How proper irrigation can save you water (and money)

A properly designed and maintained irrigation system can reduce your property’s water use, keep your plants healthy and save you up to 50% in water bills

While I’ve talked extensively about xeriscaping and choosing drought-tolerant native plants in other blog posts, there’s one other major aspect to saving water in a landscape: a properly designed and maintained irrigation system!

Here in Texas — in Austin, especially — droughts are common during our intense, scorching summers. The lower Colorado River basin has gone through its share of severe droughts. Lake Travis and Buchanan, the region’s major water reservoirs, provide water for over two million people in the greater Austin metropolitan area — as well as their businesses and agriculture! That’s why water consumption and conservation are two important concerns that we often hear about in the news.

Let me tell you how a properly designed and maintained irrigation system can reduce your property’s water use, keep your plants healthy and save you up to 50% in water bills!

Irrigation 101

Irrigation is best known as the artificial application of water to land or soil. People use landscape irrigation systems to disperse water on and around their properties, mainly for the purpose of keeping shrubbery, grass and flowers green and healthy.

For the average property manager or owner, irrigation also represents not only an efficient means of maintaining landscapes, but a financial break on water bills too. In fact, a professionally designed and maintained system can cut your water costs by 30-50%!

The many types of irrigation

Irrigation system types are varied based on factors like lawn size, geographic location, environmental regulations and underground utilities. The type of plant life involved such as trees, vegetables, flowers and even the type of grass will also influence the type of irrigation system that is required.

  • Spray irrigation — This is probably the most commonly used landscape irrigation system. It’s essentially an adjustable, traditional sprinkler that sprays water over a single area. Many sprinklers cover as much as 15 feet, so they’re best in smaller areas with a consistent shape. They also work well under lower water pressure. Since they’re not the most precise irrigation system, they tend to waste more water than other types of systems. The sprinkler head may also need regular replacement if the water contains a lot of minerals.
  • Rotary sprinkler — The rotary sprinkler consists of a rotary spray head that rotates in a circular pattern. As it rotates, it sprays as much as 100 feet across an area. Turfs and landscapes benefit the most from this water irrigation system. High water pressure is required to make this system work well.
  • Flood system — This irrigation system floods the entire ground instead of spraying or dripping water. The flood irrigation system isn’t suitable for plants like fruit trees, ground covers or flowers since they’re prone to attracting mold and disease if over-watered. Environments with adobe or clay soil thrive under a flood irrigation system. But be warned! These systems tend to use a lot of water. If you do choose to install one, make sure your land is flat, allowing the water to flow evenly over the entire environment without wasting any.
  • Drip system — Also known as micro-irrigation, trickle irrigation or localized irrigation, these systems disperse water directly to plant roots using a customized network of pipes, valves, tubing and emitters that sit above the ground. This allows water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, ensuring the plants get as much water as they need. This system is usually best for watering smaller fruit trees, shrubs and groundcover rather than lawns and other forms of turf. In my opinion, this is typically the most ideal system for both water and cost savings.

At Maven Landscape Services, our expert irrigation staff are licensed through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). With a properly installed and proactively maintained landscape irrigation system, you can save thousands of gallons of excess outdoor water and keep your property beautiful at the same time. Request an estimate today!

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