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Living Green

Backyard Water-Saving Tips

Source: The Toro Company
11/5/2008
Untitled Document Backyard Water-Saving Tips

Efficient watering and common sense saves this precious resource

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than seven billion gallons per day. Irrigation experts estimate that up to 50 percent of water used for landscape irrigation may be lost due to over-watering, evaporation, or bad irrigation system design/maintenance. Here are several things you can do to conserve water right in your own backyard:

  • Know and follow the watering restrictions in your community.
  • Install drip irrigation systems around your shrubs, hanging baskets, and flower and vegetable gardens. Delivering water right to the plant roots is the most efficient way to conserve.  Drip irrigation uses up to 50% less water than conventional sprinklers.
  • Install a home irrigation system. Watering efficiently, and only when your plants and lawn need it, can save a great deal of water.


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  • If you already have a home irrigation system, make sure you’re getting the most out of your timer. New technology makes it easier than ever to program and monitor your watering needs. Consider upgrading your timer and check with your local water agency to identify systems that offer water-saving technology. Automatic, programmable timers save more water than mechanical models.
  • Make sure your irrigation system has a rain sensor that shuts off the watering program when it rains.
  • Think longer, infrequent run times. Deep watering, less often, promotes good root growth.
  • Know your soil type. Different types of soil have different watering needs.
  • Raise the blade on your lawn mower. Closely cut grass requires more water.
  • Don’t fertilize during hot, dry weather — applying fertilizer can enhance drought problems. When you do feed your lawn and garden use a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Make sure you’re watering early in the morning to reduce evaporation. (Before 6 a.m. local time is best if your city regulations allow.)


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  • Recycle your grass clippings back into your lawn by using a mulching mower. You’ll not only conserve water, but you’ll save time while mowing.
  • Choose drought-tolerant plants for your landscaping. Picking plants that are native to your climate can reduce watering needs.
  • Put a layer of mulch around your plants to retain moisture. A generous amount of three to five inches is best.
  • If you use a hose and portable sprinkler, purchase a hose end timer to regulate your water use.
  • Sweep your sidewalks and driveway rather than hosing them down.
  • When you’re washing your car, turn the hose off between rinses.

Print Date: 2/18/2020
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