The Guilt-Free Yard: 5 Rules To Follow For Ethical Landscape Irrigation

People may hate you because your lawn is beautiful, but don't give them any other reason to give you the stink eye. Be a responsible sprinkler owner by following 5 simple rules:

1) If your sprinkler system runs on rainy days, you will be judged.

If you don't want your sodden yard to be featured on social media, snapped while getting soaked by your noble irrigation system in the middle of a gray, stormy downpour, don't ever let your sprinklers run while it's raining. Don't let your sprinklers run for a few days after a good rain, either. People get very judgmental when it comes to wasting water and overloading storm drains.

Manually turn off your system if you must, and allow nature to assist in irrigating your property and salvaging your reputation.

2) Use a wi-fi or smart controller to water more efficiently.

There are all sorts of new devices on the market to help homeowners manage their appliances and their resources. Landscape apps for your smart devices or computer let you take control of your sprinkler system remotely, allowing you to care for your landscape no matter where you are.

Some apps monitor the weather, and will turn off lawn sprinklers automatically when rain is on the way or has just arrived.

3) Don't forget the trees.

Your lawn looks best when lush and green, but don't neglect your trees. They represent a huge investment, and some older trees are expensive or impossible to replace if you lose them due to drought or disease. Fruit, nut, and flowering trees will also produce more when they get enough to drink.

Consider installing drip irrigation near tree root systems. Your landscape professionals will help you design a system that will give important trees enough water to make it through dry seasons.

4) Winterize your system or else.

It is vital to prepare your outdoor irrigation system for winter if you live in an area where the temperature falls below freezing. You don't want to see your grass and trees crystallized, and forever immortalized on someone's blog page, because you let your sprinklers run during an ice storm. Turn off the system before freezing temperatures even think of arriving.

Every landscape system is unique. Your irrigation specialists will tell you exactly how to winterize your own system. Most professionally-installed setups have automatic drains, or you can have the whole pipe system blown out by the professionals. They use compressed air to empty the lines, making sure no water remains in pipes to cause any frozen problems.

5) Use rain catchment or private well water if possible.

If it's possible where you live, install a rain catchment system and hook your landscape irrigation to the rainwater storage. Or use an older, private well on the property - after having the water tested, of course.

Often, water restrictions won't apply to rain-harvested water or to water from your own source. Check local ordinances, and think about putting up small signs to let nosy neighbors know that you're not illegally using the community's water source, but that you provide your own water.