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Conservation: Be Smart & Build Smart

Built Smart Users Manual: Water
Water-Saving Landscape Design Tips

Built Smart Users Manual | Specifications | Alerts | Water

Using water efficiently starts with proper landscape design.

Right Plant, Right Place
Select plants appropriately based upon their adaptability to the climate, micro-climate, geological, and topographical conditions of the site.

Proper Soil Amendment
Analyze soil. Add soil amendments and organic matter as needed.

Locate plants with similar water needs in a similar microclimate.

Native Plants
Attempt to use Pacific Northwest native plants in non-turf areas. These plants typically do not need supplemental irrigation after establishment.

Minimize Turf
Use turf and other high water use ornamental plants sparingly and only where necessary (such as sportsfields, recreation areas and site entries).

Maintenance Impact Statement
Provide estimate for labor and other resource costs to maintain landscape design intent conceived on paper.

Water Budget
Provide water budget estimate for supplemental irrigation. The water budget should be based on keeping landscape areas alive and healthy using efficient irrigation techniques after plant establishment.

Plant Establishment
Provide plant establishment period of 2-3 years. During this time, all plants should be sufficiently watered and not be subject to the water budget.

Irrigation schedules
Provide for the reduction and eventual elimination of supplemental irrigation for low water and drought tolerant plants after establishment period.

Include provisions for the landscape contractor to maintain new landscaped areas for the 2-3 year plant establishment period.

For more information contact Seattle Public Utilities at 206.684.7283 or visit

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