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Using Less Water in the Yard


View a water conservation tip from the city of Denver.

Did you know…?

  • Watering yards uses almost half the water we produce in the summer months!
  • Water out of the hose is the same water that comes out of the faucet. 
  • Statistics say that most people apply more water to their landscape than is needed.
  • In addition to wasting water and money, overwatering can do as much damage to your landscape as too little!
  • Deep roots are key to a healthy lawn. 

Four steps to a Healthier Landscape

  1. Add 3-4 inches of compost onto the top foot of soil.  It improves soil texture and water-holding capacity while providing nutrients for plants.
  2. Plant the right plants.  Sun-lovers need sun and shade-lovers need shade.  Don’t intermix water-needy plants with those that like their feet dry.  Ask your nursery person for assistance to get the right plants for your site.
  3. Mulch plants.  Whether you use compost, wood chips, gravel or anything else, mulching helps to keep the water you applied from evaporating as quickly and it keeps down soil temperature.  It also keeps weeds down or at least easier to pull when they do appear, besides giving planting beds a nice, clean appearance.
  4. Water wisely.  That means wetting the root zone.  For lawns and most landscape plants that means getting the water down 6-8 inches.  To ensure water is getting down far enough, stick a flat shovel straight down into the soil and pull it aside enough to be able to reach in to feel if the root zone is wet.  If you have added the compost to your soil, that amount of water will take up to a week to dry out before you need to water again.   Most landscapes do fine with one inch of water a week.

root depth 

How to measure that. 

Place some tuna cans or measuring cups out in the path of your sprinkler then turn your sprinkler on for 15 minutes.  Measure the depth of water in the cans.  Chances are that the amounts will vary.  Sprinklers generally do not disperse the water very evenly but it will give you an idea of approximately how long to run your sprinkler to apply one inch of water.  It is best to water deeply and then let the soil dry out again before applying more water.  This encourages plant roots to grow deeper in search of water.   Deeper roots make healthier, hardier, more drought-resistant plants.