An automatic sprinkler and drip system can be a timesaver. Efficient design is essential when planning a new irrigation system, or upgrading and maintaining an existing one.
Choose low-water-using sprinkler heads or replace old sprinkler parts with new water-saving technologies.
Plan a number of irrigation zones (water plants with "like" watering needs on the same zone).
Install designated zones for high-water grassy areas.
Layout or redirect sprinkler heads to reduce overspray onto hard surfaces such as patios and roads.
Install drip irrigation when possible to reduce evaporation around plants.
Pay attention to evidence of overwatering including light green or yellowing leaves, pooling of water, and mushroom, or algae growth in planting beds or grassy areas.
Select a controller with multiple functions and zoning capabilities (consider new technologies such as weather- or sensor-based controllers or rain shut-off accessories).
Program automatic timers to complete watering before the sun and temperatures rise in the morning, and plan to reset timers to accommodate changes in temperature, wind, and weather conditions. Learn how often to water using the numbers strategy.
Conduct routine maintenance check-ups and look for sprinkler equipment leaks.
Additional information on weather- and sensor-based controllers is available at the Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense label website.
For a lawn watering guide as to how much to water, visit the Arizona Meteorological Network.
For information on selecting an "Arizona certified landscape progressional" visit the Arizona Landscape Contractors Association.