants established.

  • Shrubs: 50% of the Weekly Watering Number.
  • Perennials: 50% of the Weekly Watering Number.
  • Vegetables: 75% of the Weekly Watering Number (new starts may require more water).
  • Trees: Newly planted trees need regular watering for up to the first couple of years, while established trees may need a deep soak or two in summer.

Know your weekly watering number!

Bookmark this website to learn more and to keep a close eye on the weekly watering number.