Automatic Landscape Sprinkler Calculator for the Seattle Area
Outdoor watering can be quite costly. Adjusting your sprinkler controller to water just the amount your plants need can be challenging. Learn how to generate watering schedules for automatic irrigation systems. The following link takes you to a page of www.savingwater.org where you will find an easy to use calculator designed to provide schedules for basic landscape water requirements in the Seattle metropolitan area. Check it out at http://www.iwms.org/calculators/sprinkler-scheduler.
More Watering Tips for a Healthy, Waterwise Landscape
Water early in the morning, between 4 and 10 a.m. Doing so allows the plant foliage to dry, making it less susceptible to foliar diseases. Early morning watering also ensures less distortion of sprinkler patterns and reduces evaporation due to lower winds and cooler temperatures.
Create water zones by putting plants together that have similar water needs. Doing so minimizes the potential of over watering and under watering neighboring plants. Where woody plants must be included in turf grass areas, consider using water-loving or water-tolerant plants, which can remain healthy under relatively high amounts of irrigation.
Irrigation for established woody landscape plants should be focused at and/or beyond the drip line to promote extensive rooting, and should be applied deeply into the soil (water delivered deeper than the 2- to 3-foot range, however, will not be accessible by most of the plant roots).
In new landscapes with automatic irrigation systems, newly installed plants may not receive the thorough watering required to promote early vigorous root establishment; supplemental hand watering, therefore, may be needed to provide the watering necessary (this is especially true for small plants which may dry out quickly or large plants with deep root balls).
Rebates are available for some sprinkler system upgrades. Find out all the details of the rebate program and lots of other tips regarding outdoor watering at savingwater.org. Click on the Rebates link above to go directly to the rebates page.
Soaker hoses are a great way to save water and keep plants healthy. They slowly leak water directly into the soil, instead of spraying it into the air and wasting water through evaporation. Plus, they put the water in the root zone – right where your plants need it – not on plant leaves where moisture can cause rust and other diseases. Check out the fact sheet for information on buying soaker hoses and installation tips. Just click on the Saving Water with Soaker Hoses link above.
What about your soil – does it play a part in how you irrigate?
In addition to estimating the amount of required irrigation water, it's important to also consider the type of soil and the amount of slope that is found in the landscape. Soil type and slope have a significant effect on the amount of water that can be stored in the soil and how quickly the water can be absorbed. In general, sandy soils quickly absorb water but hold the least amount of water; clay soils hold the most soil moisture but absorb water at a slow rate. If you need help in determining the soil texture of your landscape, contact your local Extension Office for information on performing a basic soil test. You can reach Washington State University King County Extension office by calling 206.205.3100. They will send you a packet of information that tells you how to take your soil sample, approximately how much it will cost and where to send the sample.
Other Resources to Help You Save Water In Your Yard
You may ask why we need to save water in our yard. We have plenty of water in the Seattle region. You would be correct. We have abundant, high-quality drinking water. Despite our rainy winters, we get less rainfall than Tucson, AZ during the summer months. That’s when our reservoirs are lowest, and demand for irrigation water is highest. Choosing drought-tolerant plants, building rich soil, watering wisely, and following the other key steps below will help you…
Save money on water bills
- Save time maintaining your garden
- Protect your family’s health by reducing the need for chemicals
- Protect our environment
- Grow a healthy, beautiful yard and garden all year round!
Proper planning and preparation are necessary to achieve water efficiency. Regionally, the Saving Water Partnership, in conjunction with landscape professionals in our region developed The Naturals, a series of brochures designed to assist customers in the planning, preparation and maintenance of their landscapes. We’ve described each brochure below and provided a link to them for downloading ease. For more information call the Natural Lawn and Garden Hotline horticulture professionals at 206-633-0224. This is a free service for all Woodinville Water District customers.
Landscape professionals tell us that most people over-water their landscapes by as much as 200%. Learning correct watering techniques not only reduces your water bill, but it also conserves an important natural resource and improves the health of your plant material. Check out our Smart Watering brochure to make every drop count!
Did you know that by simply improving your soil, you can beautify your garden, cut your water bill, improve water quality in our streams, and even reduce your work? Growing healthy soil – and a healthy garden – is as easy as adding compost and other organic amendments to your soil. In fact, this is the single most important thing you can do for your garden. Check out our Growing Healthy Soil brochure to learn the steps you can take to improve your garden’s soil.
When you grow plants in the appropriate conditions, they thrive with minimal care. By choosing plants well adapted to each garden situation, you save time and money, reduce maintenance, help prevent pests and diseases, and leave more clean water for salmon and other wildlife. Plan now and enjoy the benefits for years to come. Our guide will take you through simple steps you can take for choosing plants that will flourish in your garden.
Your lawn can be a great place to hang out, but depending on how you care for it, your lawn can also be part of big environmental problems. Healthy lawns grow on healthy soil. Using proper soil preparation and lawn maintenance practices will help to build healthy soil and vigorous, deep-rooted lawns. These lawns are more resistant to disease, tolerate some insect and drought damage, and will out-compete many weeds. The practices recommended in our Natural Lawn Care brochure can help make lawns healthier for our families, protect beneficial soil organisms, and protect our environment too.
Our yards are our outdoor homes: fun, beautiful, great spaces for relaxing. But in taking care of them, we often use water inefficiently, produce a lot of yard waste, and overuse chemicals that are bad for the environment and our families’ health. The good news is, by making some simple changes in how we care for our yards we can save money, time and help the environment. Find out how in this introductory brochure on Natural Yard Care. This brochure briefly explains the five steps to Natural Yard Care and provides a seasonal task list to help you get started.
Why manage your garden naturally? Insects, spiders, and other crawling or flying creatures are a vital part of healthy gardens. Most perform important jobs like pollinating flowers, recycling nutrients and eating pests. In fact, less than 1% of garden insects actually damage plants. Unfortunately, the pesticides often used to control pests and weeds are also toxic to beneficial garden life – and may harm people, pets, salmon, and other wildlife as well. This brochure will walk you through the basic steps to create healthy plants and soil that will not only resist pests and diseases, but also encourage beneficial garden life.
Other Efficient Outdoor Water Practices
- Wash cars using a bucket, sponge and shut-off nozzle on the hose.
- Sweep sidewalks, driveways and patios instead of hosing.
- Consider a wading pool for children instead of letting them go through the sprinkler.
- Clean gutters and downspouts manually, without using a hose.
Check out the links below from one of our partners, Cascade Water Alliance.
Cascade Water Alliance Video Series