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Waterwise Landscapes

Waterwise landscapes emphasize using plants with lower supplemental water needs and grouping plants by water need to encourage efficient water use. 

Find the plants for your yard using our waterwise plant guide at

What can waterwise landscapes do for you?

Solve Landscape Problems

Waterwise landscaping provides practical solutions to various climate and landscape concerns. Features can be incorporated that cool a home in the summer or warm it in the winter. Structures and plantings can be located to block wind and provide shelter from rain and snow, as well as to control surface drainage.

Give Something Back to Nature

Each year as the growing human population encroaches on wildlife habitats, more and more plant and animal species disappear. Following waterwise principles — and through the careful selection of plants — we can lure birds, bees, butterflies, and wildlife back into our yards. A more natural landscape has less impact on the environment, and often requires fewer pesticides. As an added benefit, waterwise landscapes play a role in minimizing diversion of water from mountain habitats and maintaining water levels in aquifers.

Extend Water Supplies

Water resources are being depleted as Colorado's population continues to grow. People want to live here because of the great weather, but that great weather is a result of only 8–15 inches of precipitation a year. We all have a stake in making efficient use of our limited water supplies. Waterwise landscaping can reduce water consumption by 60%!

Reduce Pesticide Use

Native plants have more resistance to pests and diseases. By using native and climate-adapted plants instead of exotics, you can decrease your pesticide use.

Increase Beauty and Resilience

Waterwise gardens are beautiful as well as drought-tolerant. With their variety of colors, textures, and fragrances, they serve as an ongoing source of enjoyment and provide a delightful treat for the senses. Even during times of drought, waterwise landscapes retain much beauty while conventional, water-thirsty landscapes may suffer. In addition, well-designed, -installed, and -maintained waterwise landscapes can increase property values up to 15%!

Seven Steps of Waterwise Landscaping

  1. Planning and Design: Before you ever pick up a shovel, pick up a pencil first. How will you use the yard? Do you have children, dogs, cats, a vegetable garden, compost bin, a clothesline? Will you be entertaining or playing outdoor games? Do you love the view of the mountains but not the view of your neighbor’s hot tub? Do you have drainage problems? The first step is to sketch out your yard. Do several studies on where you might put play areas, gardens, beds, or service areas. Indicate places you do or don’t want screens. At this point, you can either go to a landscape architect or continue on your own.

  2. Soil Amendment: Soils can vary from one part of the yard to the next, but no matter your soil type, the addition of organic matter (compost) will greatly improve your chances for success. Our soils in this area tend to be shallow with a layer of hard clay, sometimes just inches below the surface. The proper amount of organic matter to add is approximately four cubic yards per 1,000 square feet or a layer of 2-4 inches. Till it in as deeply as you can, to around 8-12 inches. If done properly, you shouldn't have to till again which disturbs the natural cycle of the soil. Organic matter in the soil is important for several reasons, including retention of water. Compost, which is high in organic matter, is easily added to the soil and is an excellent storage system for moisture. Lack of initial soil preparation is a major reason for subsequent lawn and landscape failure.

  3. Reduced Turf: Evaluate your yard for its various micro-climates. Bluegrass needs full sun, but a rocky south-facing slope will be too dry to promote a healthy lawn. Eliminate turf in long narrow strips and on slopes. These typically hard-to-water areas promote over-spraying and runoff and would be better planted with low-water-use shrubs, flowers, or ground covers.

  4. Efficient Irrigation: We tend to water more than we need. Drip irrigation and bubblers are efficient ways to water plants at the ground level to reduce evaporation. These systems supply a drip for a longer period than typical sprinkler heads. While they have been used to water turf, their most frequent application is on trees, shrubs, flower borders, and in vegetable gardens. If you have a clock-controlled irrigation system, don’t just program it at the beginning of the season and forget it. The landscape is going to need less supplemental water in May than in July. Reprogram it at least monthly. Check your heads frequently to ensure that they’re spraying the landscape as you intend and not the street or other hard surfaces.

  5. Appropriate Plant Selection: The best part of planning your waterwise landscape is the selection of plants. Do some research, look at books, and go to some low-water demonstration gardens. While you’ll get the greatest water savings by sticking to low-water use plants, you can incorporate others as well. Just make sure they’re grouped together and watered separately. With efficient planning and irrigation, roses and vegetable gardens can be included in your low-water use yard.

  6. Use of Mulches: Mulches minimize evaporation, retard weed growth, slow erosion, and help prevent soil and temperature fluctuations. Organic mulches include wood chips, shavings, or straw; inorganic mulches —such as rock — can also be used, but excessive rock can retain heat around your plants and around the house. The use of landscape fabric, not plastic, is recommended for under paths but not for use in perennial beds.

  7. Appropriate Maintenance: Proper pruning, weeding, fertilization, and attention to your irrigation system will preserve and enhance the quality of your landscape. A waterwise landscape adapted to the environment will require less maintenance and fertilizer and will reduce the use of pesticides and other chemicals. The principles of waterwise landscaping will ensure an attractive, healthy landscape with the use of just the right amount of water.


Contact Us

Greeley Water and Sewer

1001 11th Avenue, 2nd Floor
Greeley, CO 80631

Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm

970-350-9811 tel
970-350-9805 fax

Water Conservation

970-336-4168 for Water Budget

Water Quality

Taste, odor, or appearance



Water 7am-3pm970-350-9320
Sewer 7am-3pm970-350-9322
After hours/ weekends970-616-6260

Other Numbers

Billing970-350-9811 (dial 2 for billing clerk)
Start or stop service970-350-9811 (dial 2 for billing clerk)
Water pressure970-350-9320
Water restrictions & violations970-336-4134
Utility line locates811
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