Irrigation and Your Lawn
The greatest source of water consumption, after that of the domestic water used inside, is your lawn. Nearly 50% of the water consumed for residential use is applied outdoors. Save water by:
- Do not use sprinklers when there is high wind blowing.
- A heavy rain means you do not have to water at all.
- Water your lawn every third day.
- Determine the irrigation amount and duration.
- Always water during the cool time of the day. Early morning is best. Avoid the peak water consumption hours (4pm-9pm).
- Adjust your automatic sprinkler settings to meet your needs.
- Consider installing drip or micro irrigation.
Xeriscaping (pronounced “Zeer-eh-scaping”) is landscaping adapted to the semi-arid and arid climates of the Western Slope of Colorado. Natural precipitation is extremely limited in our area where we may receive less than 10 inches annually. Compare that to more than 30 inches of rain New England receives in a typical year, or 70 inches Mississippi typically receives and you will understand why we cannot grow the same Kentucky Bluegrass lawns so often seen in the East. When installed correctly, xeriscaping can save up to 30 percent on home water bills.
Xeriscaping incorporates the following basic principles:
- Limit your turf area. Consider planting warm season grasses (Buffalograss) for their drought-tolerance and ability to survive with minimal fertilizer. Avoid fine and tall fescue grasses.
- Maintain taller grasses, and leave the clippings on the lawn to recycle their nutrients.
- Choose native, drought-tolerant plant species. Ask your local nursery for suggestions.
- Choose an efficient irrigation system. Turf areas do best when watered with sprinklers, but drip irrigation is sufficient for shrub beds. Conduct an audit on your irrigation system.
- Use mulches liberally. They maintain soil temperature, retain water, and reduce weed growth.
Irrigation Scheduling: The Water Balance Approach. CSU Ext. Factsheet No. 4.707
Buffalograss Lawns. CSU Ext. Factsheet No. 7.224
Lawn Irrigation Self Audit (LISA). CSU Ext. Publication