Landscaping Water Conservation

Adopting landscaping water conservation methods like xeriscaping, drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and using native plants helps address water scarcity and enhances sustainability.

Water Efficiency Measures for Landscaping

  • Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation systems.
  • Use properly treated wastewater for irrigation where available.
  • Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Do not water on windy days.
  • Water trees and shrubs with deep root systems less frequently, but with larger amounts of water. Shallow-rooted plants, on the other hand, need smaller amounts of water more often.
  • Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only – not the street or sidewalk.
  • Use soaker hoses and trickle irrigation systems.
  • Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.


Landscape Maintainance

  • Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth.
  • Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.
  • Raise your lawn mower cutting height – longer grass blades help shade each other, cut down on evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
  • Minimize or eliminate fertilizing which requires additional watering, and promotes new growth which will also need additional watering.

Ornamental Water Features

  • Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs to indicate that water is recycled. Do not operate during a drought.

Learn how to create water-efficient rain gardens


Mulch can be any of several materials that help keep moisture in your soil and protect the roots of plants, including bark, stones, wood chips, etc.

Using mulch in your waterSmart landscaping plan is easier than you think, and it’s an important component to your xeriscaped yard.

Proper mulch is the key to:

  • Preventing water loss from your soil
  • Reducing the need for supplemental irrigation.
  • Finishing off the overall attractiveness of your landscape

Some mulches are more expensive than others, and some are more decorative.

Planting Tips:

  • Apply approximately three inches of mulch under ornamental plants in the landscape (avoid applying too much mulch because it encourages shallow roots)
  • Place newspapers on the soil under organic mulch at planting time to improve water conservation in the soil, thoroughly soak newspapers after applying mulch
  • Extend mulched areas two to three times the canopy spread of ornamental trees and shrubs
  • Once mulch is in place, use your hand to pull it back 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk of trees and shrubs (this will help prevent wood rotting diseases)

Maintenance Tips:

  • During periods of limited rainfall, make certain sufficient mulch is maintained beneath plants
  • Remove organic mulch from around plants and place newspapers two sheets thick on soil surfaces and reapply mulch (be sure to wet the newspapers thoroughly immediately after application or they may pull moisture from the soil)
  • Mulch conserves moisture by preventing evaporative water loss from the soil surface and reducing the need for supplemental irrigation during periods of limited infall.


It’s a big word for a simple idea – grouping plants together for productive growth with less water.

When you apply a few simple water-saving techniques to your landscaping plans, you can create beautiful landscapes with much less water than you think.

Adjust your thinking to the “lower water zone” and you’ll have beautiful lawns and gardens during times of drought, as well as times of normal rainfall. All it takes is a little research into the kinds of plants that stand up to tough conditions. Once you’ve done the research, just follow some simple steps. It’s inexpensive and anyone can do it. You don’t have to be an expert to plan a beautiful landscape.

Follow these seven simple steps, and you will be well on your way to a beautiful lawn and water-efficient landscape.

  • Step 1: Pull out the Sketchpad – Planning For Maximum Growth With Minimum Water
  • Step 2: Get Your Hands Dirty – Easy Ways to Evaluate Your Soil
  • Step 3: Pick the Right Plants – Choose Plants with Similar Water Needs and Plant Together
  • Step 4: Choose Your Turf – Find Out Which Grass is Best for Your Region
  • Step 5: Enter the Water Zone – Plan for Efficient Irrigation
  • Step 6: Apply the Finishing Touch – Use Mulch to Prolong the Life of Plants
  • Step 7: Test Your Green Thumb – Careful Maintenance for a Great-Looking Lawn

Know Your Turf Grasses