Sustainable Gardening Tips

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Using natural and sustainable landscape solutions helps everyone - you, your water bill, and our environment.  With a few best practices and some upfront effort, you can have a healthy, beautiful garden that needs less water, pesticides and fertilizers, and buys you more time to just enjoy. 

As you get out in your gardens this spring and summer, we've compiled a few top tips and resource links to help you get the most return for your efforts.  Most resource links are courtesy

Did you know?  As a NUD customer, you have access to many FREE gardening and landscaping resources through the Saving Water Partnership.  These include free classes, how-to videos, rebates for water-efficient equipment, and a Garden Hotline with horticulture specialists ready to help answer your questions.  Visit to reach these great free resources.

1.  ALWAYS START WITH SOIL - because healthy soil grows healthy plants.  You can improve your soil quality by spreading 1-2" of compost over garden beds in the spring and fall.

For more info to get your soil going, see: 


Growing Healthy Soils guide
Composting at Home guide

2.  PLANT THE RIGHT PLANT IN THE RIGHT PLACE.  Matching plants to your unique landscape conditions gives them the best chance to thrive.  Choose plants that can work with your landscape's sun/shade patterns and soil type.

To give your plants the best start, check out:

right plant_right place_image
Right Plant Right Place
[one-page guide]
Start New Plants off Right
[one-page watering guide]
Tips for Testing Your Soil

3.  WHEN POSSIBLE, PICK NATIVE PLANTS.  Already adapted to NW weather patterns, native plants typically need less water and work to stay healthy. 

For a plant list designed by the great NW, check out:


Native plant guide
Great Plant Picks website

4.  MULCH MORE, WEED (AND WATER) LESS.  Adding a few inches of quality mulch - leftover fall leaves, bark, or compost - will help keep moisture in and weeds out.

To get your mulch for free, see: - this site links up arborists with wood chips to spare with homes who want them (tip courtesy In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes).

5.  LET YOUR LAWN LIE.  During the dry months, you can keep your beautiful lawn going with only 1" of water a week.  Use our free rain gauge or a simple tuna can to measure how long it takes to reach 1", then spread that out over 2-3 weekly waterings.  Don't forget to include rainwater.

To keep your lawns healthy and pesticide-free, see:


Natural Lawn Care guide

6.  SET A TIMER TO SAVE WATER AND MONEY.  Water bills can skyrocket in summer from over-irrigating.  Installing a simple timer on your irrigation systems can help make sure you're watering only as much as you need to.  While you're at it, make sure your system is aimed to water ONLY plants, not pavement.

For two ways to save when you water, check out:

Irrigation Rebate Flier image

WaterSense irrigation timer rebate info - see more details at

Video courtesy SPU: how to set up soaker hoses properly.
The Saving Water Partnership has more DIY sustainable landscaping videos - click HERE.






Growing Healthy Soils guide Composting at Home guide Right Plant Right Place one-page guide Watering New Plants - one-page guide Know Your Soil guide Native Plant List Great Plant Picks website Chipdrop website - external Natural Lawn Care guide $100 irrigation timer rebate