Irrigating your residential property can be complicated enough without adding drought to the mix. If you live in a drought-prone area, you want to balance the water needs of your plants with the necessity of conserving a precious resource. Here are eight tips for homeowners to help you accomplish that.
When you install your sprinkler system, be sure to zone your lawn separately from shrubs and flower beds. Too many people try to make their sprinklers do double duty, and it wastes water. You could actually put your beds on a more efficient drip irrigation system and only use sprinkler heads for the grass sections of your landscaping.
Space Sprinkler Heads Properly
Sprinkler heads should be placed so their zones just overlap with no dry areas in between. Also, be sure you're not watering pavement and hardscaping surfaces. Move sprinkler heads back if you find this happening.
Make Hill Adjustments
If you have a sloping area in your yard, the bottom will naturally receive more irrigation, as water runs downhill. Consider having separate sprinklers for the top, middle, and bottom of the hill, and offer longer watering times at the top, with progressively less as you move downhill.
Time Watering for Maximum Use
Many people turn on their sprinklers first thing in the morning, but in summer, evaporation starts early in the day. Set your sprinklers to turn on in the evening, just before sunset, to minimize water loss due to evaporation.
Seasonally, if you're in a cold region but not in a snowy area, offer your plants water occasionally during the winter. They won't be so starved for water in the spring, and you won't be tempted to over-water to make up for a long winter without irrigation.
If all your sprinklers go off at once, you may be losing water to runoff. Stage the start of your sprinklers so they go off at different times.
Let Water Soak In
Don't water any longer than you need to, and let water soak in. Check the moisture depth with a small garden tool, or ask your landscaper to check it for you. You may be better off with several short waterings, allowing the water to move downwards in the soil, especially if your ground has a lot of clay.
Water Only As Needed
Don't feel obliged to water on a regular schedule. You can tell when your lawn needs irrigating when it shows mower tire tracks or footprints. Also, as trees leaf out, the shady areas beneath need less water as the season goes on until the leaves fall. Consider setting your sprinklers to manual, versus automatic, watering for more precise satisfaction of water demand.
Use Smart Technology
To really take advantage of individualized watering, use the latest smart technology with your irrigation system, just as you would with smoke alarms or home security. Set up your watering system to receive messages to turn on or off via Internet, or use rain sensors to tell your system when water is needed.
Home irrigation is a vital part of maintaining a beautiful yard. If you think ahead about using water resources wisely, you can have the yard you always wanted without wasting any water in the process. Talk to experts like Oasis Landscape & Irrigation for more information.