Live Green in Your Yard & Garden


Attention gardeners! This summer, learn ways to conserve water and prevent pollution in your yard, garden and balcony.

In summer months, water use in the capital region increases by 44% mostly due to non-essential outdoor uses like lawn watering. By conserving this precious resource, we can help ensure there is enough available to meet our drinking water demands, protect against wildfire events and support fish and ecosystems through the dry, hot summer months when there is little rainfall to replenish the reservoir.

Many of the activities we do outdoors can also cause pollution and impact the health of our local creeks, rivers and the ocean. As our communities develop, the increase in hard surfaces results in higher levels of surface runoff. This runoff from urban areas can pick up chemicals, metals, dirt and oils and convey them to our waterways via our stormwater system.

This summer take action! Ensure the activities in your yard and garden conserve water and prevent pollution with these top three tips, or attend one of our Live Green Webinars for hands-on skills.

Upcoming Webinars
Lawn to Meadow - August 28, 7-9pm
Growing native Plants with the Fall Rains - Sept 11, 7-8:30pm
Building a Rain Garden - Sept 20, 7-8:30pm
Healthy Soils For the Back Yard Gardener- Sept 27, 6-7pm
Rain Water Harvesting in your backyard - Oct 4, 7-8:30pm
Rain Water Harvesting in your backyard - Oct 11, 7-8:30pm
Building a Rain Garden - Oct 18, 7-8:30pm

1. Gold is the New Green

For the most water savings this summer, let your lawn go golden! Lawns naturally go dormant in the summer months and will return to green with the fall rains. If you do choose to water your lawn, remember the Stage 1 watering schedule is in effect and lawn watering has restricted days and hours. Green lawns only need a maximum of one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week in the driest conditions. Get more tips to conserve water outdoors and learn about waterwise lawn care.

2. Sweep Clean (instead of power wash)

Power washing uses a lot of water and can dislodge pollutants (like paint chips or oily sediments and cause chemical residues and soaps to flow into the storm drain system, harming aquatic life and habitat. Clean sidewalks and driveways with a brush or broom, rather than power washing. If you have to power wash, sweep the surface before washing, use absorbents on oil spots and avoid cleaning compounds whenever possible. Ensure you identify the nearest storm drain, and prevent surface runoff from entering it. Learn other ways you can prevent stormwater pollution.

3. Avoid Pesticide & Fertilizer Use

Pesticides and fertilizers can pollute soil and groundwater, and can remain in the environment for long periods of time after application. The chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers pollute our streams, creeks and waterways if they enter our stormwater system from runoff once the fall rains arrive. Use natural gardening techniques including organic compost instead of fertilizer and encourage the presence of beneficial creatures that will prevent pests and naturally enhance your garden and lawn (spiders, bees, ladybugs, frogs and bats). Learn more about natural gardening techniques.