Reduce Your Use: Outdoor

Most Californians think that they use more water indoors than outdoors. Typically, the opposite is true. In some areas, 50% or more of the water we use daily goes on lawns and outdoor landscaping. There are lots of ways to save water at home, but reducing the water you use outdoors can make the biggest difference of all. Here are a few easy ways to change the way you use water outside your home.

Know the Basics

• Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler. You save: 25 gallons/each time you water.

• Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. You save: 15-12 gallons/each time you water.

• Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers. You save: 15 gallons/each time you water.

• Water deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.

• Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool. Organic mulch also improves the soil and prevents weeds. You save: 20-30 gallons/each time you water/1,000 sq. ft.

• Plant drought-resistant trees and plants. You save: 30- 60 gallons/each time you water/1,000 sq. ft

Don’t Overwater

One easy way to cut down how much water you use outdoors is to learn how much water your landscaping actually needs in order to thrive. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people make.

Know Your Climate

One way to save water outdoors is to plant the right plants for your climate. Here are some tools to help you learn how to be a water-wise gardener:  

Outdoor Cleanup

Water is often a go-to tool for outdoor clean-up jobs.

• Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios. You save: 8-18 gallons /minute.

• Wash cars/boats with a bucket, sponge, and hose with self-closing nozzle. You save: 8-18 gallons/minute.

• Invest in a water broom. If you have to use water to clean up outside, a water broom will attach to your hose but uses a combination of air and water pressure to aid cleaning. Water brooms can use as little as 2.8 gallons per minute (gpm) to remove dirt, food spills, leaves, and litter from concrete and asphalt while a standard hose typically uses 5 to 20 gpm.

For more information on water-wise sprinklers, visit Sprinklers 101.