Expert advice on landscape irrigation
Picture this: it’s a beautiful and sunny Saturday morning as you review this weekend’s very large to do list while having your morning coffee. 1) Finish kids play structure 2) Clean garage 3) Paint closet door 4) Wash the car 5) Finish the report that’s due Monday 6) Water everything (if have time)!! Since there is also a dinner function to attend later this afternoon, you better start gathering the tools you will need. As you walk from the house to the garage, you can hear the dry grass crunching under your feet and you are reminded that it has not rained in approximately two weeks. All the trees, shrubs and grass that you paid a fortune for last year are not looking very healthy, and the grass is almost completely brown. Your stress level builds as you try to figure out how to fulfill your promise to the kids to spend some time by the pool with them, find the time for everything on your list, plus find the time to keep moving a garden hose and sprinkler around the yard all day to save your investment. Arghhhh !!!!
As you grudgingly pull the hose and sprinkler to the far corner of your lawn, you cannot help but notice that your neighbor’s yard seems to be looking lush and tropical compared to yours. All their plants are full and thriving, and the grass is healthy and green. How do they do it? In fact, you have never seen them water?!
Call it a hunch, but this scenario likely plays out in the minds of thousands of homeowners every summer. Our lives are incredibly busy, and as we learn how precious time is, we become more conscientious about how we want to spend it, especially on the weekends. Benefits of an inground automatic irrigation system
Having and maintaining a beautiful yard and lawn requires significant maintenance and watering on the part of the homeowner. The first and most important benefit of owning an inground automatic irrigation system is that it will save you countless hours of maintenance for your yard.
Even if you did have the luxury of time to water everything during the day, watering during the hottest part of the day is not the best as it can damage the foliage or flowers of some plants. Because automated irrigation systems can be programmed to water whenever you want, the timer is usually set to begin its watering cycle in the early morning hours. Most landscape companies will help you to manage and maintain your system. They will often program the watering cycle to begin between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. depending on how large the system is and how long it will take to complete a full cycle. Not only is this when your plants prefer to be watered, but it is also when you will lose the least amount of water through evaporation. In a day and age where most cities, towns and even rural municipalities are imposing watering restrictions on times and days you can water your lawn, this benefit becomes even more relevant.
An automatic rain sensor added to your controller increases the efficiency of your system by telling the controller not to water during periods of rain. Often a rain sensor is looked at as an optional item when getting quotes on a system, but it shouldn’t be. With water waste becoming a growing concern, it is important to add a rain sensor to your system.
An irrigation system will save you time and water. If water costs money and time equals money, the economic benefits explain themselves. But, a sprinkler system has an economic value beyond these two items.
A properly installed sprinkler system is considered an asset when buying or selling a home. The selling price of a home goes up more than the cost of the system because now potential buyers don’t have to fuss with getting one installed — to a potential buyer that adds value.
And don’t forget, even though the sprinkler system is hidden from view during the day, at night it is working and helping to keep your yard and property looking beautiful, adding curb appeal. It is no secret that curb appeal adds dollars to the value of property. The actual dollar value it adds will vary from property to property depending upon several factors. Real Estate companies and landscapers often observe that curb appeal adds a much larger dollar value to a property than most people think. It helps your yard stand out from others on your street that might not be as pretty and well maintained. An irrigation system plays a vital role in achieving this.
Another important consideration that is often overlooked is that a healthy lawn is also more likely to have fewer weeds and be more resistant to various pests and diseases. A thick and healthy lawn chokes out weeds and does not allow undesired plants to get established. This is more important than ever now that traditional methods of weed control, such as spraying
with chemicals have been banned in most provinces and states across North America. The 2-step, 3-step, and 4-step weed control programs of yesterday are being replaced with turf management programs where there is more emphasis placed on maintaining a strong and healthy lawn. A properly installed irrigation system plays a crucial role in a comprehensive turf management program.
Choosing an installer
Remember that all your plants, trees and shrubs will have different watering requirements from your grass. This is referred to as precipitation rates. Your beds and berms where your plants, trees, and shrubs might be located will have different zones from the lawn so they can be watered separately and set up independently on your timer or controller. Often these zones will have different types of heads and spray patterns than those that are used for the lawn.
A good contractor will be able to explain and educate you further on these benefits and options for your yard. Always follow the same basic rules when choosing an installer such as reputation, experience, and helpfulness. You will want to like the contractor as you will most likely have a working relationship with them for many years. The sprinkler system will require annual service such as a spring start-up to ensure all is working properly and a fall blowout before winter freeze to ensure all water is blown out of the lines and heads to prevent damage to your system and costly repairs. Happy watering!.
Our expert, Gordon Galay is the owner and operator of Galay Landscaping in Manitoba. A member of the Manitoba Landscape Association, his company, has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Award of Excellence for quality construction and design from MBNLA (Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association). For more information visit galaylandscaping.com or email [email protected]landscaping.com
The installation of irrigation pipes is best done by professionals.
Hauling the hose around is a demanding business.
An automated rain sensor helps save water and money.
There are many benefits of an automatic sprinkler system, but most of all it will make your life easier.