In addition to the following tips, visit www.bayfriendly.org. Bay-Friendly is a holistic approach to gardening and landscaping that works in harmony with the natural conditions of the San Francisco Bay Watershed. Bay-Friendly practices foster soil health, conserve water and other valuable resources while reducing waste and preventing pollution.
Want to see what a water-wise landscape can look like? Visit the drought-tolerant gardens in the Livermore Valley Wine Country. Find a map of the gardens at Master Gardener Map.
Ready to replace your water-thirsty lawn with sustainable, drought-tolerant landscaping? Livermore Municipal Water and the California Water Service Company is participating with Tri-Valley water wholesaler Zone 7 Water Agency to offer rebates for a single-family residence and for a business or multi-family property. For details, check out the Lawn Conversion Rebate webpage. Take a look at the video below about a Livermore resident that successfully converted their lawn in one day.
(The following tips are from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Water Use Efficiency Program.)
Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation systems.
Water the lawn and or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). do not water on windy days.
Water trees and shrubs, which have deep root systems, longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants which require smaller amounts of water more often. Check with the local extension service for advice on the amount and frequency of watering needed in your area.
Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only - not the street or sidewalk.
Use soaker hoses and trickle irrigation systems.
Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.
Have your soil tested for nutrient content and add organic matter if needed. Good soil absorbs and retains water better.
Minimize turf areas and use native grasses.
Use native plants in your landscape — they require less care and water than ornamental varieties.
Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth.
Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.
Raise your lawn mower cutting height -- longer grass blades help shade each other, cut down on evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
Minimize or eliminate fertilizing which requires additional watering, and promotes new growth which will also need additional watering.
Ornamental Water Features
Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs to indicate that water is recycled. do not operate during a drought.