knowledge - business outdoor tips
OUTDOOR TIPS

LANDSCAPING
  1. Use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard.

  2. Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.

  3. Choose indigenous plants and watch them thrive in your garden.

  4. Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.

  5. Plant in the spring and autumn, when the watering requirements are lower compared to summer.

  6. When sprucing up your front or backyard, consider xeriscaping. This landscape method uses low-water-use plants to limit your water use.Visit your local xeriscape garden to view plants that thrive in our hot desert environment.

  7. Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.

  8. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.

  9. Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.

  10. Use a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.

  11. Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture, saving water, time and money.

  12. Use 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of litres of water a year.

  13. Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant and save up to 2200 litres each year.

  14. Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants and trees or into a tank for storage for use at a later stage.

  15. For automatic water savings, direct water from rain gutters and air-conditioning systems to water-loving plants in your landscape.

LAWN CARE

  1. Hire a qualified professional to install your irrigation system and keep it working properly and efficiently.

  2. Hire a Certified professional landscaper who has received training which is specific to your area.

  3. Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.

  4. Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.

  5. When installing a lawn, select a lawn mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.

  6. Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every six inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.

  7. If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don’t spring back up), then it is time to water.

  8. Let your lawn go dormant (brown) during the winter. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three to four weeks, less if it rains.

  9. Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass.

  10. Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.

  11. While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.

  12. Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days.

  13. Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. 3/4 to 1 inch of water is enough to apply each time you irrigate.

LANDSCAPE WATERING

  1. Read Landscape Watering guidebooks to help you determine how long and how much to water.

  2. Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.

  3. Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 40 Litres of water per minute.

  4. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.

  5. Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.

  6. Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.

  7. Look for automatic irrigation controllers.EkoSource will have several on the market shortly.

  8. Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.

  9. Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.

  10. If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.

  11. Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.

  12. Signs of overwatering: Leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.

  13. Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.

  14. Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.

  15. Water dry spot by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.

  16. Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.

  17. Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it’s needed.

  18. Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.

  19. Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.

  20. Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.

  21. Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.

  22. Spring is a great time to give your irrigation system a thorough check-up to ensure it’s working efficiently.

  23. Pruning properly can help your plants use water more efficiently.

POOL

  1. Use a pool cover to help keep your pool clean, reduce chemical use and prevent water loss through evaporation.

  2. Make sure your swimming pools, fountains and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.

  3. If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.

  4. When back-washing your pool, consider using the water on salt-tolerant plants in the landscape.

  5. Minimize or eliminate the use of waterfalls and sprays in your pool. Aeration increases evaporation.

  6. Don’t overfill the pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing.

  7. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those that spray water into the air.

  8. Use a grease pencil to conduct a bucket test to check for pool leaks. An unnatural water level drop may indicate a leak.

GENERAL OUTDOOR

  1. In colder winter areas, protect outdoor taps when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.

  2. For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.

  3. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time.

  4. Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 400 litres every time.

  5. Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.

  6. When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.

  7. When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.

  8. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.

  9. Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance check. For more efficient cooling, check your evaporative cooler annually.If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to plants in your landscape.If you have an evaporative cooler, install a recirculating pump to keep water from bleeding off with one pass.Install a thermostat and timer on your evaporative cooler so it only operates when necessary.

  10. Set water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save both water and chemicals, plus energy, too.

  11. Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants and errant sprinklers to property owners or your local water provider.

  12. Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. In the event of a burst pipe, this could save litres of water and prevent damage.

OFFICE OR ORGANISATION

  1. Look at implementing a water stewardship standard such as the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard or Similar at your office or on an organisations plant.

  2. Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.

  3. Upgrade older toilets with water-saving models.Have a look at the EcoBeta range for new models and retrofit flushing systems.

  4. Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets. Check the EcoBeta range for a number of easy to install retrofits.

  5. Look for EcoBeta labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads.

  6. Hire a Greenius Plumber to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.

  7. Some commercial refrigerators and ice-makers are cooled with water. Upgrade to air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.

  8. Post a hotline in bathrooms and kitchens to report leaks or water waste to facility managers or maintenance personnel.

  9. Create a “suggestion and incentives” system at your organization to recognize water-saving ideas.

  10. Include a water-saving tip in your employee newsletter. Find these tips and ideas for water savings on this web page.

  11. Implement a water management plan for your facility, then educate employees on good water habits through newsletters and posters.

  12. Publish your organization’s monthly water use to show progress toward water-saving goals.

  13. Invite your water utility conservation staff to your organization for Earth Day and other environmental events to help promote water savings.

  14. Water audit your facility to find out your recommended water use, then monitor your utility bills to gauge your monthly consumption.

  15. Have maintenance personnel check your facilities regularly for leaks, drips and other water waste.

  16. If you use processed water in your business or facility, investigate water recycling.

  17. Contact your water utility to see if rebates are available for purchasing water-efficient fixtures, equipment or for facility audits.

  18. Consider and compare water use when purchasing ice makers, dishwashers, reverse osmosis units, coolers and cleaning equipment.

  19. Become or appoint a water ambassador within your organization who creates, implements and maintains your water conservation program.

  20. Become a proud water steward joining the alliance for water stewardship and let all your customers know.

  21. Have a “fix a leak” and “employee” campaign to look for leaks.

  22. Determine how your on-site water is being used by installing sub-meters where feasible and then monitor for savings.

  23. Conduct a facility water use inventory and identify water management goals.

  24. Don’t forget hidden water use costs, like energy for pumping, heating and cooling, chemical treatment, and damage and sewer expenses.

  25. Show your company’s dedication to water conservation through a policy statement. Commit management, staff and resources to the effort.

  26. Shut off water to unused areas of your facility to eliminate waste from leaks or unmonitored use.

  27. Create a goal of how much water your company can save and plan a celebration once that goal is met.

  28. Ask employees for suggestions on saving water and give prizes for the best ideas. Incentivize it!

  29. Write feature articles on your employee website that highlight water-saving ideas and successes.

  30. Test your co-workers or employees on topics like xeriscape, water stewardship and high-efficiency toilets. See how water-wise they are.

  31. Hire an irrigation specialist to help with your organisation’s landscaping.

  32. Saving water on your landscape adds up quickly. Send the person in charge of your landscape to an irrigation and xeriscaping workshop.

  33. Marry the weather with your landscape water use. Water use should decrease during rainy periods and increase during hot, dry periods.

  34. Make sure your contract plumber and/or maintenance personnel knows about using water saving devices in their plumbing installations.

  35. Ask your company to support water conservation events and education.

  36. Support “Tap into Quality” and forgo those plastic water bottles to lower your carbon footprint.

  37. Scrape dishes rather than rinsing them before washing.

  38. Use water-conserving icemakers.

  39. A recent survey showed that 99% of business managers ranked water conservation as a “top five” priority over the next decade.

  40. If your facility relies on cooling towers, have maintenance maximize cycles of concentration by providing efficient water treatment.

  41. Be sure your irrigation system is watering only the areas intended, with no water running onto walks, streets or down the gutter.

  42. While cleaning sidewalks, a hose and nozzle use 32-48 litres of water per minute. There are pressurized systems that use less. It is best not to use water to clean at all if possible.

  43. Inspect your landscape irrigation system regularly for leaks or broken sprinkler heads and adjust pressures to specification.

  44. Give your landscape proper amounts of irrigation water. Determine water needs, water deeply but infrequently, and adjust to the season.

  45. Establish a monthly water budget for your landscape based on the water needs of your plants.

  46. Limit turf areas at your facility. Instead, landscape using xeriscape principles to cut water use in half.

  47. Put decorative fountains on timers and use only during work or daylight hours. Check for leaks if you have automatic refilling devices.

  48. Put in pressure reduction valves which can be controlled, scheduled and managed to reduce leakages especially during times of low water use at night.

  49. Wash company vehicles at commercial car washes that recycle water.

  50. Wash company vehicles as needed rather than on a schedule. Stretch out the time in between washes.

  51. Consider turning your high-maintenance water feature/fountain into a low-maintenance art feature or planter.

  52. When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They are more water and energy efficient.

  53. Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.

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