Beautiful, sunny, warm days are ahead, and this is the time of year when homeowners begin to think about getting their yards in tip-top shape for the outdoor season. By the end of March, spring will be in full bloom in the Savannah, GA area, so now is the time to plan for a lovely lawn and festive flowers.
While their yards remain a priority, most would-be gardeners and lawn care junkies share a desire to minimize water usage. Conserving water (and saving on your monthly bill!) is high on the list for most homeowners. If you’re concerned about the amount of water it will take to achieve the perfect yard, Ernest Homes has some tips for using less water along the way.
Go Local for Best Results
Using local plants and grasses is one of the best ways to conserve water. Indigenous plants are the most comfortable in this climate, and will require less specialized care to flourish. They grow well when exposed to the natural amount of water in their habitat, so they’ll require less additional watering than imported plants.
Plan Your Project
You’ll be able to cut down significantly on water usage if you group plants that have similar water needs together. If your yard is laid out with this in mind, you can target your watering needs more specifically, and avoid overwatering some of your plants by mistake. Planning the layout of your landscaping by the amount of water your plants need is called “hydrozoning”, and your local garden shop can give you great advice on which plants should be neighbors. For instance, you wouldn’t want to plant your shrubs, which need less water, in the same area as your perennials, which tend to need more moisture to survive. The extra water needed for your perennials require will actually stunt the growth of your shrubs.
If you’re serious about water conservation, and you’re starting from scratch with a new lawn, or planning a complete overhaul of your landscaping, you may want to consider adding an irrigation system. Irrigation systems are designed to send pre-determined amounts of water to specific areas of your yard automatically. Both underground and above ground irrigation systems are available. Most irrigation systems require specialized installation, but there are DIY above ground versions available that you can complete on your own.
Using the right number and type of sprinklers is one of the best ways to only use the amount of water that you actually need. For sprinklers to work at the highest level of efficiency, the same type of sprinkler heads should be grouped together on the same valve. Different sprinkler heads discharge a vastly different amount of water during the same time frame, so mixing the types of heads within the same area will cause some plants to receive too much water, while others receive too little.
There are three major types of sprinkler heads; spray, rotor and drip heads. Each has their own strengths and is best for certain types of watering activities. Spray heads put out the largest amount of water in the shortest period of time. These sprinklers are either installed into the ground, with a pop-out head, or are set on a grid or ground mount of some type, with a stationary head. They are most useful when watering small areas of turf, shrubbery or flower beds.
Rotor heads are best if you’re covering large areas of lawn, as they deliver water more uniformly than spray heads. They also deliver water more slowly than spray heads, making them the ideal choice for all soil types. They also cycle less frequently, giving the soil more time to absorb the water and protecting the plants.
Drip heads work best when you’re watering gardens and flower beds. These systems are made of hoses or tubes with holes (called emitters) placed every so often along the length. Drip systems apply water directly to the areas below the emitters, which can save considerable water, time and money.
Be sure to set the pressure on your sprinkler systems correctly. Setting the water pressure too high can cause damage to the nozzles and heads, and may even cause breakage if the pressure is extreme. High water pressure is also dangerous to your plants; they may bend, break or even drown as the strong jets of water disrupt the soil. Water pressure that is too low won’t deliver the amount of water required to keep your plants healthy. Read the manufacturer’s specifications and instructions carefully to make sure the water pressure is set to the proper level.
Water for the Season
Your plants require extra water more often during the summer than in the spring and fall. The extreme heat we experience in this area causes moisture to evaporate more quickly, drying out the plants. To avoid excess evaporation of your precious water, make sure you water your plants and lawn after the main heat of the day has passed – between 6pm and 10pm, or overnight.