Live Green in the Yard & Garden

conserve-tallThe blossoms are out and spring has sprung in the capital region. It’s an exciting and busy time to prepare your yard and garden. Natural gardening practices can help you save time and money, leaving more time to enjoy your outside oasis and make an environmentally friendly space for kids, pets, wildlife and waterways. No matter what size natural spaces you create near your home can increase biodiversity and support healthy ecosystems. A few helpful tips will ensure you can:

  • use water wisely
  • provide important habitat for native birds & wildlife
  • stop the spread of harmful invasive species
  • prevent pollution from entering our streams and waterways 

Convert unused lawn to native plant meadows

Adapted to our Northern Mediterranean climate, native plants are often pest and disease free with little to no watering and fertilizer required once established. Converting traditional lawn to native plant meadows saves time, money and water! Learn how at our upcoming free webinar on June 2 at 7pm. Click here to register.

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 May 1 until September 30. A green lawn only needs one inch of water a week in the driest conditions. After a day of heavy rain, skip 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 spring Lawn Care

Every summer, lawn care is a major draw in our water supply, but a healthy lawn needs less water. Practice spring 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
  • Mow high to encourage stronger, deeper roots
Check out our lawn care calendar (PDF)!

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 >>

Start up your Irrigation System

Even with the capital region’s mild winters, your irrigation system may have damage from frost and freezing. Each spring, start your irrigation system and look for leaks. 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 >>

Remove 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 >>