Denver Water's pinwheels are an eye-catching reminder that watering in the wind is wasteful.
We don't have water to waste in Colorado. And throwing it into the wind by watering when the wind is blowing is just a bad practice. Typically, there is more wind during daylight hours, and that's when even more water from the sprinklers spraying over the lawn will be lost through evaporation.
Consequently, watering overnight or early morning hours is best. Typically, there is less wind to blow the water away from the landscape, and there is less heat to make it evaporate. Yet most people won't get up and drag a hose around early in the morning when it's the best time to water the lawn. Plus, when you're away, who's going to water the lawn for you?
This is why having a good automatic sprinkler system with a few bells and whistles is a major convenience and can help you make every drop of water count.
• Well-designed sprinkler systems save water by directing water only where you need it.
• They have timers so you can schedule when to water and how much.
• They also provide different watering options so that you can water the grass one way with standard sprinklers and the veggies another way with drip irrigation tubes that slowly drip water. With these tubes, water isn't sprayed into the air where it evaporates, but it's emitted at the base of the plants which is more healthy for most vegetables.
What are the basics for a good sprinkler system?
Work with a sprinkler professional who can design a system for the varying needs in your yard. Consult with the designer about:
• Getting a good controller that gives the most watering options for your landscape. The controller is the device that tells the sprinkler when to water and for how long.
• Smart controllers that rely on weather data to schedule watering times.
• Soil moisture sensors and rain shut-off devices that can keep sprinklers from watering when the soil has enough moisture or after a soaking rain.
• Whether drip irrigation is a good fit for some areas of your yard.
Finally, ask about rebates that might be available from your city or water provider. Depending on what is available in your area, the rebates could help cover some of the costs of a new or upgraded sprinkler system.
Take a smart step toward a more sustainable landscape and install or retrofit a sprinkler system that helps you be even smarter about saving water.
Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.