Ask LA Stormwater: What’s the best lawn care in a drought?


: A whopping 40 percent of the drinking water in Los Angeles is used for landscaping. So conserving water outdoors is a great way to help beat the drought. Thankfully, there are many ways to be water-wise in your yard, whether you’re looking for simple solutions or are ready to take more radical steps.

Let’s start with a few things everyone can do right now:

  • Know your watering days. Even numbered residences can water their lawns and gardens on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Odd numbers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has a handy calendar you can use to remember.
  • Water before 9 am or after 4 pm only. Watering during the cooler times of day prevents evaporation, which means you’ll need less H20 to give your lawn and garden a good soak.  
  • Check your sprinklers. There’s no use watering the sidewalk or driveway. Aim sprinklers to reach the lawn only and inspect all sprinkler heads to ensure they’re working properly. 
  • Mow right. And by right, we mean let the grass grow long. The general rule of thumb is to only cut a third of the length of the blade. Lush lawns stay moist and healthy, which means you’ll need less water and fertilizer. Also, leave grass clippings on the lawn. They add nutrients back into the soil.

 If you’re looking to up your water-conservation game:

  • Install smart sprinklers and drip irrigation. Smart sprinklers are weather-based watering systems that spray only when and in the amount your lawn needs it. For landscaping plants or in the garden, go for drip irrigation. It delivers water right to the roots, one drop at a time, without runoff or evaporation.  
  • Plant drought-tolerant native plants. We’re suckers for succulents like agaves and echeverias, but there is a drought-tolerant native plant to suit every taste—from long, elegant grasses to bright and beautiful flowers. Bonus benefit: they’re naturally resistant to native pests. 
  • Install a rain barrel. The rainwater you collect can be used to water your lawn and garden. SoCal WaterSmart offers a $75 rebate for 50-gallon rain barrels. 

Ready to become a water warrior?

  • Remove your grass. Xeriscaping, which is a fancy way of saying landscaping with plants that use less water, can lower your outdoor water use by 50 percent. What’s more, LADWP is offering $3 for every square foot of grass you convert to drought-tolerant landscaping.

For even more water conservation tips, visit the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power or the Metropolitan Water District.


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