no pesticideCreate a vibrant landscape!

The amount of water you use can depend on the plants you have. Native plants are the best choice for landscaping. They grow in our region naturally and are adapted to the climate. You can save water by limiting the lawn area you keep green and weed free. Trees, shrubs, and ground cover absorb much more rainfall and don’t need as much maintenance as grass.

Put mulch around plantings to reduce evaporation. Another great tip is to groups plants with similar water needs around each other.

We don't encourage you to use pesticides, chemical treatments, or fertilizers. When landscapes are watered, or it rains, these chemicals can enter our storm sewers. This can pollute our fresh drinking water source.

Rain Gardens

Rain Gardens are a great way to manage storm water runoff. They can protect the water that flows into local streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. A rain garden uses a depression in the landscape to collect water runoff. It uses loose, deep soil and native plant species that are drought and water tolerant. They let 30% more water penetrate into the ground than a normal lawn. You can visit a demonstration rain garden at the Markham Museum, or see other demonstration rain gardens in the region.

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

(Courtesy of York Region)

Here are tips for keeping a healthy lawn:

  • Aerate every other fall to limit soil compaction. This will increase water absorption and help to reduce thatch.
  • Top dress every spring or fall with compost. Rake into the lawn half an inch deep.
  • Over-seed every spring or fall with a grass seed high in fescue content (at least 60%) and low in Kentucky Blue content (20% at most).
    • Fescue grasses have fine glades that are drought and disease resistant due to their deep rooting system.
    • Kentucky Blue grass, which is the only grass found in sod, has the shallowest root system. It’s the weakest, most water dependent and most susceptible to disease.
  • Your mowing height should be six centimetres to eight centimetres. This will shade roots and prevent weeds.
  • Fertilize every fall with compost. This will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to make it through the winter.

For more tips watch the "Be Water Smart" - Lawn Maintenance Tips video.

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