Make Every Water Drop Count

Much of the water applied to lawns and gardens never makes it to plant roots. To make the most of every drop, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Mulch to reduce evaporation from soil surface.
  • Repair leaky faucets and hoses. Even small leaks waste lots of water.
  • Water deeply but less often encourages deep roots and prevents diseases. Moistening the soil a little deeper than the roots grow draws them deeper—which is particularly important in the first 1 to 2 years after planting. Let the top few inches of soil dry before watering again so roots and soil life can breathe.
  • Water early or late in the day to minimize evaporation, and when the wind is calm.
  • Use timers to limit watering and make early morning irrigation convenient.
  • Split watering into two or more applications, a few hours apart, to prevent runoff. This is especially helpful on dry, compacted or clay soils, or slopes and berms.
  • Use efficient watering systems
    • Use drip irrigation, micro-sprays or soaker hoses on all plants except lawns.
    • Choose sprinklers with spray patterns that match the shape of your lawn or garden.
      • Use rotating or oscillating lawn sprinklers, not fixed sprays—except for properly designed, installed and maintained automatic irrigation systems.
      • Use sprinklers that apply water slowly enough so soil can absorb it without running off. If puddling occurs, run sprinklers for a short time, then turn them off and allow water to soak in before resuming watering.
      • Place sprinklers to avoid watering driveways, sidewalks or walls.
      • Adjust sprinklers to prevent fine misting that just blows away.

More Smart Watering information here. Thanks to the City of Seattle Public Utilities for developing this brochure and allowing Snohomish County to reproduce it. 

Also, check out the resources found on our Lawns to Lettuce page from watering, mulching, composting, rain gardens, and more!