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Source: Rain Bird news release

Azusa, California -- Most homeowners can save water while having a more beautiful yard by using an irrigation system to deliver the right amount of water at the right time.
A properly designed, installed and maintained irrigation system will help minimize the amount of water required and still keep the lawn and landscape looking healthy. According to some experts, a healthy landscape can raise a home's value by as much as 14 percent.

Here are some tips to help homeowners use water intelligently and have a beautiful yard:

1. Don't drown

The greatest waste of water comes from applying too much, too often; much of the water is never absorbed. Instead of watering for one long session, water a few times for shorter periods and take 15-minute breaks in between each session. This will allow water to soak in while minimizing runoff.

2. Watch the clock

Water between 5 and 10 a.m., when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are low. Midday watering tends to be less efficient because of evaporation and windy conditions. Watering in the evening isn't a good idea, either, because leaves can remain wet overnight and lead to fungal growth. By watering in the morning, leaves have a chance to dry out during the day. To make life simpler, add an irrigation controller to automatically turn the water on and off at the correct times.

3. Consider dripping

When it comes to watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grassy areas, consider applying water directly to the roots using low-volume drip irrigation. This will reduce water waste from evaporation or runoff while preventing unwanted weeds from growing.

4. Divide by zones

Different plants need different amounts of water. Divide yard and landscape areas into separate irrigation zones so that grass can be watered separately and more frequently than groundcovers, shrubs, and trees. Both sprinkler and drip irrigation can be incorporated to achieve more efficient use of water.

5. Water only things that grow

If there already is an underground sprinkler system, make sure the sprinkler heads are adjusted properly to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways. A properly adjusted sprinkler head should spray large droplets of water instead of a fine mist to minimize evaporation and wind drift.

6. Be rain smart

Adjust the irrigation system as the seasons and weather change. For a better solution, install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain or moisture. Rain gauge and soil sensor devices are inexpensive and take advantage of the free rainwater without wasting the metered water.

7. Do routine inspections

Since lawns and gardens should be watered in the early morning hours, a problem may not be discovered until it is too late. Periodically check sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly. A clogged head or a torn line can wreak havoc on both the landscape and the water bill.

By following these steps, homeowners will not only be using water more intelligently, they will have a more beautiful landscape with a lawn and shrubs that receive the exact amount of water they need when they need it.

Homeowners also should consider using a local professional landscape architect or certified irrigation contractor to help design and install an automatic sprinkler system for a healthy, water-efficient landscape. To locate a local landscaping or irrigation professional, visit Rain Bird at www.rainbird.com.