Lawn Watering - a big opportunity to save water
Lawn watering is perhaps the biggest consumer of water around the house in the growing season. Therefore, it represents a large opportunity to save water as well. We can only hope to achieve large savings where we spent the most or in cases where our expenditures are modest but recurring.
We love our lawns, especially in the summer. They provide a nice appearance for our homes, and they also offer us a nice place for a picnic, a ball game, and a place to lay out on a blanket at night to enjoy the stars. From a practical standpoint, without lawns, much of our property would be muddy when it rains and exceptionally dusty when the wind blows.
Despite the benefits of a lawn, they are an expense and there are alternatives that we might consider. For those of us who would like to keep a nice lawn, we perhaps might do well to understand more about lawn watering so expenses in that area are minimized.
Let's look at some of the problems and solutions associated with lawn watering.
Evaporation is a large consumer of water. A solution to this problem can be found in timing. Water in the early morning, when temperatures are cooler, and the water you use will have a better chance of soaking in before dawn when the sun and elevated daytime temperatures can draw off moisture.
Sprinkler system run off is a considerable problem. Setting your system to come on more frequently, but for a shorter duration, will help your grass get a satisfactory soaking while minimizing run off associated with too much water over too long a time.
Watering the sidewalk and street is also a common problem. Make a test of your system to see where your water is going. If you're watering asphalt and concrete, then you're contributing to run off and wasting water that your grass would otherwise put to good use. You can also switch sprinkler heads to provide drops of water instead of something more akin to a mist. Drops of water will find their way to the roots quicker and won't be prone to being blown off course by the wind.
Leaks in the sprinkler system can also be a big problem. Spray heads can fail and simply become a geyser. At other times, damaged or failed underground plumbing can be leaking and difficult to detect, especially in sandy soils where you won't get puddling. A visual test can detect some of these problems, whereas others might require a bit more monitoring to detect circuits that have failed supply lines.
Unnecessary lawn watering, like when its already moist. I've seen sprinkler systems come on during the rain or just after a rain. If your system works on a timer only, then see if you can get a soil moisture sensor incorporated into the circuitry. If it's just too much expense to incorporate such a device, then simply override the system just before, during and after it rains.
Some lawns are water hogs, known for requiring more water than other varieties of grass. I wouldn't suggest re-sodding your lawn, but if you're putting in a new lawn, perhaps a little research would pay off well in terms of a reduced need for lawn watering.
If your lawn watering problem is associated with just too much lawn that needs watering, then perhaps you can convert some of the lawn into something else. Here are some suggestions:
- vegetable garden
- decorative garden
- small pond and/or water feature
- rock bed
- decorative shrubs
- storage shed
- parking area
Just think, if you get the size of the lawn down to something that's manageable, you might even be able to cut it with an reel mower that is manually powered, and you might even be able to water it by hand or with an above ground sprinkler.
As with anything else, a lawn has its price and you have a choice as to how you would like to approach lawn watering.
Done with Lawn Watering, take me back to Save Water