Irrigation systems have come a long way from an oscillating sprinkler attached to a garden hose. Homeowners have relied upon the convenience of underground irrigation systems and their programmed controller for years, but new technology has honed watering accuracy and efficiency a science in its own right.
By adding water technologies you can expect to keep your plants healthy and save on your water bill as well. Today, there are options for every budget – drip systems, rain shut-off switches, rain gardens, soil moisture sensors and smart controllers are all good environmentally-responsible watering alternatives that save natural resources and cut your landscaping costs.
Drip Irrigation provides water to plants under the soil, directly to the roots. It is best used in plant beds rather than lawns. Using above ground spray heads increases the chance of water being blow around your lawn, or onto your neighbor’s lawn, missing its intended target entirely. Water streams can also become blocked by plant growth in the spring or summer preventing large sections of the garden from receiving water. Drip irrigation goes right to the source, and often less water is used to keep plants healthy with this method.
No more watering in during a rainstorm. Rain Sensors are designed to measure rainfall and automatically prevent your irrigation system from turning on and overwatering your lawn and plants. The small device is mounted in an open area where it can accurately measure rainfall. It communicates its measurements too your controller and tells it to skip a watering cycle if it had measured enough natural rainfall.
Soil Moisture Sensors
To get an even better idea of the conditions on the ground, soil moisture sensors can be installed directly into the soil. When the soil is too dry, it will communicate with your controller to run its watering cycle. And if the soil remains sufficiently wet or moist, it will hold the watering cycle until it is needed again. The irrigation management is done for you automatically.
Smart Irrigation Controller
Smart Irrigation Controllers are a new technology that connect to your internet to adjust your watering times according to recent weather patterns and forecasts. They can also allow you access to your controller from any computer with internet access or smart phone with the right ap. To prevent overwatering, the system can also allow you to program the types of plants in your garden and their locations. Smart controllers are still very expensive compared to commonly used technology, and their cost savings would take much longer to realize than a rain sensor or soil moisture sensor.
A beautiful solution for an area that collects water during or after a rain, might be the perfect candidate for a rain garden. These gardens generally sit in a depression in the lawn where water will naturally run down and collect. Within the garden, plants and shrubs that are water tolerant will thrive within this area and help to absorb the excess water run off.