Ways to Conserve Water Outdoors

Outdoor water usage can be twice that of indoor water usage. Much of that water usage is unnecessary.

Conserve Water OutdoorsImage of Plants
 

  • Use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard.
     
  • Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while under watering others.
     
  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and groundcovers appropriate to your site and region.
     
  • Plant species native to your region.
     
  • Plant in the spring and fall, when the watering requirements are lower.
     
  • Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
     
  • Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
     
  • Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
     
  • Use a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
     
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture, saving water, time and money.
     
  • Use 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
     
  • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant and save up to 550 gallons each year.
     
  • Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants and trees.
     
  • For automatic water savings, direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems to water-loving plants in your landscape.
     
  • Hire a qualified pro to install your irrigation system and keep it working properly and efficiently.
     
  • Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.
     
  • Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
     
  • If installing a lawn, select a lawn mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
     
  • Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every six inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.
     
  • If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don’t spring back up), then it is time to water.
     
  • Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.
     
  • While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
     
  • Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. 3/4 to 1 inch of water is enough to apply each time you irrigate.
     
  • Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
     
  • For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.
     
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time.
     
  • Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
     
  • Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
     
  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
     
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
     
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
     
  • Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants and errant sprinklers to property owners or to the Plainville Department of Public Works.
     
  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. Were a pipe to burst, this could save gallons of water and prevent damage.