Landscaping to Conserve Water

If you can determine how much water your plants actually need, then you won't over-water them and waste water.


  • Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry, it's time to water.
  • Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  • Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.
  • Look for WaterSense® labeled irrigation controllers.
  • Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
  • Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • Signs of overwatering: Leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.
  • Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  • Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
  • Water dry spot by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.
  • Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it's needed.
  • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
  • Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
  • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.
  • Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
  • Spring is a great time to give your irrigation system a checkup to ensure it's working efficiently.
  • Pruning properly can help your plants use water more efficiently.