Steps for a Beautiful Yard, While Conserving Water
Many states and municipalities across the country have restrictions on when, and for how long, yards and shrubs can be watered. Many homeowners are looking for ways to maximize the efficiency of the water they use, and to reduce their monthly water bill.
In recognition of World Water Day, Rain Bird, a leading supplier of irrigation products for residential, commercial, golf, and agricultural applications, offers these steps to help you use water intelligently:
1) Know Your Yard
- Understand Your Soil. The soil type in your yard will greatly affect your watering schedule and influence the type of sprinkler you choose. A simple jar test will tell you what type of soil you have.
- Know Your Water Pressure. Water pressures vary greatly. If you have high pressure, make sure you install products equipped with pressure regulating devices, which can save you up to one gallon per minute per sprinkler.
2) Design Your System With Efficiency In Mind
- Select A Landscape Design That Minimizes Water Use. Use drought-tolerant plants when possible. Reserve your use of grass for areas with high value, visual prominence or frequent physical use.
- Divide Your Yard Into Zones. Divide your yard into separate zones so groundcover, shrubs and trees can be watered separately and less frequently.
- Use A Weather Adjusting Smart Clock. This automatically adjusts your watering schedule to take into account both the seasons and current weather conditions, optimally watering plants year round without the need to constantly reprogram.
- Use a rain sensor (like the Rain Bird® WR2 Wireless Rain Sensor) to automatically shut off your sprinkler system when it rains.
3) Select The Right Products
- Maximize Performance By Regulating Water Pressure. Pressure regulation can save up to one gallon per minute per sprinkler by delivering the right amount of water to get the job done, without any waste.
- Prevent Puddles. Use sprinklers with pre-installed check valves and low precipitation rates to prevent soggy areas, which can kill landscape or encourage fungus to grow.
- Use Drip For Shrubs And Flower Beds. Drip irrigation delivers the water directly to the base of plants, saving up to 80% over watering with traditional sprinklers. Drip irrigation prevents weeds and encourages healthier plants by watering each plant’s root zone, eliminating overspray and evaporation.
- Use Mulch. Applying mulch helps drainage, encourages root development and improves soil by making nutrients more available to plants, while conserving water.
- Select Sprinklers That Water As Evenly As Possible. Make sure you are applying water evenly and not overwatering some portions of your landscape by using sprinklers that are designed to work together.
4) Water Only At The Right Times
- Water In The Mornings. Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.—when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. This minimizes water loss due to evaporation and windy conditions, and helps avoid fungus growth on leaves. Check with your local water provider to see what days and times you are allowed to water.
- Don’t Water In The Rain. There is nothing worse than seeing a sprinkler running in the rain. Using a rain sensor will automatically shut off your sprinkler system when it rains.
5) Water Only When Your Yard Needs It
- Break Up Your Watering Times Into Shorter Segments. Applying more water than the ground can absorb leads to excess runoff.
- Water Less Frequently. Deep, infrequent watering will train the plants’ roots to grow deeper and more robust.
- Adjust Watering Times For Sunny And Shady Areas. Easy-to-set Rain Bird clocks with multiple, independent programs allow you to reduce watering times for shady areas.
- Water Only When Your Plants Demand It. If your plant leaves are beginning to curl and your footprints are staying longer than usual (meaning the grass doesn’t bounce back), it’s time to water. With a Rain Bird controller and SMRT-Y Soil Moisture Sensor, you can be sure you are watering just what you need to maintain a healthy landscape.
You might consider using a local professional landscape architect or Certified Irrigation contractor to help design and install an automatic sprinkler system for a healthy, water-efficient landscape.