Since the Albuquerque area receives about 9” of rain on average per year and grass lawns can use up to 50” of water per year, the proper design of an irrigation system for a grass lawn is of utmost importance when it comes to water efficiency. Irrigation efficiency can save up to 30% of the water you use by avoiding water waste.
While the Water Authority does not encourage grass lawns, we understand that some homeowners may want to install new lawns or reduce the size of their existing lawns. If you are going to have a turfgrass lawn, we recommend that it’s a lawn you use and not just maintain for curb appeal. Proper irrigation layout and design are key to having a healthy and water-efficient lawn.
When designing your lawn, keep these tips in mind:
1) Lawns smaller than 10’x 10’ are hard to water with a spray irrigation system.
2) To get the most efficient irrigation coverage, design square and rectangular lawns since sprinkler heads spray in fixed patterns-such as a quarter circle, half circle or full circle-but not curves. If curves are necessary, broad curves have the best chance of being irrigated without over spraying, while zigzag narrow curves are the toughest to irrigate effectively.
3) We recommend using WaterSense Pressure Regulating Spray Sprinkler Bodies.
WaterSense labeled spray sprinkler bodies with internal pressure regulation can reduce water waste by providing a consistent flow at the sprinkler nozzle. When the sprinkler body maintains pressure near its optimal operating pressure, the connected nozzle is better able to generate the right amount of water spray and coverage for a more uniform distribution of water across the landscape. Customers can choose from a list of pre-qualified spray sprinkler bodies.
4) We also recommend using High-Efficiency Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles (multi-stream). These nozzles minimize water waste and feature a unique multi-trajectory rotating stream that delivers water at a steady rate. This slower application allows water to gently soak in at rates that soils can absorb. Use these nozzles to replace the sprinkler head on any conventional spray head body or pop up sprinkler. For more information on these nozzles read this post.
5) Irrigation sprinkler nozzles are designed for 100% overlap of watered areas, which means each sprinkle nozzle throws water to the next sprinkler in all directions. If a system is not built this way, there will be dry spots (see the below image).
Designing, reducing and changing the shape of your lawn doesn’t have to be an expensive project but it can save a lot of water. Visit your favorite local irrigation supply store for professional equipment and expert advice.
Learn more by checking out these other useful irrigation articles: