Residential Water Use Lawns, Gardens & Landscapes

Publications and Resources

Nebraska Extension Educators and Specialists have developed many resources to help you use water more efficiently and help keep it clean. Nebraska Extension has also developed materials to help youth learn about water and how to save it and keep it clean. Read on for a listing of all of these great resources for your landscape.

UNL Extension Publications

Landscape Design and Care

10 Quick Watering Tips

All-America Selections- Organization's Web site for a listing of well proven veggie and annual flower cultivars.

Annuals for Nebraska Landscapes I: Flowering Plants, NebGuide G1774.  (PDF version, 659 KB)

Annuals for Nebraska Landscapes II: Foliage, Grasses, Fruit and Vines, NebGuide G1775.  (PDF version, 636 KB)

Backyard Farmer

Backyard Farmer Podcast

Backyard Farmer video clips on YouTube

DVD's & Videos from Extension's Garden Center

Home Landscape: Understanding the Basics of Landscape Design, Extension Circular EC1254.  Learn how to apply the basic principles of landscape design (function, repetition, rhythm, unity, balance, color and proportion) to enhance your landscape.  Cost: $6.50.

Installing Your Riparian Buffer: Tree and Grass Planting, Postplanting Care and Maintenance, NebGuide G1558.  (PDF version, 700 KB)

Landscape Sustainability, NebGuide G1405. Aesthetic, functional and sound design principles create an environmentally-friendly landscape.  (PDF version, 706 KB)

Make Every Drop Count In Your Home -Water use and conservation tactics for property owners.

Make Every Drop Count in Your Landscape -Information on efficient water usage in the landscape.

Make Every Drop Count on Your Lawn -Information on efficient water usage on the lawn.

Mulches For The Home Landscape, NebGuide G1257.  Inorganic and organic mulches benefit a landscape.  (PDF only, 1.3 MB)

Ornamental Grasses for Nebraska Landscapes, NebGuide G1691.  Select and care for ornamental grasses that are well adapted to Midwestern landscapes.  (PDF version, 638 KB)

Perennial Plant Association - Plant of the Year

Planning Your Riparian Buffer: Design and Plant Selection, NebGuide G1557.  (PDF version, 298 KB)

Tips for a Sustainable Landscape

Trees in the Home Landscape, NebGuide G1747.  Learn the functional and aesthetic benefits of trees, as well as their basic growth and maintenance requirements.  (PDF version, 1.2 MB)

UNL Turfgrass

Winter De-icing Agents for the Homeowner, NebGuide G1121. Use de-icers wisely to prevent landscape damage.  (PDF version, 621 KB)

Lawn Care

Integrated Turfgrass Management for the Northern Great Plains, Extension Circular, EC1557.  Indepth information and "how-to" guides for every stage of turfgrass establishment and maintenance; also includes identification guides and management recommendations for major pests and diseases.  254 pages.  Cost: $25. 

Kentucky Bluegrass Management Calendar, NebGuide G517.  Step by step instructions for maintenance throughout the year.  (PDF version, 327 KB)

Selecting a Lawn Care Company, NebGuide G1617.  (PDF version, 716 KB)

Stormwater Management

NOTE: For the above publications with a PDF version, if you prefer to print and read offline, select the PDF version. You will need Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded for free, to open and print PDF files.

Nebraska Bioretention and Rain Garden Plants Guide, Extension Circular EC1261.  Information on a broad range of plants suited to bioretention and rain gardens in Nebraska and the Central Plains region.  64 pages.  Cost: $15.00. 

Rain Garden Design–Site Selection and Sizing Guide, Extension Circular EC1262.  This interactive publication provides basic information you should know before constructing a rain garden.  For best results, download this PDF document to your computer.  (PDF only, 11.3 MB)

Five YouTube videos to help you design and install a Rain Garden:
Rain Garden Design–Designing Your Garden
Rain Garden Design–Testing Soil Infiltration Rate
Rain Garden Design–Measuring Roof Drainage Area
Rain Garden Design–Estimating Land Slope
Rain Garden Design–Outlining Your Garden Site

Stormwater Management: Disconnecting Downspouts and Impervious Surfaces, G2186.  This NebGuide gives an overview of several methods to reduce the amount of stormwater and pollution from a property by eliminating direct connections between downspouts and impervious surfaces or municipal storm drain systems.  (PDF version, 3.5 MB)

Stormwater Management: Landscape Water Conservation, NebGuide G1859. Conserve water and reduce runoff from lawns and landscapes.  (PDF version, 774 KB)

Stormwater Management: Pesticide Use in the Lawn and Garden, NebGuide G1844.  Properly use and apply lawn and garden pesticides to prevent contaminating stormwater runoff.  (PDF, 807 KB)

Stormwater Management:  Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels, G2220.  This NebGuide provides information on the use of rain barrels for collecting and temporarily storing rainwater from rooftops; non-potable uses of collected rainwater; and rain barrel components, installation, and maintenance. (2.4 MB)

Stormwater Management: Rainwater Harvesting in Residential-Scale Landscapes, NebGuide G2148.  An overview of rainwater harvesting systems and the use of captured rainwater for landscape irrigation and other outdoor non-potable uses.  (PDF, 501 KB)

Stormwater Management on Residential Lots, Extension Circular EC707. Assess the risk of runoff pollution from your property and find ideas to reduce that risk. (PDF only, 3.3 MB)

Stormwater Management: Terminology, Extension Circular EC701.  A description of many stormwater management terms.  (PDF only, 568 KB)

Stormwater Management: Water Pollution and Our Own Yards, NebGuide G1848.  Reduce water pollution and conserve water resources by reducing the amount of pollutants and runoff that leave a property.  (PDF, 714 KB)

Stormwater Management: Yard Waste Management, NebGuide G1855.  Prevent organic waste from polluting runoff through composting and other means.  (PDF, 569 KB)

Three NebGuides on rain gardens as a functional and aesthetic way to reduce polluted runoff:
Stormwater Management: Rain Garden Design for Homeowners, NebGuide G1758. (PDF, 901KB)
Stormwater Management: Installing Rain Gardens in Your Yard, NebGuide G1760. (PDF, 673KB)
Stormwater Management: Plant Selection for Rain Gardens in Nebraska, NebGuide G1759. (PDF, 624KB)

YouTube video clip on rain gardens from Backyard Farmer.

Stormwater Resources for Kids

Stormwater Activity Sheets

The activity sheets below can be downloaded and used with the Stormwater Sleuth comic book or on their own.  They are designed for students from 4th - 6th grades, but may be appropriate for other ages as well.  These activity sheets are currently in pilot testing.  Please send comments on any of the activity sheets to

Build Your Own Rain Barrel  Learn why and how to use a rain barrel and then build your own.  (PDF, 418 KB)

Crumpled Watershed Model  Make your own 'watershed' and then make it 'rain' to learn how watersheds work.  (PDF, 253 KB)

How Much Water Runs Off  Use a rain gauge and choose a building or parking lot to estimate the amount of water than runs off during a rainstorm.  (PDF, 274 KB)

Instructor Information and Terminology  Background information for all the activity sheets, including learning objectives and terminology with definitions.  (PDF, 208 KB)

Public Service Announcement  Share your knowledge about stormwater and runoff pollution.  (PDF, 223 KB)

Stormwater Walk  Take a walk around a home or school and tally things that affect stormwater, such as trees, downspouts, and storm drains to give the home/school a stormwater score.  (PDF, 264 KB)

To Drink or Not to Drink  Learn about water treatment by making a filter to help clean dirty water.  (PDF, 301 KB)

4-H Filmmaking:  Upstream (Part 1) Follow Suzy and P.D. as they learn where their water comes from. 

4-H Filmmaking:  Downstream (Part 2) Continue the journey with Suzy and P.D. as they learn when their water goes.

Educating Young People About Water From the University of Wisconsin, this site provides information and resources about developing a community-based youth water education program.

EPA Nonpoint Source Kids Page This website from the Environmental Protection Agency teaches kids about nonpoint source pollution through a variety of fun online games and activities.

Give Water a Hand This site provides information about a program where youth interested in water issues can join educators and community members and take action to improve their local water quality.

Project Wet Project Wet offers instructors a variety of hands-on activities for youth to educate about the importance of water.

Stormwater Education Toolkit: Vol 3: Youth
This site includes various guidance and education materials for use in youth stormwater education.

Stormwater Sleuth Comic Book The 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 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.

Stormwater Sleuth Coloring Pages These pages provide information about stormwater sleuth and running rain in a coloring book format.


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