Saving Water Outdoors

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Did you know?

In urban areas of Texas, about 40 - 50% of drinking water is used for landscape watering. Much of this water is used to maintain high water demanding landscapes or is applied inefficiently. See how much water a sprinkler system can use.

Here are 6 ways to reduce outdoor water use:

  1. Spruce up your sprinkler. Inspect your irrigation system monthly to check for leaks, broken or clogged heads, and other problems, or engage a licensed irrigation professional to regularly check your system. Watch the video on Irrigation Basics to learn how to maintain your system and follow the simple steps for an Irrigation Check-up.
  2. Cycle and soak. Our Texas clay soil is great for retaining water deep down where your lawn’s roots need moisture to grow. To maximize the potential for this clay soil, consider using the “Cycle and Soak” method to apply water slowly so the soil actually absorbs all the water that is applied. Watch the video on Cycle and Soak Watering and follow the simple steps to set your system to cycle and soak.
  3. Cut high and let lie. A taller grass in the summer provides shade to surrounding grass blades to reduce water loss and protect from the hot sun. Let your grass clippings lie on the lawn after mowing to provide valuable nutrients to your lawn. Check out specific guidance on how high to cut your grass and other lawn care topics.
  4. Right plant (or grass) right place. Low-water using landscapes don't have to look like deserts! For resources and tools to assist in making water conserving plant selections right for your garden, visit the Texas Smartscape website.
  5. Use compost and mulch. Add compost to the soil before planting to create a nutrient rich soil that holds moisture, allows better root penetration, and releases water and nutrients to plant roots. Mulch around plants and shrubs to keep soil temperature constant, reduce evaporation and prevent weed growth. Consider using Texas Pure Products when purchasing compost and mulch for your landscape.
  6. Convert to drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method and can be installed as a separate zone or you can convert an existing popup spray head zone to drip. Classes on drip irrigation are offered by the City of Plano and Texas AgriLife during the spring and summer months.

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Protecting Foundations

The clay-like soil found throughout North Texas can contract and expand in response to moisture changes. As the soil shrinks it no longer provides support for a foundation and can cause structural stress and damage, which can reveal itself through cracks in the soil and dirt pulling away from the foundation. When watering the soil around the foundation, place soaker hoses or drip irrigation 6 - 18 inches away from the foundation and water to a depth of 8 - 10 inches.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center provides additional information on Protecting Foundations Under Dry Conditions.