Landscape for water savings - East Valley Tribune: Living Green

Landscape for water savings

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Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:44 pm | Updated: 1:52 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

By making a few wise choices, you can help to make our limited water supply last longer.

Now through April is a good time to rejuvenate your yard and replace high water-use plants or turf areas with native varieties. Since two-thirds of household water use occurs outdoors, this simple action can lead to big water savings.


If you’re not sure which plants to select, go to for a list of desert-adapted, low-water-use plants. Or, check out the SRP DesertWise Landscape Research Exhibit in north Tempe (details at

For nearly five years, SRP water experts have tested a variety of xeriscape techniques and landscape products at the exhibit to evaluate the potential water savings and the ability to withstand Arizona’s climate.


During the summer, set your irrigation system timer to run in early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler, to limit evaporation. The summertime approach is water deeply, but less frequently. Remember to adjust your irrigation system timer settings later in the year. Plants need less water in the fall and winter months. Consider a drip system for greater water savings.

To further reduce your outdoor water use, install a “smart” irrigation controller to run the drip system or sprinklers more efficiently. Smart controllers, which are weather-based, typically save 25% of the water used by traditional controllers.

A smart controller, in combination with regular plant maintenance (seasonal pruning, fertilizing, etc.), will help you water more efficiently and will result in an attractive and healthy landscape.


Check your landscape watering system for leaks and make any necessary repairs. Drips and trickles add up fast. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 14% of the water purchased by U.S. households is lost through leaks.


Before you dig, stay safe by calling 811. This one call notifies the appropriate local utilities, which send technicians to the requested site to mark the approximate location of existing underground lines. Go to for more details on this free service.

SRP also suggests you find out the height and spread a tree will reach at maturity to avoid placing it too near overhead power lines. Visit for more information about selecting and planting the right tree near power lines.

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