4 Gardening Tips to Fight Runoff

Water is precious.

Especially as temperatures rise and the rainy season takes a vacation. Often in the grips of the summer heat, people will douse their lawns with their sprinklers causing “dry-weather runoff” to rush onto the pavement, into the street sweeping up pollutants along the way, into stormdrains to be dumped in the ocean.

Want to learn how you can make a difference? Follow these climate-ready solutions to keep any runoff out of the street and help water your plants and trees all summer long instead.

1. Say “No Way!” to Overspray

Overspray is when sprinklers miss what you’re watering and water ends up as runoff on sidewalks and streets.

Here are some options to kick the habit:

  • Adjust your sprinkler heads. Make sure the direction of the water stream is only going toward the plant and not misting too much. A small screwdriver can adjust the head of the sprinkler in the right direction.
  • Convert traditional sprinkler heads to rotator nozzles. Rotator nozzles use streams of water that are directed toward plants rather than a fine misty spray. They create a more efficient use of water and reduce overspray.
  • Water plants and trees with a drip system.  Drip irrigation systems consist of tubing with small openings that allow water to slowly soak into the ground! Check out socalwatersmart for rebates.

2. Slow it. Spread it. Sink it!

Adding beautiful berms and swales to your garden will allow any water from your roof when it rains, or from driveways or patios, to be captured, spread, and sunk back into the ground instead of it being sent into the street.

Make it a DIY project! Watch our video to learn  how to

3. Cut the Concrete

To prevent runoff rushing down your driveway, use a concrete cutter to create a series of horizontal strips.  Fill the strips with stones or a low-water use groundcover to help the water seep back into the soil.   

French-drain installment before.
French-drain installment after.

4. Just Keep Sweeping!

And lastly, you can use a good ole’ fashioned broom to clean your hardscape, rather than use a hose!

Want more tips? Check out our DIY: Your Climate-Ready Home series on YouTube!