Lawns, Landscapes & Gardens

Lawn & Landscape Irrigation

The 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.  The key concepts for managing your landscape for water conservation include: ensuring that your landscapes are getting the correct amount of water for each different part of the landscape (i.e. trees, shrubs, perennials, turf), choosing plants that are drought tolerant or use less water than other plants, putting the right plant in the right place, and utilizing the correct equipment for watering your landscape.  The Lawns, Landscapes, and Gardens page on the website is designed to help you utilize the correct materials for your landscaping needs and to help you learn how to manage a landscape for water-conservation while still maintaining an aesthetically pleasing landscape.

To see how you can landscape your lawn in a water-saving method, check out the above linked topic pages and the resources in the Lawn and Landscape  sections and our Publications page.

Rain Water Management in Your Home Landscape

The ideal way to manage rain water is to let it soak in to the ground.  If rain water 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:  

  1. Use landscape design practices that reduce the amount of runoff water from your property such as rain gardens, swales or rain barrels.
  2. Understand the types of pollutants that can come from the home and yard.
  3. Reduce the use of potential pollutants and keep potential pollutants out of the path of runoff water.
  4. Use responsible lawn and landscape care practices.

Key Points:

  • Every property drains to a waterway whether or not the property is located near surface water.
  • In urban areas, 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. 


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.