Lawn Care: Irrigation Systems

image of sprinkler
photo by Clean Water MN


It can be difficult to know how much water your lawn needs to stay healthy. It is easy to set up an irrigation system and not have to think about watering your yard every week. However, most irrigation systems do not account for rainy days and can end up overwatering your yard. When a yard is overwatered, the soil stops absorbing excess water which leads to flooding and runoff. Not only is this a waste of water, but runoff can carry pollutants to nearby creeks and lakes. As a rule of thumb, most yards only need one inch of water every week to stay healthy. Adjusting your irrigation system to follow this guideline can reduce your water usage, save you money, and reduce harmful runoff entering waterbodies.


image of grass clippings entering storm drain

It is also important to be mindful of the placement of your sprinklers. Although you want to be sure to water your entire yard, you should set up your sprinklers to avoid watering the street or driveway. Watering the street or your driveway will waste water and directly cause runoff to flow to the nearest body of water through the storm drains. Water that lands on impervious surfaces (such as the street) collect everything it its path including leaves, fertilizer, and other pollutants. After entering the nearest storm drain, the contaminated water will directly enter a body of water without being cleaned or treated.

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