Pesticides, fertilizers, grass clippings, and other yard waste are all sources of stormwater pollution. It's important to remember that when you're working on your lawn that your actions can directly affect water quality. Here's some tips for keeping your yard looking good without polluting our playa lakes:
- Sweep it up - Sweep grass off of paved areas and back onto the lawn. Blowing grass clippings and other yard debris into the street is a violation of City Ordinance.
- Let it lie - Leave grass clippings on your lawn or compost them. Grass clippings are a natural source of fertilizer.
- Don't over water - Excessive runoff can carry pesticides and fertilizer off your lawn, and wastes water.
- Fertilizer & Pesticide Application
- Use sparingly - Use fertilizer and pesticides only when necessary or not at all. Only apply the recommended amounts.
- Watch the forecast - Don't apply fertilizer or pesticides before a heavy storm event because the product will just wash away.
Residential "Green" Landscaping
Changing the way you landscape your home can have a positive effect on stormwater management. By installing rainwater harvesting infrastructure and planting water wise plants or rain gardens, you can have an impact on the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff that leaves your lawn. Rain Barrels & Cisterns
You can capture rainwater from your rooftop in a rain barrel or cistern. These storage containers are installed underneath a downspout and the water can be used to water your lawn or plants. Even if you don't have a gutter system on your home, rain barrels can be strategically placed to function effectively. Rain barrels can be purchased at most home improvement stores, or if you're handy you can make one yourself. See the Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels guide, a publication of "Take Care of Texas" for instructions.
Xeriscaping Rain Gardens
Xeriscaping is landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental irrigation watering. If you're concerned about the scarcity of our water resources, consider planting a xeric garden. West Texas’ xeric plants can make for an earth-friendly yard while still giving your home curb appeal. For more information about what water wise plants are appropriate for Lubbock, visit the City of Lubbock Water Department. For additional information about planning and planting xeric landscaping, visit Xeriscaping: How to Make a Drought-Tolerant Landscape.
Traditional concrete and asphalt don't allow water to soak into the ground, resulting in stormwater runoff. Permeable pavement contains void spaces that allow stormwater to soak through, which can improve water quality by infiltrating or slowing runoff and filtering pollutants. You can use permeable surfaces for walkways, patios, and driveways. Permeable options include interlocking pavers, open spaced grids, or poured-in-place permeable asphalt and concrete.
Rain gardens are specially designed areas planted with native plants designed to absorb and filter runoff from impervious surfaces like roofs and driveways. Rainfall from impervious areas can be diverted into rain gardens, rather than into the street. Even in a semi-arid climate like ours, rain gardens can be successful if you choose the right plants. Native, drought tolerant plants will be the best choice, but avoid plants that need exceptionally well-drained soil. Fill in areas around your plants with much or stones to retain moisture and discourage weeds. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has published this guide
to help you design and install your rain garden.