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Celebrate Earth Day by Conserving Water
It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 as well as it’s National Lawn Care Month. You can observe both Earth Day and National Lawn Care Month by cutting back on your outdoor water usage.
The EPA estimates that the average American family wastes up to 180 gallons of household water each week, which translates into 9,400 gallons of water wasted each year.
Additionally, the average family uses 30% of the 9,400 gallons per year on outdoor water. In arid parts of the U.S., the average family uses up to 60% of household water for outdoor usage.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss:
- How hydrozoning and underground irrigation systems help you conserve water
- The process of designing and installing an outdoor sprinkler system
- What is xeriscaping?
- Don’t forget about driplines and bubblers
How Hydrozoning and Underground Irrigation Systems Help You Conserve Water
Smart technology has been a boon for irrigation systems in the effort to reduce household water usage as well as efficiently watering lawns and landscapes.
As you know, you should only water your lawn and landscape infrequently (one to two times per week). And you need to count total rainfall for the week into the 1” to 2” of water used to keep your property staying alive and thriving.
An underground irrigation system designed with smart technology will allow you to reduce the amount of water you use on your property. It also saves money on your utility bill.
If you have an older lawn sprinkler system, you can get your system recalibrated to include smart technology controllers as well as update your sprinklers and rotary heads. Some areas of your property may benefit from driplines and tree bubblers too.
The Process of Designing and Installing an Outdoor Sprinkler System
If you’re not familiar with landscape design, you may want to hire an irrigation contractor to help you design a master plan for your property as well as install your lawn sprinkler system.
For example, you’ll need to know the various microclimates throughout your property. Microclimates include the amount of sunlight, wind, shade, and soil type that exists in each area of your property. Yes, you can have many microclimates on one property.
Next, you’ll need to divide your landscaped areas into hydrozones. Hydrozones group plants together based on their microclimate needs. Then, you’ll be able to design a lawn sprinkler system that waters each hydrozone based on the amount it needs.
For example, if you have flowerbeds planted in full sun, they need more water than groundcovers growing in the shade. The National Association of Landscape Professionals groups hydrozones into the following zones:
- Zone 1 includes the majority of your property that uses the most energy and water. It’s called the principal hydrozone. For example, zone one could consist of a lawn that has a lot of foot traffic.
- Zone 2 is reduced irrigation. It’s a visually important area on your property, such as a flowerbed or a landscaped area, but it doesn’t have as much foot traffic.
- Zone 3 integrates visually essential areas, but it has less foot traffic. Zone 3 is the limited irrigation zone. For example, limited irrigation zones include privacy trees that buffer noise from a highway.
- In zone 4, there is no irrigation. The plants in that area rely on rainfall only. You’ll find zone four, including areas along highways where there is no human activity. It’s called the elementary zone.
You need to know which zones need irrigation lines. Granted, you won’t have a zone four, but depending on how large your property is, you may need all three irrigation zones on it.
What is Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping means, “dry landscaping.” You’re probably thinking about landscapes in the southwestern part of the U.S. or in California. In truth, anyone around the world can design xeriscaping on their property.
You create a xeriscape when you plan your landscape around the sunlight and soil needs of plants. Native plants or plants grown in similar climates as yours conserve water—which is the goal of xeriscaping.
You also want to include the following xeriscaping practices:
- Design your xeriscape: Plan where certain plants will grow. For example, you want to put ferns and pachysandra in shaded, well-drained soil. You can add rocks, a dry streambed and other features into your xeriscape as well.
- Plant the right plants in your xeriscape: Group plants according to their hydrozones. For example, daylilies, coneflowers, and brown-eyed Susans are sun-loving plants. Place them together in the same bed and set up a dripline to meet their watering needs.
- Healthy soil produces vibrant plants and reduces water usage: Make sure the soil in your xeriscape drains well and is porous. You want loamy soil. Use compost or other soil amendments to improve the soil if it’s heavy clay or sandy.
- Mulch is a must: Mulch keeps moisture in the soil rather than allowing it to evaporate. Plus, mulch gives a boost of nutrition to the soil as it breaks down. Landscaped areas do best with 2” to 4” of mulch.
- Maintain your xeriscape: While a xeriscape is low-maintenance, you still need to care for it with fertilization, removing weeds, and pruning when needed.
- Use drip irrigation to water your xeriscaping wisely: Driplines deliver water directly to the plants’ roots. There’s no water waste. Instead, you’ll have a beautiful garden.
Don’t Forget about Driplines and Bubblers
As you know, your flowerbeds and landscaped areas use less water than a lawn. Did you know that driplines and bubblers emit larger water droplets lower to the ground? These large water drops go straight into the soil and percolate down into the root system.
You save water and improve your plants by using driplines and bubblers in flowerbeds, container gardens, near trees, and with groundcovers.
If you improve the condition of your soil, making it more loamy and absorbent, you’ll be conserving water and plant life at the same time.
Remember, clay soils need to soften up and have smaller air pockets. And sandy soils need to improve water absorption. Compost, topdressing, and other soil amendments condition the soil to absorb water and store it for a longer time.
How K-Rain Outdoor Sprinkler Systems Save You Water
K-Rain uses smart technology to help you save water. Your plants and lawn grass will be healthier when you install a K-Rain sprinkler system on your property.
FacilityExecutive.com, “Spring has Sprung! A Look at Lawn and Garden Watering Innovations.”
LoveYourLandscape.org, “10 Easy Ways to Save Water in Your Yard and Garden.”
Ibid, “Designing a Yard Using Hydrozones.”
Ibid, “How to Get Started with Xeriscaping.”