Earlier this week in Part 1, we wrote about some different methods you can use to save water in your home. Today, we’re going to take the conversation outside and talk about how to cut down on consumption when it comes to your outdoor water usage.

Choose Native Plants

The first step to saving water in your yard is effectively planning your landscape. Use plants that are native to your area because they are adapted to exist easily in the climate, meaning they will likely require less watering, fertilization, and pesticides. Additionally, try to fill a lot of your yard space up with plants, trees, and shrubs rather than grass, which requires the most watering. Once you’ve chosen what kinds of plants you’ll be installing, be sure to group plants together that require similar amounts of watering so that you won’t end up overwatering any plants.

Install an Efficient Irrigation System

While manually watering your lawn has traditionally been the better option as far as conserving water, modern irrigation systems provide a variety of features to help cut down on unnecessary watering. Drip irrigation systems are the most efficient, but other types of systems come with efficiency options as well. Many sprinkler systems offer rain and soil-moisture sensors to ensure the lawn won’t be watered if it is already wet. Certain settings and timers can also be adjusted as needed based on seasonal usage requirements. When installing your sprinkler system, arrange the sprinkler heads in a way that does not shoot water onto sidewalks or any other areas that don’t require watering.

Fight Evaporation

The best time to water your lawn or plants is in the early morning; watering at night can cause bacteria and mold growth since the soil will be sitting damp in the dark for hours, and the afternoon heat can cause water to evaporate too quickly. Putting down mulch in your yard can help keep soil cool so that water has more time to sink in throughout the day rather that starting to evaporate once it gets warmer. Prevent pool water evaporation as well by covering your pool whenever it is not in use.

Wash Cars with a Bucket and Sponge Instead of a Hose

If you plan on washing your cars at home, use buckets of water instead of hosing your car down since buckets will limit the amount of water used. If you insist on using a hose, be sure to get one with an automatic shut-off nozzle so that no water is spraying out when you are not using it. When in doubt about your own water-saving abilities, visit a carwash—they are often relatively efficient, and they route their runoff to the appropriate facilities to prevent any potentially contaminated water from entering the city’s water supply through storm drains—an option you don’t have if you wash at home.

By taking just a few of the simple steps outlined in our water conservation blogs from this week, you can help save gallons of water each week. Because fresh water is such a precious commodity that we rely on so heavily, it is imperative to do your part in preserving it. 

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Sources: EPA; Forbes; HGTV; Natural Resource Defense Council.