Is Your Irrigation System Water Savvy?

By Vanessa West

What was once trendy has now become a requirement, especially in Southern California. Water conservation initiatives have skyrocketed over the past few years, forcing many cities into mandatory water restrictions. Some mandate an overall usage reduction, while others restrict days and time of acceptable watering periods.

Consumers that stray outside the restrictions will pay dearly due to higher water fees. For the end user, this can mean increased costs to keep your lawn looking healthy and uniform.

Here are a few tips to avoid paying more while keeping your lawn looking lovely.

Check Your Heads

Sprinkler heads can be a huge source of water waste yet an easy way to cut usage. Nozzles manage water distribution by controlling water volume, helping to keep your lawn’s appearance consistent. They also manage where your water is distributed.

Adjusting broken heads or replacing them altogether to avoid overspray on sidewalks and buildings can save 20 gallons per day or more. Make sure your commercial landscaper is using rotary nozzles which have extremely low precipitation rates, are easier to install, adjust and maintain water levels. Plus, they’ll help keep your sidewalks dry and water spots off the side of your building.

Go Native

Huge grassy lawns can be a drain on water supply and your wallet. Instead, have your commercial landscaper install drought tolerant trees and shrubs.

Plants such as nyalla, little becca and tasred are excellent for hot climates that experience little rainfall. They are just as aesthetically pleasing yet require little to no maintenance.

Furthermore, applying mulch around plants can save hundreds of gallons a year by reducing evaporation. Make sure your landscaper has a background in native landscaping to ensure that proper plants are employed and positioned in aesthetically pleasing layouts.

Get Smart

Smart controllers that is. These days, controllers take all the guesswork out of irrigation. Controllers, such as evapotranspiration controllers, automatically adjust timing, frequency and amount of water needed according to environmental changes. They employ sensors to increase or decrease irrigation needs and have the ability to stop watering altogether during rain, low temperatures and windy conditions.

On average, smart controllers reduce water waste by 15 percent to 30 percent. Installing them might make you eligible for a rebate, further increasing your cost savings.

Timing is Everything

Whether or not you are using a smart controller, it is important to reset your timers to before sunrise and after sunset. Watering your lawn during this period not only cuts down on water loss due to evaporation but also because of less wind diffusion.

Be sure to remember to adjust timings during seasonal changes when daylight hours increase and daylight savings.

If you are about to embark on a landscaping project, look for a commercial landscaper with knowledge and experience in water saving techniques. It will safeguard you from avoidable repairs and alterations. You don’t want to get ripped off when you are trying to save money, and the planet.

Vanessa West is a marketing coordinator with Pierre Sprinkler and Landscape in Monrovia. She can be reached at