Choosing the right plants, supporting soil health, and proper maintenance are all keys to water-smart landscapes.
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- Go native or choose plants that need less water. Once established, native and low water-using plants require little water beyond normal rainfall. If you’re designing a new landscape or just sprucing up your current landscape, be sure to consider the water needs of the plants you choose.
- Group plants according to their water needs. Grouping vegetation with similar watering needs into specific “hydrozones” reduces water use by allowing you to water to each zone’s specific needs. Turf areas and shrub areas should always be separated into different hydrozones because of their differing water needs.
- Maintain healthy soils. Healthy soils are the basis for a water-smart landscape; they effectively cycle nutrients, minimize runoff, retain water, and absorb excess nutrients, sediments, and pollutants.
- Be selective when adding turf areas. Turfgrass receives the highest percentage of irrigation water in traditional landscaping. To improve the aesthetics of your landscape and better manage outdoor water use, plant turfgrass only where it has a practical function.
- Water wisely. Know your plant’s water needs and avoid watering during the heat of the day. If you have an irrigation system, make regular adjustments to ensure proper watering. Consider using irrigation systems such as drip, micro-spray, or soaker, which reduce the amount of wasted water.
- Use mulch. Incorporate mulch around shrubs and garden plants to help reduce evaporation, inhibit weed growth, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion. Adding organic matter and aerating soil can improve its ability to hold water.
- Provide regular maintenance. Replace mulch around shrubs and garden plants at least once per year, and remove weeds and thatch as necessary. Inspect and repair any leaks or broken irrigation.