Water is one of the most talked about resources in the high desert.
1. Don’t set it and forget it
The most efficient irrigation method is the one that’s being monitored. A monitored system—whether by hand or timed/automatic—takes current weather and location (i.e., not the sidewalk) into consideration on a routine basis. In general, Detweiler recommends that irrigators should water less at the beginning of the summer, more as it progresses and then taper off again in the fall. One way to stay on top of irrigation management is to purchase a smart irrigation system, which responds to real-time weather conditions and forecasts, offers intelligent watering schedules and gives you control of your sprinklers from anywhere via an app.
2. Avoid runoff
When hardscaping an area, consider permeable pavers, which allows water to seep into the ground below. Similarly, dry river or rock beds can be positioned to collect rainwater and direct it somewhere useful, say, a plant or flower bed.
3. Just the right amount
Grouping plants together with similar water needs into distinct beds or zones prevents overwatering plants that don’t need the extra moisture. For example, group moderate water use plants in one bed and low-use plants in another. When it’s time to set up your irrigation schedule, you can easily provide more water to plants that need it and less to those that don’t.
4. Top it off
Adding a layer of mulching materials to your plant beds helps keep moisture in, versus bare soil, which dries out quicker. Aim for a two- to five-inch layer.