About Half of All Water Used in a Year is Outdoors.

Reducing outdoor water use is the easiest way to save and has the largest impact on lowering your water bill. You don’t even have to give up your green lawn! There are smart watering practices, low-water plants and grasses, hardscaping features, and other water-wise options that let you stay green while caring for the blue.

Dollar sign with a sprinkler head graphic depicting saving water outdoors

Water Use Rules

In 2021, Thornton City Council adopted permanent Water Use Rules into City Code. The following turf/lawn irrigation rules will be enforced April 1 – October 31 (watering vegetable gardens and plant materials are not included):

Sprinkler head spraying grass

Outdoor Irrigation

  • Water no more than 3 days/week, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
  • Vegetable gardens and other gardens may be watered as needed.
  • Exceptions will be made for new sod, seeding and reseeding of lawns.
  • Exceptions will be made for large properties that cannot irrigate appropriately within the restricted schedule.
Closeup of broken sprinkler line spraying water

Water Leaks

  • A courtesy notice will be provided for water leaks.
  • Water leaks should be shut off or repaired as soon as possible, and not more than 10 days from the date of notice.
  • If water leaks are not remedied in provided time, residential penalty starts at $100 and commercial/irrigation penalty starts at $250.
Sprinkler head operating next to driveway

Water Waste

  • A courtesy notice will be provided for water waste.
  • Water waste should be remedied soon as possible, and not more than 10 days from the
    date of notice.
  • If water waste is not remedied in provided time, residential penalty starts at $100 and commercial/irrigation penalty starts at $250.

Consult our Watering Guide below every month for recommended number of minutes for watering lawns.

Thornton Watering Guide

For watering your lawn up to three days per week.

Total minutes per zone, per watering day. We recommend the Cycle & Soak method when possible, which means split watering times into three short cycles. Watering vegetable gardens or plant materials are not included.

Summer watering guide for different months and sprinkler types
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minutes minutes minutes minutes
MAY 12 24 30 18
JUNE 17 35 43 26
JULY 18 36 45 27
AUGUST 14 27 34 20
SEPTEMBER 11 23 28 17

October-April: Winter Watering

During colder months, snow does a good job of keeping trees, shrubs, perennials, and lawns hydrated so you don’t have to. If it’s over 40 degrees and there’s no snow on the ground, you can water once or twice a month.

Watering your trees.

Learn more about efficient tree watering throughout the year.

How to efficiently water trees
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H2Overhaul Your Yard

Check out H20verhaul, our step-by-step guide to transform your yard into a beautiful landscape—complete with detailed instructions, tips, and encouragements. Click the icons below to download the entire H2Overhaul kit and be well on your way to the higher ground of water-wiseness.

Water-Wise Demonstration Gardens

You can have a spectacular yard, increase your curb appeal and property value, and yes, save gallons of water and boatloads of dollars, too. Here are some examples of gardens we love for all the reasons above. Feel free to visit these gardens and get inspired. 

Five images of plants in gardens and people learning about them

Visit our demonstration gardens:

Thornton Fire Station 5, 14051 Colorado Blvd.

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Carpenter Recreation Center, 11151 Colorado Blvd.

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DeMistify Facts — Outdoors

Welcome to our DeMistify series, with everything you wanted to know about where your water goes. Learn how to cut down your utility bill and conserve water outdoors by locating sneaky leaks, and irrigating and watering more efficiently. Find tips on how to save indoors.

DeMistify Sprinkler System Leaks

Hidden leaks can lead to a lot of waste and a big increase in your water bill. Learn how to save by locating hidden drips so you can x ‘em quick. (En Español)

Hidden Water Waste DeMistified thumbnail graphic
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DeMistify Your Irrigation Controller

Irrigation controllers are tricky. Learn about the basics here and soak up the knowledge you need to help master the programming process. (En Español)

Irrigation Controllers DeMistified thumbnail graphic
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DeMistify The Cycle & Soak Watering Method

Use this water-wise method to save water and grow a strong, healthy lawn. (En Español

Cycle and Soak DeMistified thumbnail graphic
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Outdoor Tips

Read The Outdoor Water-Saving Checklist

Our top-10 tips to help you take control of your use and get more out of your water.

Top 10 outdoor water saving tips
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Spruce Up Your Sprinkler System

Fix any leaks or problems before the summer season (learn how) or schedule a free sprinkler consultation with a trained technician.

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Program Your Irrigation Controller

Learn more here about how to schedule your residential irrigation controller yourself.

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