The design of an irrigation system significantly impacts water efficiency. First, read about Efficient Irrigation Services and Products (pdf).
Then ask yourself or your designer these questions
- Is the contractor certified? Learn about Hiring a Certified Irrigation Contractor. They are often better trained to design and install sprinkler systems.installation
- Are plants grouped by watering needs? Water is wasted by grouping plants with different watering needs into one sprinkler zone. This results in some areas being over or under-watered. The following scenarios should never be together on one sprinkler zone:
- Shrub and lawn
- Sun and shade
- Spray heads, rotors and drip irrigation
- Will the sprinkler system components work properly with the water pressure? High or low pressure will result in dry areas. . High pressure can cause water to drift and blow away from the site.
- Is your pressure too high or low?
- What is the optimal pressure for your sprinkler head or drip type?
- If you have high pressure, will the system have pressure regulation?
- Will the system have a rain sensor? Rain sensors pause the irrigation system during rain events.
- Will the sprinkler system over-spray? Does the design prevent over-spraying onto sidewalks, driveways or patios?
- Will the system be controlled by weather or soil moisture sensors? Also called smart controllers, they modify the sprinkler runtimes according to the weather or the soil’s moisture content.
- Are non-grass areas being watered with dripline? Watering non-grass areas with overhead sprinklers is very inefficient.
- Do you know the schedule. Make sure the contractor documents the sprinkler system run-times for each zone, including days per week, time of day and number of start times. Use the Irrigation Scheduling Chart (pdf) – use as is or make modifications for your site. Irrigation Scheduling Tools (pdf)
- Irrigation Tutorials
- Irrigation Association Best Management Practices (pdf) Design, install and manage turf and landscape irrigation systems
- Washington Backflow Regulations
- Backflow Prevention Alternatives for Home Irrigation Systems (pdf)