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Lawn & Garden

Watering 101: How to Use Lawn Sprinklers Without Wasting Water

Here are some ways to conserve water — and, in turn, help you save on your water bill — while utilizing sprinklers.

Lawn water sprinkler spraying water

With the return of green grass and warmer weather, you may find yourself wondering how to use lawn sprinklers to get that perfect yard and garden without wasting a lot of water. Here are some ways to conserve water — and, in turn, help you save on your water bill — while utilizing sprinklers.

Know How Much You Need

When it comes to conserving water, you must first determine how much is required to maintain a healthy landscape versus how much your sprinkler is putting out. According to the researchers at Water Use It Wisely, your sprinkler could easily distribute up to 300 gallons of water in a single hour, resulting in an over-watered lawn. Follow these steps to determine your lawn’s “sweet spot.”

Create Different Watering Zones

How can we conserve water in large areas? By creating watering zones and strategically using water runoff. For example, say you have several trees and shrubs that don’t require as much water as the grass below them. Plan your watering schedule and placement of your sprinklers with that in mind. Rather than over-watering the trees and shrubs just to get enough water to the grass, water them separately. That way, you only use what’s necessary for the plants, the grass gets the runoff water, and you make up for the extra water that the grass needs by strategically placing your sprinklers in areas where the water only reaches the grass.

Perform Regular Maintenance

One of the biggest tips for conserving water is to regularly check your sprinklers for maintenance issues. Is the water spraying in random places, making it less efficient? That could be clogged spray heads. Is the ground around the sprinkler extra soft and wet? That could indicate a leak. Always ensure your sprinklers don’t have broken parts and are in excellent working condition, so you don’t waste unnecessary water.

Consider Your Options

Want to cut down on 30–70 percent of water usage? Consider using drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of traditional sprinklers. The ultimate in efficiency, these hoses are placed directly on the ground, and their systems of nozzles or perforations deliver small, low-pressure quantities of water directly to your plants’ roots — where they need the water the most. The best part? They can stay in the same place all season long, so you don’t have to worry about pulling them out and putting them up every day. They actually tend to perform their best when placed slightly below the soil level with mulch on top of them.

Let Mother Nature Lend a Hand

Without a doubt, the cheapest water is the water Mother Nature provides. In fact, if you get three-fourths to one inch of rain in a week, it’s safe to say you can skip the next scheduled lawn watering. To see how much rain water you're getting, simply stick an inexpensive rain gauge in your yard or attach one, along with a moisture sensor, to your automatic sprinkler, if you have one.

For more water conservation tips, check out these 21 ways to conserve water at home.


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