Did you know approximately 50 percent of the water we consume each year is used outdoors for irrigating our landscaping? Because of this, water bills are typically two to three times higher in summer than in winter. Being more efficient with irrigation practices will save water, money, and can make your plants healthier. Poor watering practices may lead to many landscape problems. Whether you use a hose, and sprinkler, or an automatic irrigation system, you can water more efficiently by following a few water wise irrigation tips.
How to program a standard irrigation controller for every-third-day
Observe watering schedules
Castle Rock Water allows watering early in the morning (before 8 a.m.) or later in the evening (after 8 p.m.) on your designated day. Watering restriction are in effect from May 1 through Sept. 30. Watering during the cooler, less windy times, of the day reduces water lost to evaporation.
Adjust your sprinklers, frequently
- The “set it and forget it” attitude wastes a lot of water. Regularly, (monthly during irrigation season) check your sprinkler system for proper adjustment and operation.
- All sprinkler heads should be adjusted to eliminate overspray. Mowers, foot traffic and other events frequently cause sprinkler heads to become misaligned. Don't let sprinklers water the sidewalk and driveway instead of the lawn.
- Head-to-head coverage is required for an efficient irrigation system. The spray from one head needs to reach the next head. If it doesn’t, brown spots are likely to develop.
Choose the right sprinkler for the job
- Design your sprinkler system and landscape into several zones to match the plant needs, plant types, exposure, slope and soil.
- Larger areas can be watered more efficiently with rotors.
- Fixed spray heads and rotating nozzles provide more flexibility for smaller spaces.
- Consider using rotors or rotating nozzles in areas on slopes. These heads apply water more slowly allowing for longer run times without runoff.
- Heavy clay soils absorb water very slowly, and as a result run off occurs quickly. Consider designing your system with rotors or rotating nozzles as they apply water at a slower rate.
- Use drip emitters or in-line drip tubing for planting beds and trees.
- Drip irrigation can be used for a variety of applications by simply selecting the emitter best suited for the plant material.
- All sprinkler heads / nozzles are designed to run at a specific pressure. Knowing your available pressure is important. For example, fixed spray heads generally operate best at 30 pounds per square inch (psi) while rotors or rotating nozzles are designed to operate at 40-50 psi.
Apply only what you need
- Calculate approximately how much water your landscape needs with the Run Time Calculator.
- Check your weather station periodically to adjust for weather conditions. We have area-specific weather stations providing temperature, humidity, wind, and solar radiation which is used to calculate the amount of moisture plants need to replenish what has been lost to evaporation and transpiration.
- Check your lawn by simply walking across it. If it springs back, the lawn does not need water.
- Sunny areas will require more water than areas in the shade. As a result, design your system to include separate zones / stations to allow for different schedules based on exposure.
- Cycle and soak, watering more deeply and less often. This more efficiently fills the root zone.
- Steeper slopes and heavy clay soil will require multiple short cycles to avoid runoff.
- High traffic areas (from play and pets) may require more water.
- When setting your controller, make sure each zone shuts off / stops before runoff occurs.
- A good rule of thumb for turf grass is to water no more than 1.5 inches per week when the temperature is over 85 degrees.
Install rain sensors and smart controllers
- Rain sensors interrupt the irrigation cycle when adequate rainfall has occurred.
- Smart controllers automatically adjust either sprinkler run-times or watering frequency based on changes in weather or soil moisture.
- Castle Rock Water offers rebates to replace your traditional controllers with smart controllers.
- Check for proper function of rain sensors; they are frequently install upside down, placed under eaves or put in 'bypass' mode on the controller.
- Soil sensors, much like rain sensors, connect to your irrigation controller and adjust irrigation based on soil needs.
Place the right plant in the right place
- Replacing some turf area with low-water-use plants and ornamental grasses adds variety to your yard and requires less water. By grouping plant types together and identifying shade patterns, watering zones can be created. These zones allow you to give each type of plant just the right amount of water - not too much or too little. For more information about xeriscape, consider attending a ColoradoScape design workshop.
- Areas used for active lifestyles need the ability to withstand heavy foot traffic and activities. Consider using a Texas hybrid bluegrass in place of the more traditional Kentucky bluegrass. The Texas hybrids will have a deeper root system, be more heat resistant, drought tolerant and recover better when damaged.