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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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5 Summer Watering Tips: Outdoor Irrigation Made Easy

When it comes to your outdoor spaces, do you ever just turn on the water and hope for the best?

If you’re not sure about timing and the best way to water, no shame! We’ve all been there.

Leave the water-guilt behind with these five tips for a water efficient landscape.  

Couple watering lawn in their pajamas1. Water in the morning.

Start your day with watering to allow broad leaf plants (especially vegetables) a chance to dry off in the afternoon.

Not a morning person? Evening is a good second choice and better than mid-day. Try for after 6 p.m.

2. More water, less often.

Give your plants a good soak to encourage deep root development.

Oregon State University Extension recommends that established garden plants get a thorough watering every five to seven days. If you see water running off, it is likely because the soil can’t absorb the water that quickly. One way to help prevent runoff is to split up your watering time with breaks that allow for water to seep into the ground in-between cycles. Use the weekly watering number, an estimate for how much water your landscape needs based on weather and zip code.

3. Right plant, right place. 

Use this summer to keep track of which plants need more water and plan to group those plants next year. Placing plants with similar moisture needs in the same area makes it easier to ensure they get the water they need without overwatering.

4. Use a spray nozzle with an automatic shut off. 

If you water by hand, use an automatic nozzle on your hose. This will save you from sprinting back to your faucet in between watering different parts of your yard.  Need a spray nozzle? Drop us a line and we’ll send one off while supplies last. Email us at or call 503 823-4527.

Lawn sprinkler5. Inspect and redirect automatic systems.

If you’re using an in-ground automatic irrigation system, regularly inspect and repair broken heads. Redirect sprinkler heads that are spraying onto pavement. If you plan to purchase an irrigation controller or sprinkler heads, you may be able to save some cash with irrigation rebates! Learn about how to qualify here.

And don’t forget to check for high or low pressure. If your sprinklers are misting, the pressure is too high.  If you see a short dome-shaped spray, your pressure is too low.

Get a Free Irrigation Consultation

Take advantage of the irrigation consultation pilot program and get custom recommendations from a landscape professional – for free. Consultations include a walk-through of your system followed by an easy to read set of customized recommendations to improve your watering.  Contact us at 503-823-4527 or, to determine if you are eligible for a free irrigation consultation.

For more ways to make every drop count in your landscape – from planning a water-smart landscape to getting outdoor irrigation rebates – with our Outdoor Water Efficiency resources.