Lawn & Landscape IrrigationThe good news about lawn and landscape irrigation is that you can have your cake and eat it, too! Lawns and landscapes can be designed and maintained to be good looking and water conserving.
Soils and Zones
Photo by John Fech
Right Plant, Right Place
Choose well-adapted water-saving ornamentals and turfgrasses. This is a key component of the "right plant, right place" concept of selecting plants for the growing conditions of the landscape. Other selection criteria include plant height, fall color, disease resistance, bloom color and timing, winter appeal and level of maintenance.
It's crucial to match the irrigation equipment with the size, shape and type of landscape being watered. Knowing when to water for best plant absorption and health is another key water-saving method.
Water application measurement both on lawns and ornamental plantings is one of the best steps towards a water-efficient landscape. Measuring the output of your sprinklers is easy to do, and if you make adjustments based on the results, you'll save money on your water bill.
What is stormwater? It's water from rain or melting snow. Watch the video above and learn about stormwater runoff and why it can be a problem.
Stormwater Management in Your Home Landscape
The ideal way to manage stormwater is to let it soak in to the ground. If stormwater runs off it can cause problems when amounts are excessive and runoff becomes polluted. With sustainable design and management, you can reduce the runoff from your property and help prevent water pollution.
You can help protect and conserve water:
- Use landscape design practices that reduce the amount of runoff water from your property such as rain gardens, swales or rain barrels.
- Understand the types of pollutants that can come from the home and yard.
- Reduce the use of potential pollutants and keep potential pollutants out of the path of runoff water.
- Use responsible lawn and landscape care practices.
- Every property drains to a waterway whether or not the property is located near surface water.
- In urban areas, stormwater runoff from rain and snowmelt flows from rooftops, paved areas, and yards and is directed to storm drains. Even a light rain or the flow from a garden hose or lawn irrigation system can result in runoff.
- As runoff water flows, it can collect and carry pollutants including soil, fertilizer, pesticides and yard waste. This polluted water flows to storm drains, through storm sewers, and then is discharged to surface water.
- Water from storm sewers is not treated to remove pollutants.
- The amount of pollution coming from one property may be small, but when combined with runoff pollution from other homes and businesses, it can cause environmental problems.
- The above is called nonpoint source pollution, or runoff pollution. It cannot be easily traced to one source or one property. Virtually everyone contributes to nonpoint source pollution of water resources, mostly because we don't realize how it happens. The good news is, you can do many things to reduce runof pollution from your home and yard.
To see how you can reduce runoff and runoff pollution, check out the above linked topic pages and the resources in the Stormwater Management section of our Publications page.
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Information presented within the lawn and landscape section of this Water Web site has been reviewed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Stormwater and Greenspace Team. Members include Erin Bauer, Sarah Browning, Kathleen Cue, John Fech, Kelly Feehan, Thomas Franti, Bobbi Holm, Elizabeth Killinger, Katie Pekarek, Steve Rodie, Jim Schild, Dave Shelton.
Did you Know?Downspout redirection helps make the most of rainwater when we do receive it. Many downspouts direct rainwater onto pavement where it quickly flows into the street and then down a storm drain, often carrying pollutants with it to surface water. By directing downspouts onto a planted area, more rainwater soaks in and less runs off. See our newest Stormwater Management NebGuide: Disconnecting Downspouts and Impervious Surfaces.
PDF version (3.5 MB)
Wise Water Use Publications Available!
Make Every Drop Count on Your Lawn -PDF only (120 KB)
Information on efficient water usage on the lawn.
Make Every Drop Count in Your Landscape -PDF only (120 KB)
Information on efficient water usage in the landscape.
Make Every Drop Count In Your Home -PDF only (502 KB)
Water use and conservation tactics for property owners.
Stormwater Sleuth Comic BookThe Stormwater Sleuth comic book, Stormwater Sleuth and Running Rain: Keeping It Clean! Slowing It Down!, is part of a youth education kit being developed by the University of Nebraska-LIncoln Stormwater Management Education Team. The purpose is to teach youth across Nebraska about water resources with a focus on watersheds, urban runoff isues, and rainwater harvesting/green infrastructure.
Organization's Web site for a listing of well proven veggie and annual flower cultivars.