Outdoor Conservation


General Yard/Landscaping Tips

  • Use mulch, compost and wood chips as ground cover to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool.
  • Check the moisture content of the soil 6 to 8 inches below the surface. Use a soil moisture meter or screwdriver to test. Water only if the moisture meter registers "dry" or if the screwdriver doesn’t go in easily.
  • Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
  • Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.
  • Wait for fall to put new plants in the ground. Spring is the second best time to plant.
  • Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete for nutrients, light, and water.
  • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs, and ground cover with rock and granite mulching.

Efficient Irrigation Tips

  • Water all plants deeply but infrequently to encourage deeper, healthier rooting.
  • Irrigate according to the requirements of the plants, not on a fixed schedule.
  • Install water-efficient landscaping.
  • Don’t water when it’s windy or raining.
  • Never water in a way that it will drain into the gutter.
  • Check monthly for leaks in outside pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings.
  • Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching.
  • Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.
  • Never allow a hose to run continuously.
  • When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
  • While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
  • Use a spray nozzle with a shut-off handle on your hose.
  • Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.
  • Water your lawn and landscaping before dawn or after the sun sets when there’s less evaporation.
  • Adjust your sprinklers so they don’t spray on sidewalks, driveways or streets.
  • Check or readjust your automatic sprinkler timer at least once a month during the watering season.
  • Get a rain barrel. Use recycled rain water to water your lawn.
  • Build a rain gauge. The average lawn needs one inch of water per week to survive.
  • Use greywater on your landscaping.
  • Don’t water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways don’t need water.
  • Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.
  • Resist the temptation to water when it’s hot out. The hotter it is, the more water you lose to evaporation.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.

For Your Lawn

  • Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
  • Use a soil moisture meter before you water. Water only when it reads "dry." Don’t have a soil moisture meter? Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don’t water.
  • 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.
  • Set lawn mower blades one notch higher since longer grass reduces evaporation.
  • Leave grass clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
  • Aerate your lawn so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  • Never water grass if the soil is still wet.
  • Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • Use the sprinkler for larger areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.

Miscellaneous Outdoor Water Conservation Tips

  • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
  • 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.
  • Use a broom and a blower to clean off your driveway, walkways, patio, or balcony instead of a hose.
  • Don’t allow children to play with the hose.
  • Take your car to a car wash that recycles its wash water.
  • Report water waste to the DWP so that we can address problems quickly and educate all of our residents and visitors.
  • If washing your car, use a bucket of water,a sponge and  a spray hose nozzle with a shut-off function.
  • Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.
  • Put your garden in a greenhouse.

If You Have a Pool

  • Use a cover to cut down evaporation.
  • Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.
  • Repair any swimming pool leaks.
  • Manually clean your filter. You’ll do a more thorough job and use less water. The average backwash uses between 250 to 1,000 gallons of water.

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