COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT > Planning Department > Sustainable Practices

Sustainable Practices

Water Efficient Yards:

Want to create a low-maintenance, water efficient yard? Convert your lawn to low water use, native plants. Not only does this save water and reduce the need for fertilizers, but also there is less grass to mow. Here are some tips for getting you started- 7 Basic Steps for Creating Water Efficient Landscapes (PDF)

Water Efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley Plant Guide:
Intro: Section 1, Section 2 (PDF)
Broadleaf Trees (PDF)
Evergreen and Conifer Trees (PDF)
Shrubs: Section 1, 2, 3, 4 (PDF)
Perennials: Section 1, 2 (PDF)
Ground Covers (PDF)
Ornamental Grasses (PDF)
Area Demonstration Gardens (PDF)
List of Plant Names (PDF)

For additional brochures and information, check out the resources page of the Regional Water Providers Consortium.

Lawn Watering Test:

Here is a simple way to determine if your lawn requires watering:

1. Place five or more flat bottom cans or coffee mugs randomly around your lawn.
2. Turn on your sprinkler(s) for 15 minutes.
3. Measure the depth of the water in each can with a ruler to determine the average water depth in the cans.
4. Refer to the following chart. Read the number of minutes you should water, every third day.

Average depth in test cans Minutes to water every 3rd day
1/8 inch 60 minutes
1/4 inch 30 minutes
3/8 inch 20 minutes
1/2 inch 15 minutes
5/8 inch 12 minutes
3/4 inch 10 minutes
1 inch 8 minutes

Recycling Coffee Grounds:

Coffee grounds are excellent mulch. Grounds retain moisture in the soil, which helps keep weeds down. The natural break down of coffee grounds enriches the soil. Acid loving plants, such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias and blueberries benefit immensely from the enriched soil.


Want to compost your food scraps and yard debris turning them into a garden boosting soil? Buy an "earth machine" composting bin from Metro here or get information on building your own at the Sandy Public Library.