Irrigation specialist waters landscapes wisely in the Indianapolis area

Irrigation specialist waters landscapes wisely in the Indianapolis area

Having spent up to $400 for monthly water bills to irrigate her previous 1.5-acre residence, Mary Anderson of Fishers showed interest in conserving water when she contracted my company to install an irrigation system for her new home.

A paver walk lined with yellow roses snakes the natural looking but formally arranged Kentucky bluegrass-sodded landscape that’s punctuated with boxwoods Anderson plans to let grow wild. To look its best, the landscape will require a fair amount of water. But by putting in several water-saving features on the half-acre lot in Hamilton Proper, I expect her to save more than 40 percent in water usage, compared with conventional irrigation. Once the weather heats up, that will amount to using about 1,300 fewer gallons per day, which could save her hundreds annually.

Local water rates increased more than 30 percent in the last few years, and due to recent drought conditions, rates continue to rise. Irrigation requires more water than any other residential use, so as a certified and trained EPA WaterSense Partner, I’m committed to using this resource wisely through water-efficient practices. We take a multifaceted approach to irrigation, including picking the correct type of sprinkler for each area and selecting nozzles to emit water so the entire area receives even coverage. Sprinkler system design should consider such factors as sun and shade, slope, soil and plants.

Most customers don’t come to us with the goal of conserving water, and to win business in a competitive market, many contractors promise cheap installation. However, contractors should tailor each irrigation system to the landscape. Our typical installation price ranges from $3,500 to $6,000 for a residential lot, though some involved jobs cost more. Mary Anderson’s, for example, totaled $10,265.

We’re not the cheapest install, but we work to show customers that increasing investment on the front end can save them several hundred dollars annually on water bills. Besides being cost-effective, it’s better for the environment.

To achieve these ends, we incorporate certain upgrades, such as high efficiency nozzles, rain and soil sensors to shut irrigation cycles off, and add pressure regulation on each sprinkler. Using sprinklers with pressure regulation prevents sprinkler heads from misting, a phenomenon that wastes water through evaporation and blowing away from the area intended for irrigation.

Improper installation or use renders all products, no matter how good, ineffective. So besides installation, we recommend a maintenance program to keep a system running well and adjusted to the environment. This typically involves two to three visits per watering season and costs about $200 to $300 total. Keeping a system working at its optimum by proactively adjusting sprinkler run times, straightening sprinkler heads and moving those heads to conform to changes in the landscape pays for itself.

All sprinkler systems are not created equally. So the company you choose, and the water conservation methods they employ, make all the difference.


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Irrigation conservation: Watering yards wisely

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Spray heads with too much pressure can waste water. (The Toro Company)
Spray heads with too much pressure can waste water. (The Toro Company)

In the wake of widespread drought in 2012, John Marmorato of Eco Irrigation in Raleigh discusses how to properly irrigate a lawn, while conserving water.

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