Live Green in Your Yard & Garden

Water220x136As summer turns to fall in the capital region plants will begin winding down and we can turn our attention to preparing for the fall rains and yard and garden maintenance activities. Fall is the ideal time to plant native plants, so they will have a jump start on next year's season.  It's also a good time now to think about installing a rain garden or rainwater harvesting techniques to help you live green, use water wisely and reduce runoff.

Free Events

Embracing the Wild: Native Plant Workshops

Join an introductory webinar on gardening with drought-tolerant native plants, in partnership with Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Converting Lawn to Native Plant Meadow Webinar

Learn how to convert a conventional lawn to a native plant meadow with biologist Kristen Miskelly, owner of Satinflower Nurseries. Native plant meadows are low maintenance alternatives to conventional lawn that save water, do not require fertilizer or pesticides and create habitat for local bugs, birds and pollinators. This webinar will guide participants through developing a site plan, site preparation, planning materials, choosing site appropriate plants and maintenance. There will also be in introduction to CRD water conservation programs and an opportunity to ask questions. Gain practical advice and tips to create a beautiful native plant meadow in your yard and garden.

Live Green in Your Yard and Garden Displays

Learn more about gardening with native plants, installing a rain garden, harvesting rainwater and preventing pollution in your yard and garden. Get started on a project with free native plant seeds available at various garden centres.

What You Can Do

Install Green Infrastructure

Green Stormwater Infrastructure like rain gardens, green roofs or living walls help absorb rainwater that quickly moves from our roofs, streets and parking lots, picking up pollution, to storm drains that enter local waterways and shorelines.

Choose to Go Pervious

Choose pervious pavement for driveways, parking areas and patios over impervious options. Standard asphalt and concrete are impermeable and do not let rainfall flow through to the soils below. This causes high runoff into our storm drain system, which head straight to our creeks, rivers and streams and can pollute these waterways. Learn more >>

Plant Native Plants

Adapted to our Northern Mediterranean climate, native plants are often pest and disease free with no watering and fertilizer required. Plant native species in the fall so roots are more established by the following spring. Learn more>>

Fall Lawn Care

Every summer, lawn care is a major draw in our water supply, but a healthy lawn needs less water. Practice fall lawn care for a thriving water wise lawn during the dry summer months:

  • Remove dead matted grass by de-thatching
  • Aerate to allow water and nutrients to seep into the soil more easily
  • Apply lime if needed
  • Top dress with compost and overseed with drought-tolerant alternative like micro clover
  • Adjust your watering to account for rainfall 

Winterize your Irrigation System

In the capital region’s mild winters, it may not seem necessary to winterize your irrigation system, however even a quick freeze can wreak havoc on irrigation systems and equipment. This fall, make sure to winterize your system to help prevent leaks and damage. Learn how here.

Collect Rainwater

Collecting rainwater can help save water and also helps prevent flooding, erosion and habitat destruction as large amounts of water enter the stormwater systems then flow directly into local waterways. It will also reduce the amount of energy used as less waste water is treated. Learn more>>

Maintain Septic Systems & Sewer Laterals

Inspecting underground pipes helps identify issues before a backup occurs. Issues can include cracked pipes, root intrusion and cross connections. Identifying and addressing these issues will not only protect your private property but will also protect the environment and reduce costs. There are many actions we can take to prevent sewer back-ups such as sewer lateral and septic system maintenance.

Go Chemical Free

Pesticides and fertilizers can pollute soil and groundwater, poison pets and wildlife, and can remain in the environment for long periods of time after application. To help limit pests naturally, use companion planting, native plants and encourage the presence of beneficial creatures like spiders, bees, ladybugs and frogs. Make sure unused fertilizers and pesticides are properly disposed of. Learn more >>

Sweep Cleanbroom

Clean sidewalks and driveways with a brush or broom, rather than power washing. Power washing 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. Learn more >>

Go Pervious

Choose pervious pavement for driveways, parking areas and patios over impervious options. Standard asphalt and concrete are impermeable and do not let rainfall flow through to the soils below. This causes high runoff into our storm drain system, which head straight to our creeks, rivers and streams and can pollute these waterways. Learn more >>

Install Green Infrastructure

Rain Gardens and green roofs help reduce rainfall runoff from hard surfaces like roofs, roads and parking lots. This helps reduce flooding, erosion in downstream creeks and streams, and helps filter out pollution before it reaches the storm drain and enters our waterways. They also provide important habitat for local biodiversity. Learn more >>

Collect Rainwater

Collecting rainwater from your downspouts helps to protect our watersheds, streams, creeks and the nearshore environment by reducing the amount of water entering the stormwater system at once. When rainwater is collected and used on lawns and gardens it helps recharge aquifers and groundwater supplies, save water and plants love it. Learn more >>

Drain Responsibly

Do not drain water from pools, spas or hot tubs down the storm drain. Properly store and dispose of chemicals and additives according to the instructions on the label. Learn more>>

Paint Safe

All paints, solvents and adhesives contain chemicals that are harmful to aquatic life in our waterways. Make sure all liquid paint products and wastes do not enter our storm drains. Recycle unused and empty paints cans at an appropriate location.

Water Wiselyhandwatering

The CRD's Stage 1 Watering Schedule is in effect until September 30. As the rains return, adjust your watering to account for rainfall since lawns only need one inch of water a week in the driest conditions. After a day of heavy rain, consider skipping watering until the following week or install a rain shut-off device onto your irrigation system that will automatically turn your system off when it is raining.

Use the cycle and soak method, watering in short cycles to allow water to soak in thus reducing water waste. Learn more >>

Create Healthy Soil

Healthy soil is the vital foundation for a healthy lawn and garden. Amend your soil with compost to help keep your soil loose, fertile, retain moisture and allows drainage. Mulch around your plants to save water by keeping moisture in the soil. This helps reduce evaporation, keep soil cool, reduce weeds and add nutrients to the soil. Use organic mulch like leaves, compost, grass clippings, straw, wood chips and coarse bark depending on the area. Learn more >>

Practice Fall Lawn Care

Every summer, lawn care is a major draw in our water supply, but a healthy lawn needs less water. Practice fall lawn care for a thriving water wise lawn during the dry summer months:

  • Remove dead matted grass by de-thatching
  • Aerate to allow water and nutrients to seep into the soil more easily
  • Apply lime if needed
  • Top dress with compost and overseed with drought-tolerant alternative like micro clover

Garden with Native Plants

Adapted to our dry summers, native plants require little to no watering once established and no fertilizers or pesticides. Native plants also create habitat and support local birds and pollinators. Plant native species in the fall so roots are more established by the following spring. Learn more >>

Switch to Lawn Alternatives

Overseed lawn with drought tolerant low-growing ground cover like micro clover. Convert unused area of lawn to native plant beds or vegetable gardens. Areas of lawn that are difficult to access can make great native plant meadows. Learn more >>

Winterize your Irrigation System

In the capital region’s mild winters, it may not seem necessary to winterize your irrigation system, however even a quick freeze can wreak havoc on irrigation systems and equipment. This fall, make sure to winterize your system to help prevent leaks and damage. Learn how here.

Garden with Native Plantsnodding-onion

Adapted to our region, native plants create habitat and support local biodiversity. Many pollinators like butterflies rely on specific native plants to provide food for all life stages. Since they do not need fertilizers or pesticides, they help keep our waterways clean and wildlife safe. Native plants also help save water once established. Learn more >>

Avoid Invasive Species

Look over your yard to see if any plants seem to be spreading rapidly. Find out if they are invasive species and if so, remove them and plant native alternatives. Learn more >>

Build Backyard Biodiversity

No matter the size, backyard natural spaces help connect habitat in urban environments and increase local biodiversity and support healthy ecosystems. Make your backyard a haven for local biodiversity by providing food, water and shelter for local species and use natural gardening techniques. Learn more >>

Live Green Video Seriesnativeplant-videostill

Irrigation Maintenance Video Series

Take Action Against Climate Change

Prevent Pollution

Native Plant Workshops

Native Plants Lists For Your Space

Light and Moisture Conditions

Ecosystem

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Visual Interest

© Image courtesy of Minette Layne