WATER CONSERVATION VS. DRY SPOTS

Shouldn’t all irrigated lawns be green? Yes and no. Take the pictures above. The picture on the left is the entire lawn and the picture on the right is a small piece of the same lawn. This is typical of almost all lawns, especially those with established trees. 

 

In a perfect world, irrigation would provide a 100% green healthy lawn. The problem is that different parts of a lawn have different soil profiles and water needs. Gravel buried under the soil, tree roots, slopes, and reflected sun and shade can all vary the irrigation need and create wet and dry spots on the same lawn with the same irrigation program. Adjusting the sprinklers can help but often times, it is unavoidable.

 

Historically, we watered more to compensate for those hard to water areas. As water costs have increased, we have worked to lower irrigation to save our customers money. The bad news is that the result are a few dry spots on most properties. The good news is that allowing a few dry spots can reduce water costs 20-40%. This is where Weather based irrigation come into play.  Weather based irrigation adjusts the controller daily based on the weather. However, inconsistent soil, hidden construction debris and gravel in the soil below, all create differential water needs and make some areas difficult to water regardless of how much is applied. weather based irrigation is great for reducing water usage, but quickly points out the place where the landscape or system is flawed.


http://www.pacscape.com/sustainable/weather-based-irrigation.php

Our recommended long term solution is to modify the irrigation system to more properly water varying needs throughout the landscape, and in many locations, modify the landscape, eliminating lawn where it's going to be difficult and expensive to irrigate. our budgets will include water conservation projects including Lawn Conversion. And we also are recommending customers budget to do a Water Conservation Plan to do a full system evaluation to use for long term planning on projects to reduce water use, save money and improve the look of your landscape in the summer. 

 

What is the Alternative? There are lots of options. Replacing lawn with just barkdust or some sort of groundcover are both options. We have experimented with sedum like on green roofs but it has had marginal success. We are seeing locally and nationally the use of rock and are very excited about that as an option. Below are several pictures of rock as a groundcover that is very attractive and easy to maintain. Rocks do not need water and never die. Some have expressed concern about the liability risk with rocks but we believe that is low. If someone wants to throw a rock through a window, they will find it even if there is no rock in the landscape. 

 

We have been removing lawn and planting shrubs or creating rock beds for several years now. This is lowering water use, and improving the look of many properties. See example below.


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