Irrigation Tips

On average, irrigating our outdoor landscapes uses approximately 50% of all the water used in the entire Town! Being efficient in the landscape is essential for water conservation – and there are easy steps toward that efficiency. Learn more from our irrigation and conservation specialists by taking a Water Wiser workshop.

Observe watering schedules


  • Watering schedules not only promote water efficiency, but can create healthier, more drought resistant plants. Watering schedules are in effect May 1 through Sept. 30.
  • Watering in the morning (before 8 a.m.) or later in the evening (after 8 p.m.) during the cooler, less windy times of the day, will reduce water lost to evaporation.
  • Sticking to an interval watering schedule such as every-third-day, helps develop deeper roots and a healthier, more drought resistant plant. 
  • Watering schedules help with demand management throughout Town helping maintain better water availability and pressure in neighborhoods.  

Adjust your sprinklers, frequently


  • The “set it and forget it” attitude wastes a lot of water. Instead, schedule regular maintenance times to adjust your controller programming as the weather changes. 
  • Periodically, walk each zone and check if sprinkler heads are broken or misaligned. Adjust to eliminate overspray onto sidewalks and streets. Adjust for obstructions such plants and fences.  
  • Ensure head-to-head coverage in which the spray from one sprinkler head reaches to the next sprinkler head.  If it doesn’t, brown spots in the lawn are likely to develop.
  • Adjusting a sprinkler head is usually as easy as ratcheting it or perhaps adjusting the tiny top screw.

Choose the right sprinkler for the job

  • Design your sprinkler system and landscape into several zones (stations), one for each hydro-zone, to match the needs of the landscape. Plant type, soil type and condition, exposure, and slope can all affect watering needs of plant material.
  • Larger areas, like lawns, can be watered more efficiently with rotors. Find rebates for efficient rotary nozzles.
  • Fixed spray heads and rotating nozzles provide more flexibility for smaller spaces.
  • Rotors and rotating nozzles are better for sloped areas and those with clay soil. These heads apply water more slowly allowing for longer run times without runoff.
  • Use drip emitters or in-line drip tubing for planting beds and trees.  Drip irrigation can be used for a variety of applications by simply selecting the emitter best suited for the plant material, size of plant and maturity of plant.
  • All sprinkler heads / nozzles are designed to run at a specific pressure. Knowing your available pressure is important. For example, fixed spray heads generally operate best at 30 pounds per square inch (psi) while rotors or rotating nozzles are designed to operate at 40-50 psi. Check your water pressure.

Apply the right amount

  • Use the Run Time Calculator to calculate a good estimate of how much water your landscape needs.
  • Check your weather station periodically to adjust for weather conditions. We have area-specific weather stations providing temperature, humidity, wind, and solar radiation which is used to calculate the amount of moisture plants need to replenish what has been lost to evaporation and transpiration. 
  • Check your lawn by simply walking across it. If it springs back, the lawn does not need water.
  • Sunny areas will require more water than areas in the shade. As a result, design your system to include separate zones / stations to allow for different schedules based on exposure.
  • Cycle and soak, watering more deeply and less often, reduces runoff and more efficiently fills the root zone. 
  • Steeper slopes and heavy clay soil will require multiple short cycles to avoid runoff.
  • High traffic areas (from play and pets) may require more water.
  • When setting your controller, make sure each zone shuts off / stops before runoff occurs. 
  • A good rule of thumb for turf grass is to water no more than 1.5 inches per week when the temperature is over 85 degrees.

Install rain sensors and smart controllers


  • Rain sensors interrupt the irrigation cycle when adequate rainfall has occurred. Rain sensors are required for all irrigation systems.
  • Smart controllers automatically adjust either sprinkler run-times or watering frequency based on changes in weather or soil moisture.
  • Check for proper function of rain sensors; they are frequently installed upside down, placed under eaves or put in 'bypass' mode on the controller.
  • Castle Rock Water offers rebates to replace your traditional controllers with smart controllers. 
  • Soil moisture sensors, much like rain sensors, connect to your irrigation controller and adjust irrigation based on soil needs.

Place the right plant in the right place 


  • Replacing some turf area with low-water-use plants and ornamental grasses adds variety to your yard and requires less water. Attend a ColoradoScape Design workshop to learn how.
  • Create watering zones with plants with similar watering needs. 
  • Identify areas with shade patterns and sunny areas and adjust watering cycles accordingly.  
  • Areas used for active lifestyles need the ability to withstand heavy foot traffic and activities. Consider using a Texas Hybrid Bluegrass in place of the more traditional Kentucky Bluegrass. The Texas hybrids will have a deeper root system, be more heat resistant, drought tolerant and recover better when damaged. 

Apply only what you need


  • Calculate approximately how much water your landscape needs with the Run Time Calculator.
  • Check your weather station periodically to adjust for weather conditions. We have area-specific weather stations providing temperature, humidity, wind, and solar radiation which is used to calculate the amount of moisture plants need to replenish what has been lost to evaporation and transpiration. 
  • Check your lawn by simply walking across it. If it springs back, the lawn does not need water.
  • Sunny areas will require more water than areas in the shade. As a result, design your system to include separate zones / stations to allow for different schedules based on exposure.
  • Cycle and soak, watering more deeply and less often. This more efficiently fills the root zone. 
  • Steeper slopes and heavy clay soil will require multiple short cycles to avoid runoff.
  • High traffic areas (from play and pets) may require more water.
  • When setting your controller, make sure each zone shuts off / stops before runoff occurs. 
  • A good rule of thumb for turf grass is to water no more than 1.5 inches per week when the temperature is over 85 degrees.

Install rain sensors and smart controllers


  • Rain sensors interrupt the irrigation cycle when adequate rainfall has occurred.
  • Smart controllers automatically adjust either sprinkler run-times or watering frequency based on changes in weather or soil moisture.
  • Castle Rock Water offers rebates to replace your traditional controllers with smart controllers. 
  • Check for proper function of rain sensors; they are frequently install upside down, placed under eaves or put in 'bypass' mode on the controller.
  • Soil sensors, much like rain sensors, connect to your irrigation controller and adjust irrigation based on soil needs.
smart controller

Place the right plant in the right place 


  • Replacing some turf area with low-water-use plants and ornamental grasses adds variety to your yard and requires less water. By grouping plant types together and identifying shade patterns, watering zones can be created. These zones allow you to give each type of plant just the right amount of water - not too much or too little. For more information about xeriscape, consider attending a ColoradoScape design workshop.
  • Areas used for active lifestyles need the ability to withstand heavy foot traffic and activities. Consider using a Texas hybrid bluegrass in place of the more traditional Kentucky bluegrass. The Texas hybrids will have a deeper root system, be more heat resistant, drought tolerant and recover better when damaged. 
Xeric front yard