Outdoor water conservation

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Water Conservation Tips

Power of design

For larger landscaped areas, an efficient and well thought out design is essential to ensuring success.  There are many local experienced designers or if you choose to create your own, tap into the knowledge of local nurseries for plant material options. Check out the different ways to create a water-efficient landscape.   

Add organic compost and mulch

Compost and mulch are great for gardens. Both can act as a protective cover for plants, keeping the soil cool and moist and discouraging weed growth. Organic mulches like pine bark, shredded cedar, or wood chips are ideal; consider OgoGrow or GlenGrow. Rock mulches will retain heat and increase your water needs so try to use sparingly and in shady areas where possible. 

Let it grow

Let your grass grow to a height of 2.5 inches. Taller grass shades new growth and reduces evaporation. You can also leave the grass clippings on the lawn. 

Sharpen your blade

Keep the blades of your mower sharp. Dull blades tear the grass leaving it open to disease and heat stress.


Introduce a mix of drought tolerant fescue grasses to your existing turf. Over-seeding should be done while fertilizing, top-dressing or aerating.

Collect and use rainwater

Rain barrels are available at your local garden centres. Use them to collect rain water that can be used for container plants, flower beds and food gardens.

Install an efficient irrigation system

Ensure your irrigation system is doing its job by checking the sprinklers, micro irrigation and other system components regularly.  Check that your irrigation controller is set for appropriate times for the various zones and that it complies with the City's year round watering restrictions. Kelowna Water Smart can help provide insight into your systems performance and opportunities for improvements.   

Hire a qualified contractor

If you're hiring a landscape or irrigation contractor, here are some fundamental requirements:

  • References; ask for at least two references
  • Adequate insurance including current WCB coverage and liability insurance
  • City of Kelowna business license
  • Information regarding their training, qualifications and years of experience.  The City of Kelowna is now a WaterSense partner and offers a locally focused training program called Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certification (QWEL). Visit the QWEL website for more information or to find a QWEL certified contractor for your project. 

Know when to water

Year round watering restrictions are in place for all Kelowna residents.  Check with your water provider for current conditions and updates.

Reduce your irrigation water use

Rainfall and temperature impact the actual monthly requirements of irrigating your lawn (and other plant materials). Installing a rain senor or other device for monitoring on site conditions will provide valuable information for ensuring you are irrigating to meet the needs of your landscape. 

Inches of water per week0.8"1"0.6"
Inches of water per month3.2"4"2.4"