Outdoor Water Conservation Tips


Water only when your yard needs it, and only between the hours of 7 pm and 5 am. Grass needs less water than you think to stay healthy.  Use the free WaterMyYard.org app to find out how much water your lawn needs.  The app provides watering recommendations based on the weather, your location, and your irrigation system.  

Turn off automatic sprinklers between November 1 and February 28. Grass is dormant in the winter and does not need regular watering.  

Make sure that sprinklers are watering only the landscape, not the driveway, sidewalk, or street. Do not water on windy days. If you see water running off of your landscape into the street or sidewalk this may mean that your sprinklers are not properly aligned, that you are applying too much water too quickly, or that your soil is already saturated with water. 

Install a rain barrel and use it for outdoor watering. Rain barrels collect rainwater to water yards, fill fountains, or other non-drinking purposes. Rain barrels may also help prevent flooding by capturing and rerouting stormwater. Visit our Rain Barrel Program’s page for information about purchasing a rain barrel at a discounted rate.  

Install drip Irrigation and a smart controller. Installing a drip irrigation system and a smart controller can save 15 gallons each time you water. 


Use native or adapted-to-the-climate plants. These plants are adjusted to Houston’s climate and rainfall & do not need extra water. Visit the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society’s webpage at https://npsot.org/wp/houston/go-native/ for additional information about selecting native plants for your landscaping.

Use mulch to save water and improve soil health. In addition to making landscapes attractive, mulch adds an extra layer between plant roots and air, helping to protect plants in a variety of ways. Mulch helps reduce evaporation, which allows soil to retain water longer and means plants require less frequent watering. Mulch also helps plants thrive by inhibiting weed growth, preventing soil erosion, and moderating soil temperature.  

Aerate your soil. Soil can become compacted during home construction or from normal foot traffic. Aerating your soil with a simple lawn aerator can increase the infiltration of water into the ground, improving water flow to the plant's root zone and reducing water runoff. 

Raise your lawn mower blade’s cutting height, especially in the summer, when mowing too close to the ground will promote thirsty new growth. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth and a more drought-resistant lawn. Longer grass blades also help shade each other, reducing evaporation, and minimizing weed growth. 

Don’t over-fertilize! Get a soil kit to determine what nutrients your soil needs. If you apply fertilizer only in the spring and fall, your grass will be healthy, use less water, and require less mowing. 

Other Ways to Save Water

  • Use a broom to clear debris from walkways and driveways instead of hosing them down with water.  
  • Wash cars at the car wash, not at home. Most commercial car washes use recycled water. 
  • Use a pool cover. Pool covers reduce evaporation. 
  • Call 311 to report leaks in fire hydrants, plumbing, or other public facilities so that they can be repaired.