Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Residential Water Use Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Your landscape includes your lawn, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetable garden, and groundcovers. The lawn is likely a prominent part of your landscape. While the lawn may need watering and frequent care, it adds beauty to the community and a well-maintained lawn offers many benefits:

  • absorbs rain water runoff
  • decreases soil erosion
  • promotes neighborhood pride
  • reduces the urban heat island effect
  • increases property values
  • provides space for recreation and relaxation

Rain Gardens

You can reduce water runoff from your yard by planting a rain garden. A rain garden is a small depression planted to flowers and ornamental grasses. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water from a roof, driveway or open area. A rain garden is not a pond or wetland. It is dry most of the time and holds water after a rain. Water collected in the rain garden slowly soaks into the soil and disappears in less than 48 hours.

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Common Pollutant Types

Sediment (sand, silt, and clay particles): Bare spots in lawns and gardens, lawn and landscape renovation projects, sloping areas, soil washed from vehicles, roof tops and other hard surfaces like driveways, pond or stream bank erosion, home construction.

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Key Tips for Reducing Pollutants

Water pollution can come from a variety of sources. Soil, grass clippings, fertilizer, pesticides, paint thinners, and motor oil can pollute water if picked up by stormwater runoff.

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Landscape Management Practices

  • Aim downspouts towards planted areas or pervious hardscape and away from impervious paved areas.
  • Collect rainwater from rooftops in rain barrels or cisterns for reuse in landscape irrigation.
  • Amend soil with organic matter. Core aerate lawns to help avoid or reduce soil compaction, increase water infiltration, and promote healthy root systems.
  • Follow University and label recommendations and calibrate spreaders when using fertilizers and pesticides.  Only use these products when needed. Read and follow label directions for all lawn chemicals.

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Landscape Design Practices

  • Install rain gardens in locations where they catch and temporarily hold rainwater.
  • Use natural drainage patterns, site grading, berms (planted earth mounds) or other methods to channel rainwater away from impervious surfaces (i.e. pavement) onto planted areas such as grass swales, filter strips, or rain gardens.
  • Plant and maintain healthy plant cover, especially on slopes to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. Select plants adapted to the site and maintenance level.

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