Water Efficient Landscaping
Fresh water is the fastest growing cost in terms of public commodities. It’s also a finite resource on our planet that is gaining more attention thanks to the green movement. Which is why it’s always going to be more cost effective in the long run to have a yard that’s as self-sufficient as possible. We’ve laid out a few tips for how to make your yard effective at using water.
- Watering Times
- Water Timers
- Irrigation System Calibration
- Sprinkler System Position
- Converting Downspouts
- Lawn Mowing
Mulching adds a ton of benefits to your lawn care. To name a few: Mulching insulates the soil helping provide a buffer from heat and cold temperatures, retains water helping to keep the roots moist. It keeps weeds out to help prevent root competition, prevents soil compaction and reduces lawn mower damage.
Try to avoid piling mulch against plant stems and tree trunks to prevent rot. Also, heavy mulching over a period of many years may result in a build-up of soil over the crown area of plants. The cost of some materials can be a drawback to large-scale mulching.
Watering during the cool parts of the day, such as the early morning or late evening, is a good way to prevent water burn off. These hours tend to have less wind as well, further preventing water waste. Check with your Water Management District office for watering restrictions, as they can vary widely from county to county.
At GreenView Solutions, we use Rainbird Wifi Controlled water timers that help keep structuring your watering schedule easy. Watering times vary depending on the amount of rain you can expect during the month. Watering based on rainfall can save you up to 20% on your next water bill. However, keep a close eye on wilting. Required water amounts depends greatly on the types of plants you have in your yard. Making sure your yard is properly xeriscaped, meaning plants with similar water requirements are zoned together, is important for water scheduling.
Irrigation System Calibrating
Calibrate your irrigation system to determine how long to run the system so that it delivers the most efficient amount of water recommended for your area. Irrigations systems can be very different and could be delivering too much, not enough, or just the right amount of water depending on the type of irrigation system and the zone being watered.
Making sure the water is getting to the grass and not running off onto the street or other paved areas is imperative. Lawns only need about ¾ inch of water in one watering session. To calibrate, place empty tuna cans or measuring cups around the yard, all within range of the sprinkler heads (some close, some far away). Turn on the sprinkler system for thirty minutes, measure the amount of water collected in each can/cup. Ensure that the water is evenly distributed across all of the measuring devices. If the can/cups collected ¾ inch of water, then you know you need to water for thirty minutes, otherwise, calculate how long you need to water to get the desired results so that you do not over water or not water enough.
Micro-Irrigation Hoses and Drip-Irrigation Systems
Drip irrigation systems are a low-pressure, low-volume and garden watering system that delivers water to your home landscape through a variety of methods. Through a drip, spray, or stream, a drip irrigation system keeps roots moist but not over-watering by using less than other irrigation techniques.
While sprinkler systems are around 75 – 85% efficient, drip irrigation systems typically are 90% or higher.
One thing to watch out for is loose connections from the hose to the waterspout or spicket. An oversight that could cost you a ton if left on for long periods of time without being checked.
Making the most out of the water falling from the sky seems like a no brainer. In reality, this is very rarely done. Waterscaping is a great way to turn the downspouts into useful natural irrigation systems. Many times, these can look very cool as well!
Xeriscaping uses landscaping and gardening to reduce or illuminate the need for supplemental water through irrigation. It’s typically used in regions that don’t have access to plan a full water supplies or in some cases where water is just expensive or difficult to get reach. It also may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardens.
Plants and vegetation who’s natural requirements are appropriate for the local climate or emphasized in special care is taken to avoid evaporation and water runoff. The specific plants and vegetation depend on the local climate. Xeriscaping is different from landscaping because there’s an emphasis in xeriscaping on the selection of plants for water conservation, not necessarily native plants.
Due to the use of cactus and gravel xeriscaping frequently has a negative perception, however, studies have shown that education and water conservation practices in the landscape greatly improve the publics perception of xeriscaping.
Mowing Your Lawn
The taller your grass is, the more extensive the root system becomes. Grass with longer roots is more drought resistant and if the grass is mowed very short, most of the energy will go into new leaf blades and less into growing a root system. So, don’t mow your grass to short and end up with a shallow root system.