Tips to Reduce Water Used on Lawns and Yards

Lawns, yards and other landscapes account for about half of domestic water use. Here are some tips from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension on ways to conserve water applied to landscapes.

  • Harden or toughen lawns by watering less frequently but deeply. This encourages deeper root growth, which makes lawns more drought resistant. Some types of grass also survive drought by going dormant and thus requiring little water. For example, mature Kentucky bluegrass lawns can be watered at minimal levels and survive into the following summer. For more information, contact the local Cooperative Extension office or visit
  • Do not apply all of the water a landscape needs during a short period of time. Water applied too quickly may run off the land and be lost in ditches or gutter systems.
  • Use a soil probe or shovel to determine a lawn’s average root depth. Water the lawn until the soil is moist to that level.
  • Water lawns overnight between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. when conditions are less windy, cooler and more humid. Evening watering helps reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. Contrary to popular belief, watering at this time does not encourage diseases to develop in a landscape.
  • If planting a landscape this year, seriously consider Xeriscape plants. For more information, call the local Cooperative Extension office or visit these fact sheets
    Xeriscaping: Retrofit your yard
    Xeriscaping: Creative Landscaping
    Xeriscaping: Garden flowers
  • Make sure that sprinkler systems are working properly. Don’t water sidewalks, streets or parking lots. Proper sprinkler system maintenance is a must.
  • Mulch flowerbeds and gardens. Mulch conserves water because less moisture is lost to evaporation and promotes healthier plants.
  • Leave a little more length on lawns when mowing them this summer. Longer grass blades shade the soil and reduce water loss.
  • Use lawn sprinklers that deliver large droplets of water instead of a fine mist, which is more easily lost to evaporation.