Plan your YardSmart yard and garden

Less watering, less weeding and less fertilizing means you could have more time to enjoy your YardSmart yard​ - and enjoy the savings on your water bill.

Planning your YardSmart yard

  1. Draw a diagram of your yard and map out areas of sun, shade, dry and wet.
  2. Plot specific places for things like play areas, dining and entertainment, composting, gardening and rain barrels.
  3. Make a note of where water runs or pools; additionally, group plants with similar water needs together.
  4. Slope your flowerbeds and place plants that need the most water at the lowest part.
  5. Shape your beds so sprinklers and soaker hoses can easily accommodate them.

Design for water conservation

Select native or well adapted vegetation

Opt for either native plants or plants that have proven the test of time to be low water-users that thrive in Calgary's climate. See our list of recommended hardy, water-friendly perennialsnative wildflowers and trees and shrubs.

Reduce your lawn

Wherever possible, replace portions of your lawn with tiered gardens, rock gardens, low water-use shrubs or flowering trees and groundcover. These garden features use less water and act as wonderful filters and sponges to help absorb rainwater. Find more information on how to save water while taking care of your lawn.


Bark, wood chips, or stones will reduce the evaporation from the soil, slow weed growth, and decrease soil erosion. To find out how much mulch you'll need:

  • Determine the size of your flower bed.
  • Decide the depth of mulch (ideally two to four inches).
  • Multiply the size of your bed area by the depth of your mulch.
  • Divide the result by 324.
  • The result will give you the number of cubic yards you'll need.

Rain gardens

Rain gardens are a great landscaping feature that can be placed in a low-lying area of your garden. Rain gardens are shallow depressions filled with loose soil and planted with beautiful, hardly low-maintenance water-wise plants. The rain garden will naturally filter the runoff before it enters the stormwater system. To learn more, visit Rain Gardens in Calgary.

YardSmart how-to videos

Planning a Garden Bed

Creating a New Garden Bed

Pollinator Friendly Yards

Fertilizing Plants

Pest Free Gardens

Plants for Calgary's Climate

Effective Watering

How to Garden on a Budget

Need help designing your garden?

Not sure which plants to use or the right spot to plant them?

Download our step-by-step pdf guides or click on the image below to learn how to create beautiful and low maintenance garden beds which work in all areas of your yard:

Get more tips in our brochures