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Yard care, salmon and Puget Sound
Yard Talk: dirt simple tips for natural yard care

Episode 14: "Yard care, salmon and Puget Sound"

Protecting water quality starts at home

  • Know where your property’s run off goes—locate the storm drains or ditches on your street and find out where that water flows.
  • Keep dirt, litter, and other junk out of your storm drains.
  • Protect bare soil with mulch and replace or shrink your lawn with a variety of native plants.
  • Use pervious pavers
  • Avoid pesticides and quick release fertilizers which end up in the nearest body of water and slowly poison marine creatures.
  • If your property borders a body of water, consider creating a natural buffer like Robin’s that will provide good habitat for salmon.
  • Don’t wash your car in your driveway. The soaps and grime that go down the storm drain kill fish instantly. Instead, take your car to a carwash where the water is recycled and reused. And the underside of your car is washed as well.
  • Do everyone a favor and dispose of pet waste the right way: Bag it and put it in the trash.
  • Support companies that are members of Envirostars, a regional program that recognizes businesses that reduce hazardous waste and help keep the water clean.

Greg's tips & tricks

Greg explains ways to prevent pet waste from harming water quality.

Doug’s designs

Doug gives a tour of a garden he designed to support the salmon-bearing stream it borders.


Gregory Smaus of Native Roots Designs talks about designing a beautiful yard to minimize the harmful effects of runoff.

Show resources

Native Root Designs*

Washington State University King County Extension*

Native Plant Landscaping Guide

Seattle Tilth’s Garden hotline*

*External link.

Please Note: This list of resources is provided by King County as a courtesy to the public and does not endorse or guarantee the quality of the service offered or provided.

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Yard Talk is brought to you by KCTV and the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

For questions about this web page, please contact Greg Rabourn, Community Stewardship Specialist, Water and Land Resources Division.

Related information

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A water-wise garden designed by Gregory Smaus of Tative Roots Designs
The Yard Talk guys visit a water-wise garden designed by Gregory Smaus of Native Roots Designs.

Patio with pavers and plants rein in stormwater
A patio with space between pavers and beautiful plants rein in stormwater and prevent runoff in this great outdoor room.

Dog on the lawn- illustrating a discussion on pet waste and water quality
Did you know that pet waste can harm water quality? Greg explains how to dispose of our cute pets' not-so-cute droppings.

Tapertip onion, a native plant, illustrating replacing lawn with native plants
Replacing lawn with native plants can go far to reduce run off and yard maintenance.