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May 23, 2018  |  Login
Efficient Irrigation Systems for Your Lawn and Garden
By Eric Corey Freed

Most yards require some water, even if you plant only native plants and you don’t have a lawn. If you’re thinking, “So what? I’ll just turn on a sprinkler and call it a day,” think again. Sprinklers are incredibly wasteful. In fact, 30% to 60% of the average home’s fresh water is used for watering the yard.

The good news: Several alternatives to sprinkling can save water. I cover these alternatives in the following sections.

Most people water their lawns during the day, when the sun is the hottest. But more than half the water evaporates and is wasted. If you want to water the yard, run the water at night to allow it to soak into the ground.

Drip Irrigation Systems

Traditional watering and sprinklers spray water at the top of the grass, wasting more than half the water. A drip irrigation system sits under the soil and applies water slowly to the plants’ roots. By using less water and providing the water exactly where it’s needed, drip irrigation pays for itself in water savings in one to three years.
The cost of a drip irrigation system is around $600 to $1,200 per acre to install. Because it’s placed below ground, you have to dig up your yard to install one. If you’re planning on regrading your yard, that would be a great time to install a drip irrigation system.

Weather-Tracking Systems

A weather-tracking system, such as one made by HydroPoint (, is a small box that checks the weather and turns off your watering system if rain is forecast. Priced starting at $400, a weather-tracking device will save enough water to pay for itself within a year or two. It’s the perfect complement for your new drip irrigation system.

Rubber Hoses

Most garden hoses are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Vinyl has a terrible impact on human health and environmental safety. If you have to use a hose, choose a reinforced rubber hose — they’re more durable and healthier to use than PVC.

Remember: No matter what material your hose is made of, don’t drink from a garden hose. Bacteria breeds in the standing water of a warm hose, and they can make you very ill.



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