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Tips to Efficiently Water Your Garden and Landscape

You need to water your landscape at regular intervals to help roots grow deeper, resulting in plants more tolerant of drought. Watering your lawn at appropriate intervals and duration is a great way to ensure that nutrients are readily available to your plants.

Tips to efficiently water your lawn and landscape.

Landscape irrigation accounts for nearly 33% of all residential water use in the country. That’s around nine billion gallons per day! Many people knowingly or subconsciously over water their lawns. Overwatering a lawn does not only waste water, it also weakens the grass plants which become dependent upon the overwatering. During droughts and the drier seasons, you must always be on the lookout for ways to save water in your landscape. Here are some easy ways to save water in your yard from Gardenworks Inc.

Use Natives

Our Sonoma County landscapers recommend using hardy native plants and other climate appropriate plants in landscaping as they are adapted to the local climate and typically require less water. They also play an important role in attracting pollinators, including bees, to gardens. If you have a limited range of choices, consider using natives that grow in climatic conditions similar to your area. Talk to your Healdsburg landscaper about the plants best suited to your area and climate.

Apply Mulch

There are many benefits of mulching. It helps conserve soil moisture by slowing down the rate of evaporation from the soil. Mulching reduces some weeds, disease, and prevents compaction. The 2015 California Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) requires mulch be applied in 3” deep layer with an allowance of 5% of the area left bare for beneficial ground nesting pollinators Instead of removing dead leaves, mulch them to create an organic layer that will help retain water and return nutrients to the soil.


Creating a hydrozone involves grouping plants with similar watering needs. There are several benefits of hydrozoning. When done correctly, hydrozoning can reduce landscape water use by 20%-70%, helping you save time along with money on your water bills. Hydrozoning allows you to tailor your water use to the precise needs of the plants in each zone, helping maximize every drop of water you use in your landscape. Hydrozoning also reduces the need for chemicals as plants get the right amount of moisture.

Water Budgeting

The idea and ability to plan for and apply the correct amount of irrigation water to landscapes has been around since the late eighties. Water budgeting became part of the California Water Code (Title 23) with the passage of AB325 in the early nineties and is now a major component of the MWELO mentioned earlier.  Every landscape can and should be placed on a water budget that will insure the efficient use of water.  A water budget is based upon the following:

  1. Evapotranspiration rate (Evaporation + transpiration by plants)

  2. Evapotranspiration adjustment factor (plants are categorized as high, moderate, low or very low water users)

  3. A conversion number (0.62) to get from inches of water per hour to gallons per time frame

  4. The area (square footage) of the landscape In formula form it looks like this: Budget = ETo x Etaf x 0.62 x LA Water budgets are measured and managed by using water meters which everyone on a municipal water supply has. A water meter is basically a device that measures flow or the amount of water passing from the city supply to your home/property.  Your water budget targets the planned amount for use and your water meter indicates the actual amount used.

Water Wisely

Water your lawn in the early morning (ideally before 9 a.m.) to ensure your plants have enough time to dry before significant evaporation begins. During this time of the day, it's cooler and winds tend to be calmer. This allows water to slowly soak into the soil and be absorbed by the grass roots before it can evaporate. Ideally, plants should not be watered during the dead of night. Cool, wet conditions can be rife for microbial growth. But here in the Sonoma County area, we are fortunate not to have many lawn debilitating diseases. Couple that with local watering window restrictions during drought emergencies and we do not have a choice. Gardenworks can help you build the garden of your dreams. We use tried and tested methods to build healthy, thriving landscapes. Whether you want to design a new landscape from scratch or reinvent your backyard space, our team has you covered. To discuss your project with our team, call (707) 857-2050.


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