Water Wisely

A truly efficient way to use water in a yard is to design the yard so that it thrives predominantly on rainfall. Even if your yard has a lawn and specialty gardens, it is possible to design it so you can water the plants “as needed.”  The goal is to reduce daily water usage.

However, even an ideal landscape design can be over-watered. That’s why many of the actions in this section deal with sprinkler systems. It’s extremely important that each irrigation zone is set to meet the needs of the plants in that area. For example, a lawn in full sun will demand more frequent irrigation than an established plant bed of shrubs and groundcovers.

Spotlight:  Watering Newly Planted Trees

My Backyard measures for scorecard:

  • Put a rain gauge in your yard and track rainfall to avoid unnecessary watering. Credit = 2 inches
  • Water your lawn and other plants only when they show signs of stress. Comply with any existing watering restrictions in your community. Credit = 3 inches
  • Use a drip- or micro-spray irrigation system to water plants and plant beds more efficiently.  Strive for deep, infrequent application.  Flowers will require about 1 inch of water per week depending on the weather conditions.   Credit = 2 inches
  • Design or modify your sprinkler system to water lawn areas separately from plant beds, which require less water. Credit = 2 inches
  • Walk your yard when the irrigation system is on to ensure that water is being applied to lawn and plant beds only and not the pavement. Credit = 2 inches
  • Calibrate your sprinkler(s) to apply 1/2 to 3/4 inch of water per application. Credit = 2 inches
  • Connect an automatic rain shut-off device to your sprinkler system’s timer and set the device to 1/2 inch so it will override the timer when enough rain has fallen. Check to see if the shut-off device is working properly. Credit = 2 inches


VCE Publication 430-010: Summer Lawn Management: Watering Lawns

VCE Publication 426-322:  Irrigating the Home Garden

Clemson Extension HGIC 1056: Watering Shrubs & Trees

Clemson Extension HGIC 1804: Irrigation Time of Day

Clemson Extension HCIC 1811: Drip Irrigation

Clemson Extension HCIC 1811: Determining When to Irrigate

Clemson Extension HGIC 1812: Microsprinklers

Clemson Extension HGIC 1802: How Much Water?