Landscape Irrigation

Preventing Run-Off

Over watering to the point of run-off is a serious problem, leading to significant water waste.  Soil type and the application rate of the sprinkler system determine how quickly run-off occurs.  When water is applied faster than it can permeate the soil, it creates run-off and corresponding loss.

  • Over several irrigation cycles, watch for water running onto sidewalks or streets, or into gutters.
  • Time how long the sprinkler is on prior to the beginning of water run-off.  This becomes the new maximum run time for that irrigation zone.  Repeat this process for other zones to prevent water losses due to run-off.
  • Change your irrigation timer to the new shorter time.  Better yet, trim the irrigation time a little more to the point of allowable plant stress.
  • Watering your lawn every day or every other day is not a water conserving practice.  Watering less and for longer duration makes your grass more drought tolerant by allowing the roots to grow deeper.

Irrigation Tips

  • Water your lawn before 10:00 AM or after 7:00 PM.  There is less evaporation than during the heat of the day.  Avoid watering on windy days when water will be blown away from its intended application.
  • Adjust your sprinklers to water your lawn, not the sidewalk or driveway.
  • As plant material matures, trim or remove vegetation which is blocking or altering the spray from the heads.
  • A good conservation practice is to use a hose timer when watering your lawn or plants with a garden hose.
  • Collect rainwater and use it as a free source of water.  Use rainwater on gardens, potted plants, planting beds, birdbaths, refill ponds, etc.
  • Helpful links regarding rainwater collection:
    • The Texas Water Development Board Rainwater Harvesting Program Information Sheet.
    • The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association:
  • Inspect your irrigation system to be sure it is operating efficiently. Each month, check every zone, adjusting all the heads which are not spraying properly and repair all leaks.

Irrigation Audit

  • How many gallons required per zone
  • Record current controller run times
  • Create a spreadsheet/graph showing usage
  • Develop a recommended schedule and a spreadsheet showing future use and potential savings