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Integrating your landscape & irrigation

Aquarius recommends that all our clients consider these essential points to get the most from both an irrigation system and landscaping/planting efforts:

Practice good "plant-zoning":

Design your landscaping with the needs and limitations of the plants as the primary objective.

Keep in mind...

•annuals, perennials and shrubs have different water requirements

•mulched beds and lawns have different water regimes AND requirements

•use drip irrigation for disease-sensitive plants wherever possible

•do not mix drought-tolerant and drought-susceptible plants in the same bed

•plant shade gardens in the shade and sun gardens in the sun

Use the principle of hydro-zoning:

Design the irrigation system with the needs and limitations of the plants as the primary objective. "Hydrozones" use individual or clustered irrigation heads to water a certain area.

•Lawns and shrubs should not be in the same hydrozone.

•Shady and sunny areas should be in separate hydrozones.

•Plants in a hydrozone should have similar water requirements.

•Never combine spray heads, rotor sprinklers and/or drip in the same hydrozone.

•Program the irrigation frequency and duration based on plant needs and precipitation rates.

Learn about the needs of the plants: Water can be either good or evil, depending on the mix of plants in a garden. Once gardens are planted, there are many factors that determine the irrigation needs so that an appropriate irrigation schedule can be developed.

Design your landscaping for ecology and price: The landscaping will reflect both ecologically effective AND cost effective landscapes based on the design. Remember, small islands of gardens in a lawn will cost more to irrigate than if the gardens were moved into a “border” setting. Review landscaping and irrigation costs with your client before designing the landscape or agreeing on irrigation strategies.

Design the landscaping for growth and maturation: Once plants are fully-grown, they will dominate their location. Irrigation systems are in the ground and are not as easily relocated and altered as plants can be through pruning and transplanting. Therefore, design the landscape so that minor changes in growth and/or replanting will not require a completely new irrigation system.

Rely on expert assistance: A trained landscape designer, or an irrigation manager trained in horticulture, will know what is best for watering and maintaining the landscape. When a landscaper guarantees plants, they should also include advice on watering schedules - in writing. Find an irrigation contractor who will obey the 5 Commandments of Irrigation:

•Thou shall not ignore scheduling of irrigation cycles and seasonal adjustments.

•Thou shall achieve uniformity (achieve balanced precipitation).

•Thou shall space correctly - and give your client their money's worth.

•Thou shall design proficiently according to accepted design criteria.

•Thou shall educate your client about water conservation

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