Outdoors

Lawn and Garden

  • Lawns and gardens require no more than 35 millimetres (1 ¾ inch) of water each week during warmer months and much less during spring and fall or periods of cooler summer weather.
  • Water lawns every three to five days, applying five millimetres of water for each day since the last day of watering during warmer weather. Place a can in the area being irrigated and measure the time it takes for the appropriate amount of water to accumulate. This will establish a time pattern for future sprinkling.
  • When grass starts to develop a black tinge along the tips, it's time to water. Blackening does not hurt grass and recovery is nearly immediate. Browning does damage grass.
  • Over-compensating for anticipated dry periods is ineffective when it comes to watering a lawn because the soil cannot retain extra water.
  • Use timers whenever possible and never run an errand and leave manual sprinklers unattended at the home. Timers are relatively affordable and readily available at most local hardware stores.
  • Invest in a rain sensor that will automatically turn off the irrigation system if it rains, and restore its operation when dry weather returns.
  • Water in the early morning or late in the evening as opposed to the hotter times of the day. Watering on windy days is also ineffective because spray dissipates over a wide area and therefore evaporates more quickly.
  • Keep the length of grass at around 6.5 centimetres (2 ½ inches). Shorter grass will brown or burn faster during hot weather conditions.
  • Young or freshly transplanted garden plants typically need less water, not extra during each watering. However, until they are established, they will need to be watered more often. Please refer to the watering instructions that come with the plant.
  • Plant trees and shrubs that are indigenous to a semiarid climate such as the Okanagan as opposed to a rainforest-like climate such as the coast. This drought-tolerant method of landscaping is referred to as xeriscaping.
  • Consider plantings that will provide additional shade and keep lawn-covered areas of the yard a little cooler during hot, dry spells.
  • Most shrubs and trees need water only 1 time per week, even in warm weather.
  • Reduce car washing, and when it is necessary use a bucket of soapy water, and a hose with an automatic shut off nozzle.
  • Use a broom or blower to clean driveways, patios and sidewalks rather than a hose.
  • Refrain from letting your children play with the hose and sprinklers.
  • Reduce your lawn cover to as little as 1/4 of your yard. Conversely, expand mulched beds, trees, vines and other ground cover to 3/4 of your yard.
  • Use mulch! Mulch retains moisture, cools the ground, and reduces watering requirements.