by Jared Gillman, co-owner of A&D Landscaping
With Spring and Summer right around the corner, Cache Valley is sure to start heating up. Now is the time to make a few preparations to make sure your yard stays looking great, and in turn helping you save water and money.
Plant the Right Plants with Proper Landscape Design and Irrigation.
Whether you are putting in a new landscape or slowly changing the current landscaping of your home, select plants that are appropriate for your local climate conditions. Having a yard with 100 percent lawn area in a dry desert climate requires significant amounts of water. Consider the trend toward Xeriscape™ (low-water use landscapes). Some landscape elements to help you accomplish this include outdoor hardscapes which include pavers patios and walks, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces; rockscapes; large low-water plant beds; unique stone ground covers; sand volleyball courts; mulched playgrounds; and more natural landscaped areas. Spend a little time learning more about these unique landscape options and popular new trends.
Water Only What Your Plants Need
Most water is wasted by watering when your plants do not need the water. Be attentive if you are setting your own irrigation timer with seasonal watering adjustments. Most water that is wasted in Utah is done in the cooler months of Spring and Fall. As the temperature begins to warm controllers are turned on to the settings previously set for the hottest part of summer. Many times they are also commonly left on during cooler fall months, when cutting back should be occurring as the landscape does not need nearly as much water. A half-inch to three-quater-inch of water per week is sufficient in the early Spring and in the late Fall as opposed to the warm months of July and August where two inches of water per week is more appropriate.
Make Repairs and Adjustment to Your Existing Irrigation System and Upgrade Your Sprinklers to More Water-Efficient Heads
Thoroughly check your sprinklers in the Spring. Look for broken nozzles, leaking heads, leaking valves and non-uniform head-spray patterns. Make sure your sprinkler spray patterns are overlapping one another by ten to 15 percent. This will create better uniformity and ensure shorter run times. Consult with local irrigation supply companies and contractors to replace your sprinklers with new heads that provide greater efficiency and uniformity to reduce water use and runoff. Many heads have been made available in the last five to ten years that can provide water savings of as much as 20 to 30 percent.
Consider one of the many new smart controllers that are becoming commonplace.
You may consider installing a weather-adjusting ET/Smart irrigation controller. These controllers automatically save water by not watering when the plants don’t need water. These controllers take the guess work out of watering. Many use hyper-local weather data to learn how much water your yard needs. This is done based on real-time precipitation, humidity, temperature, wind, solar radiation, slope and soil condition — they intelligently adjust so you don’t have to. These controllers quite often save 20 to 40 percent of the water used by your sprinkler system annually and cost as little as $250 to $450 for the controller. You can also monitor or adjust them at any time from your smartphone or computer. Check with your local water providers to find ET/Smart controllers available in your area.