Programming your controller

Arguably, the hardest part of lawn maintenance is figuring out your irrigation controller. How much and when should we water to ensure a healthy lawn without water waste? While the controller controls the irrigation, you control the controller! A few things to consider when programming:

Stick to the watering schedule

The Town of Castle Rock has a watering schedule during irrigation season to help manage peak demand as well as more efficient water usage. In addition to conservation, the every-third-day watering schedule encourages less frequent, but deeper irrigation, which contributes to a stronger and healthier plant! HINT: When programming for every-third-day, look for the INTERVAL feature.

Adjust for weather conditions

May and September will require different amounts of supplemental irrigation than July. You will need to make adjustments as the weather changes, or at least monthly, to take into consideration wetter or hotter periods. All controllers are required to have a rain sensor, too, so they turn off when Mother Nature takes over. HINT: Many controllers allow you to change the PERCENTAGE of the amount watering.

Program for cycle and soak

Divide the total watering times into shorter periods with time for the water to soak into the ground. This will create healthier plant with deeper roots. HINT: Schedule one cycle per zone before scheduling the next cycle. Do not set one cycle in the morning and one in the evening for the same zone as this is ineffective. See how to program for Cycle and Soak.

Determine how much to water

Since different sprinkler types apply water at different rates, determining how many minutes to program into your controller takes some calculation. Use our Run-Time Calculator to get a good estimate, based on your sprinkler type and plant material. You can also view the Cycle and Soak video to use the run off method to determine how much to water your lawn. HINT: It is better to program for less water and let your lawn tell you if it needs more water.

Install a smart controller

For efficient irrigation use, Castle Rock Water suggests using a smart irrigation controller - and we have a rebates if you choose to purchase one. This type of timer has built-in water saving features including a sensor to adjust for the optimal sprinkler time based on local weather conditions.  As of 2018, all new residential homes in Castle Rock require a smart irrigation controller. HINT: Get a wireless model which has an app to adjust your controller.

How to program your controller

Here’s a short list and link to some common irrigation controllers found in Castle Rock and how to program them to adjust for every-third-day, cycle and soak and seasonal variability.