Outdoor Home Maintenance

Preventing Pollution from Outdoor Home Maintenance

It is possible to have a beautiful yard and a healthy environment. You can prevent your lawn and garden from contributing polluted runoff to streams, lakes, and rivers.

Chemicals, Fertilizers, Herbicides, and Pesticides

Tips for using chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides:
  • Apply these substances sparingly.
  • Clean up any spills immediately and store products so that they won't get wet or leak.
  • Consider natural and nontoxic alternatives to pesticides.
  • Learn about properly applying fertilizer so that it doesn't pollute water.
  • Read labels carefully and do not apply if the forecast calls for rain. If it rains, products will wash into waterways before they have a chance to work.

Outdoor Home Maintenance

Tips for outdoor home maintenance:
  • Direct water from your home's downspouts to vegetated areas or collect rainwater in a rain barrel.
  • Drain swimming pools only when chlorine is not detected by a swimming-pool test kit.
  • Pick up litter around your yard so that it doesn't blow into streams or storm drains.
  • Sweep up debris in your driveway instead of hosing it down.


Tips for lawn care:
  • Avoid over-watering your lawn. Water during the cooler times of day to minimize evaporation. Turn off automatic sprinklers for a couple of days if it rains.
  • Do not mow within at least 10 feet of the stream bank.
  • Don't leave grass clippings or other yard waste along curbs or ditches.
  • Test soils before fertilizing lawns.


Tips for landscaping:
  • Consider landscaping alternatives to grass lawns that offer more environmental benefits.
  • Create a "rain garden" to collect and treat runoff before it leaves your property.
  • Leave vegetated and wooded areas in their natural state, especially along streams and ditches.
  • Select drought-resistant and native plants and grasses. Native plants require less water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
  • Use mulch instead of herbicides. Mulch naturally prevents weeds and absorbs water.