Tony and Lisa, SF Natives.
Putting them first since 1991.


10 simple ways to have a healthy lawn and still save water

Your California dream home will benefit from water-conscious lawn care. Keep a healthy lawn while saving water—and money.

10 Lawn Care Tips to Conserve Water in the Bay Area


Homeowners in the Bay Area often wonder how to conserve water and still have a healthy lawn.

Since droughts are common, cutting down on our water usage is certainly crucial to protecting our homes, our communities, and our environment. that can earn you money for conserving water.

Being a good steward to the environment doesn’t necessarily have to cost you the comfort of a beautiful yard. You can go green and still grow green.

Here’s 10 simple things you can do to save water and still have a healthy lawn.


1. Check for leaks

If you have a built-in irrigation system, sprinkler system, or you just water with a hose, you should always check for leaks.

Is the grass around your system, sprinkler, or hose always wet? Do the sidewalks or streets around your property have a water trail?

These could all be signs of leaks in your setup, which means water is being wasted.


2. Consider a rain sensor

Rain sensors won’t allow your irrigation system to run during the rain. This means your lawn is being watered naturally, isn’t being overwatered, and you’re doing your part to cut down on usage.

Most newer systems are required to have these sensors. Older systems won’t usually have them. Be sure to check and see if your irrigation system is setup with a sensor.


3. Get a rain barrel

A rain barrel will allow you to collect water from your gutters. You can stock up on this collected rainwater and use it instead of drinking water.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commision have created a Rainwater Harvesting Manual to help you design, install, and maintain a rainwater harvesting system in your home.

Resources like manual are free and they can help you a lot of money and water over time. You can even participate in rebate programs for install ran barrels at your home. 


4. Manually run your irrigation program

Instead of using an automatic timer on your irrigation system, consider running it manually. There are a few benefits to turning off the timer:

  • You won’t over-water your lawn
  • You’ll conserve more water
  • You’ll save money on your bill


5. Use the "footprint method"

If you don’t have a high-tech system or you’re concerned with over-watering, you can use the “footprint method” to ensure that you’re using the right amount of water at the right time.

Take a walk around your lawn. Did the grass spring back right away? If so, you don’t need to water it.


6. Get used to a little bit of brown

Most common grass species can tolerate a dry summer and easily bounce back. If you can accept a little bit of brown in your lawn for a few months, you’ll save gallons of groundwater each year.


7. Keep your lawn local

Most native plants and grass species don’t need as much water. Exotic plants or imported grass usually means more water usage. Plus, they may not be as well-adapted to the climate.


8. Don't mow too often

Longer grass helps your lawn retain water. Generally speaking, you should keep your lawn no shorter than 3 ½ inches.


9. Choose drought-tolerant plants

There are a wide variety of plants that have adapted to survive in low water conditions. Succulents, white fir, yucca, and sage are all very resilient in drought conditions.


10. Use a thick layer of mulch

A thick layer of mulch helps keep the root zone cool and moisture in the soil. Certain mulches, like wood chips or shredded bark, will also help add organic material to the soil over time.

Again, a landscape professional will be able to tell you which mulches are best for your area.


Being responsible with our water usage is an important part of life in the Bay Area. We all want to do our part to protect our homes, our communities, and our environment.

But conserving water doesn’t have to come at a cost. These 10 tips & tricks will help you keep your lawn healthy and cut down on water usage.

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