Join the official #SaveOurWater campaign and learn what you can do at home and in the backyard to conserve. Gardening tips for the drought, favorite drought tolerant plants, and landscaping with no lawn. Links to rebates, apps, and more resources.
Did you know that the typical Californian uses much more water outdoors than indoors?
Watering the lawn, washing cars and cleaning off the driveway and patio use much more water than you might think.
Environmental problems, the pressures of a growing population and the effects of climate change are making it extremely difficult to keep water flowing reliably to our economy, our environment, our farms and our communities.
Our state is facing one of the most severe droughts in its history.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to save water in our daily lives. Just as Californians have energy efficient light bulbs and recycling, we can adopt habits to reduce our water use inside and outside our homes on a daily basis.
Simple changes to our behavior, such as watering only when your landscape needs it or using a broom instead of the hose on the driveway add up to big water savings.
Saving water doesn't have to involve the cost and inconvenience of tearing up your yard to install a new irrigation system. It's easy to save water and reduce your utility bills with simple changes to your landscaping routine.
LANDSCAPE TO SUIT YOUR LOT Choose grass or plants that have low water requirements and will thrive in your local climate. Consider your lot’s exact features, including sun and shade, dry and damp areas, plant size, and how you plan to use each section of your yard. Use THIS LIST I've compiled to help select appropriate drought tolerant plants for your landscape, try MyNativePlants to develop your customized California native plant pallette, or Sunset's online Plant Finder.
KEEP SOIL HEALTHY
Aerating your lawn and around trees at least once a year helps improve water penetration. When planting, turn and cultivate the soil and add compost or fertilizer to improve moisture retention and grow healthier plants that need less water to stay strong.
MULCH WELL AROUND PLANTS, BUSHES AND TREES Using 2 to 4 inches of mulch reduces evaporation, moderates spikes and lows in soil temperatures, improves water penetration and helps control weeds that compete for water. Many cities and organizations offer programs for free MULCH and COMPOST pick-up.
"HYDRO-ZONE" YOUR YARD Grouping plants with similar moisture needs in the same area makes it easier to make sure they get the water they need without overwatering. Separate plants from grassy areas, which have different water requirements. Use this free WEB APP to find the water needs of your plants based on your location, and create a customized water-use plant pallette.
PLANT IN SPRING OR FALL Avoid summer, when hotter temperatures mean plants need more water to become established.
SAVE GRASS FOR FUNCTIONAL AREAS
Plant grass in play zones and other areas where it will be used and enjoyed. Instead of planting turf on sleep slopes or other hard-to-water spaces, consider ground cover, perimeter plants or mulch. You may consider removing some of your lawn, and should take advantage of available REBATES (see links below).
PLANT SHADE TREES
The shade they cast creates natural “air-conditioning,” lowering air and soil temperatures, and reducing soil moisture loss.
MAINTAIN YOUR YARD A well-maintained yard requires less water, so weed, prune and mow as needed.
Today’s irrigation systems include sophisticated controllers that allow you to easily adjust watering schedules to fit different needs.
GET IN THE ZONE
Schedule each individual hydro-zone in your irrigation system to account for type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure, and soil in that section. Different zones will almost always need different watering schedules.
CONSIDER SOIL TYPE
Type of soil determines how quickly water can be absorbed without runoff. Watering more than soil can absorb causes runoff and waste.
DON'T SEND WATER DOWN THE DRAIN
Set sprinklers to water plants, not your driveway, sidewalk, patio or buildings. New regulations that include fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water are taking effect in California. The State Water Resources Control Board approved the rules earlier this month, making it illegal for people to hose down driveways and sidewalks, create run-off while watering lawns and landscapes, and wash vehicles using a hose without a shut-off nozzle.
WATER ONLY WHEN NEEDED
Saturate root zones and let the soil dry. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus.
WATER AT THE BEST TIME Watering during the heat of the day may cause losses of up to 30 percent due to evaporation. Prevent water loss by watering when the sun is low or down, winds are calm and temperatures are cool — typically between the evening and early morning.
WATER MORE OFTEN, FOR SHORTER PERIODS
For example, setting your system to run for three, 5-minute intervals lets soil absorb more water than watering for 15 minutes at one time, reducing runoff. Use THIS CHART as a basis for your watering schedule.
ADAPT WATERING TO THE SEASON Familiarize yourself with the settings on your irrigation controller and adjust the watering schedule regularly based on seasonal weather conditions, or invest in a smart controller so your system can make these changes automatically. Use this FREE APPby ETWater to create a customized irrigation schedule based on your location and conditions.
TAKE A CLASS Find an event with Bay Friendly, or sign-up with BAWSCA for info on Landscape Education classes designed introduce homeowners, commercial property managers, landscape service providers, and others to the concepts of water-efficient and sustainable landscaping.
A large tree, growing to 50 ft. tall with a broad dense crown. The branches are covered with a smooth mahogony colored bark which exfoliates in late summer to expose the next year's cinnamon colored bark. The dark green leathery foliage flushes bronze with new growth spring through summer. Pendulous clusters of urn-shaped white and pink flowers are produced year-round. The fruit that follows is edible with a gritty texture and flavor likened to a mixture of kiwi and strawberry.
Pineapple Guava - Feijoa sellowiana
A versatile, easy to grow landscape shrub, yielding edible flowers and tropical fruit! Fleshy white flower petals have showy red accents, contrasting nicely with the gray green foliage. Tasty guava-like fruit ripens in late fall. Multiple, upright branching form is easily trained as espalier, hedge or small specimen tree.
Lavandula - Lavender
An attractive, mounding evergreen perennial 2'-3' tall, it displays showy slender spikes of lavender flowers for much of the year. Once established, its needs only occasional watering. Useful as hedge or edging in herb garden. Crush the flowers to use in sachets or potpourri!
A Popular, drought tolerant grass that forms neat 4'x3' clumps of purplish maroon blades topped by rose red flower spikes summer through fall. Once established, it needs only occasional watering. Beautiful as landscape specimen or planted in groups.
LOOK, NO LAWN!
This summer's featured landscape...
without a single blade of grass.
A common question my clients ask me is “what can I do in place of a lawn?”. Other than spreading bark mulch, planting walk-on groundcover, or a installing a turf putting green, there are endless features and use area that can replace a water thirsty lawn.
This front entrance in Livermore was transformed into a beautiful and inviting front entrance using materials that compliment the style of the home and the personality of the homeowners. We increased the size of their front porch to accommodate family and social gatherings, and paved the area with tile for a seamless finished look.
Stucco terraced planters and Connecticut Bluestone walkways flanked by Calistoga boulders add just the right amount of detail, well proportioned to the scale of the house and size of the property. Plants with a variety of seasonal color and texture provide year around interest.
My clients are happy that there isn’t a single blade of grass in their front yard!
MORE DROUGHT RESOURCES
Get FREE water saving devices for your home, water conservation REBATES, and FREE recycled landscaping water from EBMUD, Zone 7, DSRSD, & ACWD
Learn about WHERE your water comes from, and more about how you use it in your HOME