Autumn Chace  

Making Sense of Smart Technology and Upcoming Legislation

Download Article: New Legislation Encourages Retrofits for Irrigation Systems

Jump to: Avoid Overwatering with Smart Technology | Benefits of Smart Controllers | How Much Can You Save?
Tips for Conserving Water | Plant of the Month

Avoid Overwatering with Smart Technology

The more I water my landscape the better it will look, right?

Wrong.  Overwatering a landscape encourages shallow root systems and can potentially damage a landscape.  Plus, if it has not rained and the ground is dry, the soil may not be able to absorb all of that water and it will end up running off onto the sidewalk or street.

So how do you avoid overwatering?  An irrigation system that is controlled by a timer enables you to water the property’s landscape at the optimum time of day without having to physically be on location to manually turn it on and off.  However, this clock alone is not a cost effective solution to keeping your landscape healthy and green.  Now, add a smart controller and you’re on the right track.

A smart controller is the latest technology when it comes to increasing the efficiency of an irrigation system.  It automatically updates a system’s watering schedule to allow for changes in watering needs throughout the year by collecting a history of data to determine frequency and length of time to water.  For instance, Solar Sync by Hunter Industries gathers solar and temperature data to calculate evapotranspiration to determine watering requirements.

There is no need to worry about watering regulations either.  A smart controller can be pre-set to run on specific days and at specific times.   The controller then adjusts its watering schedule based on the available days and timeframes.

How you apply this water is just as important as when and how long, so retrofitting nozzles to further increase the efficiency of an irrigation system is a smart move also.  Newer nozzles on the market use less water and broadcast water more efficiently to reduce runoff and evaporation.

With the uncertainty of our water supply, retrofitting an existing irrigation system to conserve water, save money, and protect the environment is a must.

How Much Can You Save with Smart Technology?

Numbers speak louder than words.  To get an idea of the potential savings from a smart irrigation system, consider the following projection based on a residential neighborhood with 230 homes with an irrigation system of four controllers, 55 zones, and 276 nozzles (heads).  It is estimated that retrofitting this system with new sensors, pressure reducing valves, and nozzles will:
  • pay for itself in one year
  • conserve 773,672 gallons of water
  • save an estimated $5,972.16 per year
Note that how quickly you recoup your cost depends on property size, the amount of retrofitting required, and weather patterns.

Benefits of Smart Controllers

With a smart controller, your irrigation system runs only when your landscape needs watering so you will:
  1. Save Money – The money you save over time on water and electricity (to run the system) will pay for the sensor.
  2. Extend the Life of Your Sprinkler System – Each time your irrigation system is shut off, the moving parts get a break from running and ultimately last longer.
  3. Protect Water Resources – Sensors reduce excess water run-off that can carry fertilizers and other chemicals into a shared water supply.
  4. Conserve Water – You help save water – and the environment – when less supplemental water is needed for your landscape.
  5. Protect the Turf – You can keep your landscape healthy by preventing damage caused by overwatering.
  6. Save Time and Frustration – You don’t have to spend time each season adjusting the controller for cooler or warmer weather.  It happens automatically throughout the year based on data collected.

More Tips for Conserving Water
  • Water the landscape deeply and infrequently.  This encourages deeper root growth and a healthier lawn.
  • Adjust your watering schedule based on the time of year.  Water less often in cooler months, and more often during hot, dry periods.  Water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • Add smart technology to your irrigation system controller so it will run only when your landscape needs water.
  • Avoid watering when it is windy to prevent water from blowing on to non-living surfaces.
  • Request native and drought tolerant plants for your landscape, also known as xeriscaping.
  • Use good mulch, such as pine straw, that will conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and reduce soil compaction.
  • Monitor your irrigation system and make any necessary repairs to increase efficiency.
Another great source for indoor and outdoor water conservation tips is Conserve Water Georgia.

Customer Spotlight: Autumn Chace
“We have enjoyed working with NatureScapes for the past five years.  The customer service provided by our account manager and crew leader is top notch.  They are both very accommodating and passionate about their work.  Our account manager's patience in working with our community’s special requests is greatly appreciated, and he is a common sense problem solver.  NatureScapes’ dependability keeps our 22-acre property looking great year-round.”

- Elizabeth Gray, Autumn Chace HOA President

Plant of the Month

Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder’ is a low-growing annual that forms a dense mat 12-15 inches wide.  It is loaded with blue, fan-shaped flowers with just a hint of white.  While it prefers ample moisture to become established after planting, it is amazingly tolerant of dry conditions later in the summer, making it a great overall performer.  White and pink varieties are also available.

This Plant of the Month pick is from the Georgia Gold Medal Plant List.  Its superior qualities make it a winner in annual color beds.

Watch for Scaevola blooming in a NatureScapes bed near you!