Natural Yard Care

Save money, save resources, have a beautiful landscape, and protect Puget Sound waters...all at the same time!

Puyallup's Stormwater webpages offer tips and resources for caring for your yard naturally and reducing stormwater runoff pollution at home. While homeowners strive for a picture-perfect yard, lawn and landscaping, most also don't want to wash their "money down the drain." Learning to follow a few, simple yard care guidelines for watering, planting, and fertilizing/feeding will help your yard, your pocket book, and protect our natural water resources!

Natural Yard Care

Your yard is hibernating now, so take the time to prepare for spring and be ready to make it beautiful again in the growing season. Read through some of the articles listed here on natural yard care, and learn how you can do without many chemicals in your spring cleaning.
Spring Banner
Using fewer chemicals, and natural fertilizers - such as compost - can help you attain a green, healthy yard. Managing your yard, including responsibly emptying of pools and spas, and proper disposal of Fido's waste, will help your yard be its best and help protect the environment and local water ways.

5 Steps to Natural Yard Care

  1. Build healthy soil
  2. Plant right for your site
  3. Practice smart watering
  4. Think twice before using pesticides
  5. Practice natural lawn care
Read through the publication to learn more about these 5 easy steps to natural yard care (PDF).

What to Do With Fido's Poo?

That little plastic baggie that you use to scoop up your pet's waste may be useful on the go, but at home, it may be excessive. Plastic bags take many years to decompose at landfills. But, if the poo is left in your yard, it washes into the soil and into our natural water ways (or flows off your yard and into our storm drains!). Yuck. Try placing the poo in the waste can without a plastic baggie -or- better yet, keep the smell out of the waste can and flush it! Don't want to take Fido's poo inside your home? Check out this little invention.

Note: The city does not endorse or otherwise promote this product, but is providing this for informational purposes. There are many other products also available for this market.

Looking for More Natural Yard Care Resources?

Check out the materials and websites below for information on natural yard care including composting, rain gardens, and rain barrels! These are sites for your reference and interest; the city does not endorse any of the products for sale on the external sites listed below:

Spring (March-May) Care Tips

Flower & Vegetable Garden

  • Flower and Vegetable Gardens prepare new planting beds and gardens by mixing in 1-3 inches of compost.
  • Pull weeds when they first start growing, while soil is moist and roots are short, before they go to seed.
  • Buy plants that resist disease and use less water.

Tree & Shrub Beds

  • Prepare new tree and shrub beds by mixing compost into the entire bed (not just planting holes). Or plant trees in native soil and mulch well.


  • Start mowing, about 2 inches high for most lawns, or 1 inch for bentgrass lawns.
    "Grasscycle" - leave the clippings for free fertilizer.
  • For lawns in poor condition: aerate, overseed, and top-dress with 1/2 inch of compost.
  • Fertilize lawns if needed in May with "natural organic" or "slow release" fertilizer.


  • Prepare sprinkler systems by testing, adjusting, and repairing leaks.
  • Lay out soaker hoses in beds, and cover with mulch.
  • Check soil moisture at plant roots before watering - don't water until they need it.


  • Harvest compost from your bin. Throw any uncomposted sticks or stalks back in for another cycle.

Summer (June-August) Care Tips

Flower & Vegetable Gardens

  • Mulch flower and vegetable beds with compost or grass clippings to conserve water and control weeds.
  • Use fabric row covers to keep pests off sensitive vegetables.
  • Identify bugs before you spray, squash, or stomp - they may be "good bugs" that eat pests.

Tree & Shrub Beds

  • Mulch shrub and tree beds With wood chips, leaves, or bark once a year to conserve water, reduce weeds, and feed the soil.


  • Mow regularly, and leave the clippings on the lawn.
  • Keep mower blades sharp to reduce lawn damage and brown tips.
  • Consider saving water by letting some lawn areas (ones that don't get heavy traffic) go brown and dormant until fall.


  • Start and re-check watering systems, and adjust for weather (don't water when it rains).
  • Water lawns 1 inch per week, or let go brown and dormant (but water enough to moisten root zone once a month).
  • Water at dawn or in evening to reduce evaporation.


  • Add yard debris to compost pile; water pile to keep it moist. Place pile in shade or cover to hold moisture.
  1. Joy Rodriguez, P.E.

    Civil Engineer