Saving Water Outdoors

Did you know?

Efficient water use is critical for a healthy and clean environment. Fish, trees, and animals depend on wise use of our limited water supplies. Use the following tips to save water (and money) outdoors.

Lawn & Garden

Water use can more than double in the summer as people water their lawns and gardens.

If you must water, do so in short repeated bursts for best absorption, especially on slopes or compacted soils. Don't waste valuable water from your sprinkler system by letting it run off your garden onto paths and roads.

To reduce water loss from evaporation, water the lawn in the early morning or late evening. Avoid watering during the heat of the day or when it is windy.

Install a trickle or drip irrigation system for a slow, steady supply of water to plant roots.

Water only when needed depending on plant and soil type. One inch of water a week, including rainfall, is all your lawn needs.

Water root areas of your plants to encourage hardiness.

Place a 2" to 4" layer of mulch around plants and trees to avoid loss of water from the soil through evaporation.

Use native and drought-adapted plants when landscaping your yard: these plants usually require less care and water. Consider installing plants that don't require supplemental watering once they are established.

Fall is great time to add plants to your garden. Cooler air and warm soil help plants develop strong root systems well ahead of our dry summers: healthy roots make for more drought-tolerant, disease-resistant plants and autumn rains will water your new plants for you. Many nurseries have fall plant sales, but before you head to your nursery to find great deals, know what your garden has to offer these plants, such as:

  • average conditions (full sun to partial shade, good drainage and sandy loam soil)
  • dry shade (sometimes under conifers or eaves)
  • dry sun (eight hours of full sun per day in the summer)
  • naturally moist (sunny or shady spots that are moist year 'round without watering)

If you match your plants and garden well, your plants will flourish without excessive watering, pesticides or fertilizers. To learn more about how you can have a healthy, beautiful garden, look for our quarterly Savvy Gardener e-newsletter at


Use a broom to clean walkways and driveways--not a water hose. Watering the sidewalk, gutter and street wastes water. Clean gutters and downspouts manually rather than hosing them down. Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle along with a bucket of soapy water to wash the car.