In the Yard
Even the smallest of changes to your water use can have a meaningful impact over the course of the year. Consider the following recommendations to enhance your own yard-care habits and to increase the efficiency of your yard itself.
Around the Yard
- Sweep your driveway with a broom rather than using a hose to clean it.
- Do not let the water run continuously when washing your car. Use a bucket full of soapy water with a sponge, and then rinse quickly with a hose.
- Consider how much you will use your pool before filling it. Look back to your usage last year to see if it’s worthwhile.
- Use a pool cover when your pool is not in use to reduce evaporation and cleaning requirements.
- In the hot summer months, allow grass to grow a little longer. Longer grass roots will grow deeper, reducing the evaporation from soil and, therefore, the need to water frequently.
- Watering: Lawns not watered in the summer will go dormant and “golden”, but will rebound once fall rains come. If a lawn is to be walked or played on frequently, it should be watered during the summer months to handle this extra wear and tear.
- Only water as necessary. Your lawn only needs 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water per week. Remember to water in the morning or evening according to the City of Chilliwack Watering Restrictions. This will ensure water is not lost due to evaporation. Also consider setting up a rain barrel for your watering needs.
- Angle your sprinkler so the spray lands only on your garden or grass, not on the sidewalk or street.
- Stop brush cuts. Improper mowing practices cause problems for your lawn. Raise your mower blades so they leave grass about 7 to 8 cm (3 inches) high. Make sure your mower blades are sharp. Don’t mow if it is very dry or wet. Leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. They add vital nutrients back into the soil.
- Fertilizer. When to fertilize depends on climate, grass type and the fertilizer being used. You should only fertilize when your lawn in actively growing. Use organic or organic based fertilizers to keep your soil properly balanced for year round health. Improper mowing practices cause problems for your lawn. Raise your mower blades so they leave grass about 7 to 8 cm (3 inches) high. Make sure your mower blades are sharp. Don’t mow if it is very dry or wet. Leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. They add vital nutrients back into the soil.
Flower and Vegetable Gardens
Gardeners need to know how much water is enough to keep plants healthy. Several factors will help to determine your plantings’ water needs, including soil type and rate of absorption, weather conditions, plant types, location, soil condition and depth of mulch. While water needs may vary, generally plants need about 2.5 com (1 inch of water) per week in the form of rainfall or irrigation.
- Find out what type of soil you have. Different soils absorb water at different rates which can cause over or under watering. Sandy soils absorb water much faster than clay soils but also do not retain water and dry out much faster.
- Water uniformly. If using a hose with a spray nozzle, adjust the flow rate so water is entering at a rate the soil can absorb.
- Put mulch around shrubs and plants to retain moisture, and dig a shallow basin around trees and shrubs to prevent runoff. Lay down about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) of mulch around plantings and garden areas. A fine textured mulch or soil conditioner such as bark, compost, leaf mulch, hay, or wood chips should be used to help absorb and retain the moisture.
- If ordering bulk soil, ask that the organic matter content be increased by 25% for improved water and growing conditions.
- Water at the root of plants, not in bare areas or into the air. Consider watering your garden by hand or installing a drip irrigation system (small perforated tubing which directs water to the roots of your plants).
- Plant native species or low water use plants. Check with local gardening stores to determine which species are drought resistant and suited to local conditions.