Conserving water outside

Landscaping tips that can save you money

Our goal at Avon Lake Municipal Utilities is to have healthy customers and a healthy environment through sustainable water management. You may not think about it very much, but the water choices you make outside matter as much as the ones you make inside—to the environment and to your wallet. Even though you pay us for the water you use, part of our job is protecting your natural resources, namely Lake Erie. Conservation is a part of that protection. The ideas below address the three main parts of most homes’ landscapes: Grass, plantings/beds, and mulch. These tips will help you keep these areas looking great while reducing your work load, conserving water, and saving you money.

Lawn maintenance

  • Grass is the biggest user of water outside, requiring about one inch of water a week
  • Keep a rain meter outside to see exactly how much rain your yard is getting each week.
  • Set irrigation systems for long, deep soakings no more than two to three times per week around sunrise. (Prevents root rot and water loss via evaporation).
  • Zoned sprinkler systems help assure that the correct amount of water is applied to all parts of the lawn, preventing both swamps and hard-pan areas.
  • Aerating your soil is also important for efficient water absorption.
  • Keeping grass at least 3” long helps to shade its roots and surrounding soil, reducing moisture loss.
  • Planting shade trees reduces lawn watering requirements.
  • When buying fertilizer, aim for non-phosphorus formulations to avoid contributing to the toxic algae problems Lake Erie has been having in recent years.



  • Planting native plants reduces watering requirements because those have already adapted to the natural precipitation of the area.
  • Grouping plantings by watering needs helps to assure plants thrive and reduces overall watering.
  • Starting off new plantings with organic-rich soil around the rootball better establishes your new plant.
  • Read labels, especially light requirements. It’s common to want to overwater when a plant is not doing well, when, in actuality, the real culprit could be inappropriate light.


Mulch does many things for landscaping. Most people mulch because it looks good and keeps down weeds. Mulch also provides organic material for the soil and reduces evaporation. Two to three inches of mulch can significantly reduce watering requirements. Remember, when placing mulch around foundations, make sure it’s higher where it meets your house and gradually lowers as it comes away from it. Allowing water to pool near or drain toward the house could lead to damp basements and/or sewer surcharges.



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