Outdoor water use probably makes up 50-70% of your annual water bill. Here are some ways you can maximize the value of that water while reducing how much you need.
Put water ONLY where you need it:
- Not in the street, on the sidewalk, or the patio. Stop Water Waste!
- Not on succulents unless we get no rain for a long period of time. They'll get skinny-it's okay.
Be sure they are not on your drip system.
- Keep pool water in the pool through how you operate and landscape the pool area.
- Not in the wind. It blows away or evaporates.
- Not during the rain or just after it.
- Not during hot sunny hours of the day. It sizzles and evaporates.
- Turn it off if it runs off.
- Turn the sprinkler off if a probe goes 6-10 inches into lawn.
- Turn drip off when the probe goes down 18 inches into soil.
Manage Outdoor Water Requirements
Practice the seven xeriscape principles:
- Design for the use, the site, and the long term.
- Include low-water use plants of the right size.
- Plant lawn appropriately.
- Irrigate efficiently.
- Improve soil.
- Use mulch.
- Maintain appropriately.
Mow and fertilize appropriately to minimize water use.
- Apply nitrogen and iron monthly April–Sept. to Bermuda grass.
Prune prudently. Over-pruning invites disease and stimulates water-hogging growth.
Hire contractors with staff trained to save water, plants and your money!
Separate plants with different water requirements in space and on your irrigation system.
Manage Water Applications
Check your irrigation system out regularly. Check for leaks, missing parts, and parts that don't work. Replace or repair promptly.
Adjust timers on irrigation systems at least quarterly. Use Landscape Watering Guidelines [PDF] to set it.
If you are ready to refine these estimates, there are resources that will help you do so.
One is the daily Lawn Watering figure printed in the Arizona Republic above the map of the United States on the weather page.
The Arizona Meteorological Network's worksheets are another. The network measures evaporative water loss rates at stations around the state. Use figures from Waddell or Litchfield to compute how long to run your irrigation.
Protect Your Investment
They're okay! These plants protect themselves during dry spells by dropping their leaves.
Over-watering spurs growth that's too fast. Weak trees blow over; weak limbs snap.
Switching from lawn to Xeriscape?
Start when the Bermuda grass is growing strong, during the dog days of summer.
E-mail email@example.com or stop by City Hall for a free copy of Good Reasons to Take Out Your Grass to learn how to do it.
Check the plant palette and/or landscape guidelines for your community association.
Look at the hardy plants you see in rights-of-way. Low Water Use Drought Tolerant Plant List