Outdoor Tips

Conserve Water Outside


Visit our Water Wise Landscaping section to find resources to start developing your very own California friendly landscape. Schedule a consultation, sign up for a class, or just contact us to ask questions. In the meantime, you can follow these helpful suggestions:
  • Add mulch to your landscape! CBWCD makes it easy by providing free mulch. Learn more about free mulch on this page.
  • Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose when washing your car. Fill a bucket with water to wash, and then do a quick rinse at the end. Even better, take your car to an automated car wash that recycles the water.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Doing this once a week will save up to 600 gallons per month.
  • Visit letspooltogether.com to get some tips on saving water with your pool and hot tub.

Note for Drought 2016: Summer Landscaping


If you are interested in replacing your lawn with drought tolerant plants, the months of June through September are not the best time to install new plants. Drought tolerant plants use less water once established, but the first year of their installation requires regular watering. You will end up using the same amount of water as with turf, and likely losing plants, if you put them in during this time frame.

However, you can take steps to remove your lawn this summer. Instead of planting right away, you can apply a 3-4" layer of mulch to conserve moisture. Then plant in the cooler fall months to help plants get a 'leg up' with winter rains before the summer again.

These handouts will give you more information for installing your own water wise landscape:

Outdoor Irrigation Tips
  • Water your lawn in the early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation.
  • Do not water on windy days or at windy times of day. In our area, the late afternoon tends to get windy, so try to water earlier or later.
  • Watch the weather -- teach the family how to turn off an automatic sprinkler system in case a storm comes up during the sprinkling cycle.
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it, which is much less than you think! Most people over-water their lawns, and the symptoms of over-watering can look the same as under-watering. You can test your grass: Step on your lawn. If your grass springs back, it doesn't need water. If the footprint remains, it's time to water.
  • Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn and not on the sidewalk. This will save up to 1,700 gallons per month.
  • Stop water runoff by allowing water to infiltrate. This is especially necessary for slopes and areas with clayey soil. Cut your watering time into smaller increments: Instead of watering for 15 minutes, water for five to eight minutes, wait 30 to 45 minutes and water again for five to eight minutes.
  • Tune up your sprinklers on a monthly basis. Gardeners, water pressure, and garden pests can mis-align and break sprinklers, causing major water waste.
  • Change your irrigation times seasonally or, better yet, monthly.
  • Best of all, plant a California Friendly water-wise garden. See our Water Wise Landscaping section or visit the Metropolitan Water District's website.