outdoor tips

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  1. If building new or renovating, use porous material for walkways and patios to reduce runoff and keep water in your yard.
  2. Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
  3. Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers.
  4. Plant species native to Manitoba.
  5. Plant in the spring and fall, when the watering requirements are lower.
  6. When sprucing up your front or backyard, consider xeriscaping. This landscape method uses low-water-use plants to limit your water use.
  7. Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  8. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  9. Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  10. Use a five-to-10-centimetre (two to four inches) layer of organic mulch around plants to shade the soil, retain moisture, reducing evaporation saving time and money. As a bonus, weed growth is minimized. 
  11. Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants, trees and rain barrels.
  12. Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
  13. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you'll water your grass at the same time.
  14. Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You'll save up to 378 litres (100 gallons) every time.
  1. Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  2. When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
  3. When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  4. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
A tap that drips once per second can waste 10,000 litres of water in one year.


  1. If you're considering installing an irrigation system, hire a qualified professional to install and keep it working properly and efficiently.
  2. Adjust your lawn mower to the height of four to five centimetres (1.5 to two inches). Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.
  3. Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
  4. If laying a new lawn, select a lawn mix or blend that matches our climate and site conditions.
  5. Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every 15 centimetres (six inches) will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.
  6. If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don't spring back up), then it is time to water.
  7. Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.
  8. While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
  9. Catch water in an empty can to measure sprinkler output. Two to 2.5 centimetres (3/4 to one inch) of water is enough to apply each time you irrigate.


  1. Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 38 litres (10 gallons) per minute.
  2. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  3. Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  4. Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.
  5. Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
  6. Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  7. If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  8. Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Signs of overwatering: leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.
  9. Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
  10. Water dry spots by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.
  11. Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  12. Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it's needed.
  13. Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  14. Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
  15. Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
  16. For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.
  17. Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
  18. Spring is a great time to give your irrigation system a checkup to ensure it's working efficiently.
  19. Pruning properly can help your plants use water more efficiently.


  1. Use a pool cover to help keep your pool clean, reduce chemical use and prevent water loss through evaporation.
  2. Make sure your swimming pools, fountains and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
  3. If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
  4. When back-washing your pool, consider using the water on plants in your yard. If you have salt water, check first to ensure your plants can tolerate salt water.
  5. Minimize or eliminate the use of waterfalls and sprays in your pool. Aeration increases evaporation.
  6. Don't overfill the pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing.
  7. Keep water in the pool when playing, it will save water.
  8. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those that spray water into the air.
  9. Use a grease pencil to conduct a bucket test to check for pool leaks. An unnatural water level drop may indicate a leak.
  10. We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.


  1. One of the easiest ways to conserve hot tub water is to cover it when it's not in use. Using a hot tub cover will reduce evaporation and also help to keep debris and contaminants out of the water.
  2. Through the course of normal hot tub use, hot tubs will lose some water due to evaporation and splashing. This water is typically replenished using a hose or indoor water. Some owners will use rain barrels to gather rainfall in their area and use this water (make sure it's free of debris) to top up their tub. This is a low impact way to keep your hot tub full and fresh.
  3. Check your hot tub regularly for leaks and repair them as soon as possible to prevent water loss.
  4. Changing the water in your hot tub is necessary for maintaining water quality, but it can also be a source of water waste. To reduce the frequency of water changes, use a high-quality water treatment system to keep the water clean and clear for longer periods of time.
  5. Optimize your hot tub settings. Reducing the temperature of your hot tub can help to conserve water by reducing the amount of evaporation. Additionally, running your hot tub for shorter periods of time can also help to conserve water.
  6. Consider recycling hot tub water for other purposes such as watering your plants, washing your car or deck. Just be sure to test the water for chemical levels and adjust them if necessary before using it for other purposes.
    A few days before you drain, stop adding chemicals to the water and let it rest, unaltered, for two to three days. Then drain and add to your lawn and flower beds. If you don't want to wait that long, some retailers sell a neutralizing agent that will make the water usable immediately.
  7. When using chemicals to maintain your hot tub water quality, choose products that have a Green Seal, Eco-logo, or UL Environment certified mark. This will not only help to conserve water but also prevent harmful chemicals from entering the environment.
    Keeping your water clean and balanced is so important. If you maintain proper water chemistry without having to adjust much, not only will you save money because you're using fewer chemicals, you'll save water because you won't be doing as many drain and refills. Some water chemistry problems get so out of hand that you have to do a manual water reset. Avoid any of these major problems by following a regular hot tub maintenance schedule and keeping your hot tub water chemistry balanced at all times by checking it multiple times a week.
  8. Clean your filters monthly in order to keep your water balanced and make draining the tub less necessary. The tub doesn't need to be drained in order for your filters to be cleaned properly, although many owners take the opportunity clean the filter when they do drain their tub--this is something you should do monthly so that your water stays fresh and sparkling.
  9. When you drain your hot tub, make sure you're getting as much done as possible: leak repair, shell cleaning, etc.) so that you don't have to drain every time an issue arises.