It’s not a complicated procedure, though there is certainly a wrong way to go about it. Many individuals make the assumption that a little water each day is the right way, but this can damage the lawn with too much frequency and not enough water at any single time.
A good rule of thumb? Emulate nature. In the eastern half of the U.S. in general, a heavy downpour may come one time a week and last for at least an hour. That’s enough to soak the plants and ensure the moisture reaches the roots.
Watering for a mere 20 minutes only soaks the surface, and the deeper roots stay dry. Doing this often encourages water-borne disease and moss growth.
The experts will tell you that optimally, an inch of water per watering session is adequate. This can be measured by placing a small container out in the yard and letting the sprinkler system continue until there’s an inch of water in the container.
If you wish to rig your own irrigation system up, it needn’t call for a large investment. Much can be accomplished through the use of inexpensive sprinkler systems, together with a garden hose, and, if needed, a clock-style timer which serves to remind you when to move the system around. It’s a low-tech method and it can prove cumbersome, but you can customize, to some extent, the amount of water that your lawn and other plants receive.
Semi-permanent pipe or hose placement can be made above ground within a flower garden as a way to afford slow-drip irrigation. The water drips from the emitters, thereby soaking the plants’ root systems.
The hidden sprinkler or irrigation system permits you to water your shrubs and lawn without any requirement to move bulky hoses around. In this scenario, a network of irrigation tubing is strategically positioned around the yard to ensure that the shrubs and lawn are appropriately watered.
You can use small spray heads to generate a fan-shaped pattern of water. Furthermore, specialty irrigation heads may be used as a way to further customize the system. It can include irrigation heads that have a lower pressure. These work well to irrigate flower beds without causing any damage to delicate petals and flower stocks.
Also available are rotor irrigation heads that run the water in a circular motion which is suited to the larger area.
Irrespective your irrigation system is located above or below the ground, do be sure that if you reside in an area where the climate is seasonal, the irrigation system is correctly prepared for and protected over the winter months.
The chore of sprinkling a lawn and a shrubbery can be fully automated with the use of timers. If your area receives a lot of rain, you may prefer to turn the system on and off manually, though relying on a timer system means that the grass and shrubs will be watered for the right amount of time.
Installation of an in-ground system is not particularly difficult to achieve, though it may be wise to use the services of sprinkler system companies to do this for you. After all, the professional will have the appropriate equipment to implement the system, and they will have the know-how to avoid disturbing existing drains, lines, or piping systems that are already in your yard.
Water Conservation Tips
- If conservation of water is your goal or resources are scarce, prioritize your irrigation. Firstly, soak a newly planted lawn, perennials, shrubs, and/ or trees. Then irrigate annuals, including any vegetables and ornamental plants that require water for production. Lastly, irrigate turf that is already dormant.
- Select plants that are native to your area as these have already undergone centuries of adapting to the prevailing environmental conditions.
- The best time to water is early in the morning as this will help your shrubs and lawn to withstand the day’s heat. If you choose to irrigate later, a lot of water can be lost to evaporation. Watering at night can contribute to fungal disease.
- Utilize sweating hoses or drip irrigation to water beds in the garden, as well as trees and shrubs. Both of these methods place the water directly at the rooting zone where it’s required.
- Use some form of rain gauge (a tin can is fine) to monitor a sprinkler watering system. When the can fills to the desired level, stop the sprinkler system.