Outdoor Conservation Tips
General Yard/Landscaping Tips
- Use mulch, compost and wood chips as ground cover to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool.
- Don’t worry about the dryness of the top inch of soil. Instead 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 with other plants 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.
- 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.
- If washing your car at home, use a bucket of water and sponge and use a spray nozzle with a shut-off handle on your hose to rinse.
- 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, driveway or street.
- 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
- 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. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart 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.
- Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
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.
- Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.
- Put your garden in a greenhouse. A greenhouse naturally recycles a portion of the water put into it.
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.