A landscape receives water from two primary sources, naturally through Mother Nature and supplemental water through irrigation. Knowing that water is a landscape’s lifeblood, it is important to ensure water stays where it belongs: that is, where you and Mother Nature intend it to be. There are many water-smart practices to help with proper water stewardship.
To reduce runoff from heavy rains:
- Rain gardens, usually comprised of native plants, help absorb water that otherwise would be swept away by heavy rains.
- Cisterns can harvest rain water from roofs to be used to supplement irrigation systems.
- Mulching annual flower beds will conserve moisture in the soil and help absorb rain water.
- Aeration relieves soil compaction on grass and can reduce runoff.
- Porous paving systems in parking lots, drives, and walks can reduce runoff by filtering rainwater and allowing it to percolate into the soil.
- By absorbing rain water, green roofs reduce water runoff, and they help insulate the inside of an office building or other commercial structure.
You can save water by conserving it, too:
- Drip irrigation systems (that operate at close to 90 percent efficiency) conserve water while getting much needed moisture directly to flower beds.
- Observe your irrigation system while in operation to ensure it is working properly. Contact your landscape professional if you observe runoff or areas in your grass that are collecting water.
- Installing a rain sensor in your irrigation system can shut off watering while it’s raining. Updating systems and retrofitting them with pressure regulators and rotors can minimize run off and waste.
- Landscapes change and either irrigation systems or plant material need to adapt to ensure proper watering. Landscapes can be reshaped to accommodate the present irrigation system or you may want your landscape professional install separate zones for grass and shrubs.
- Replacing the irrigation clock with a smart controller will allow your system to reduce water efficiently when possible and increase when necessary for plant health. This is all done without human involvement necessary.
- Mature plant material may no longer need regular irrigation. An audit of your landscape and irrigation system will determine if there are zones that can be turned off completely.
Efficient watering practices provide numerous benefits including lower water bills and sustainable practices that are beneficial for the environment. If you think there is more your property can be doing to save water in your landscape, talk with your landscape professional about what additional efficiency practices might be appropriate.