Water-Saving Yard & Garden Gear
Don't dry up. Essential irrigation gear helps ease your plantings through midsummer drought—without wasting water
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans use more than 7 billion gallons of water a day just to irrigate their landscapes, and more than half that amount goes down the drain as a result of overwatering, evaporation, or poorly chosen or maintained gear. But there's pleny of gear, guidelines, and financial incentives out there to help us be more responsible. Here, we've assembled some proven systems for conserving water, time, and money this summer.
The oscillating spray pattern of Gardena's AquaZoom 350/T adjusts to widths ranging from 13 to 56 feet—keeping the water on the lawn and off the driveway. The timer can be set for anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours and shuts the sprinkler off automatically.
Approximately $100; Gardena
Installed between hose and sprinkler, the WaterWatch reveals how many gallons of water you've consumed in an irrigation session. Like a bathroom scale or bank statement that tells no lies, this simple device might inspire you to cut back.
Approximately $6; EFI
When Toro's Wireless Rain Sensor detects as little as 1⁄8 inch of rainfall, the device—which clips onto gutters—transmits a signal to the receiver to interrupt your regularly scheduled irrigation session, then pick up again as planned.
Approximately $105; Toro
Melnor's Electronic Aqua Timer can be digitally programmed to operate as many as six watering sessions a day, making it easy to irrigate at sunrise (which reduces fungal disease) and avoid watering during the heat of the day (when the risk of evaporation is greatest).
Hunter Industries' ET Wind works with its ET System to adjust your irrigation program in response to real-time evapotranspiration data (such as wind velocity, rainfall, and humidity levels) gathered in your yard. Its high-IQ controls can reduce water bills by up to 30 percent.
Rain Bird's Gardener's Drip Kit equips you with all the basics you need to set up your drip irrigation system, including 50 feet of 1⁄2-inch, camouflage-brown tubing prefitted with pressure-regulating, clog-resistant emitters every 18 inches.
Approximately $40; Rain Bird
Swap pop-up sprayheads for drip emitters aimed straight to plant roots. Rain Bird's Drip Irrigation Retrofit Kit comes with tubing, stakes, and a clog-resistant, six-outlet, screw-on head that keeps the drip to an ideal 30 psi.
Approximately $14; Rain Bird
Recycled tire rubber makes up 50 to 65 percent of Colorite's WaterWorks Soaker Hose, so it's ecofriendly in more ways than one. A built-in water restrictor keeps flow to 1 to 2 gallons per minute. Approximately $10/25 feet; Colorite Plastics
Sure, he's handsome, but Orbit's frog sprinkler is smart, too. Hooked up to your irrigation system (or garden hose), this faux amphibian targets eight streams of water to plant roots. (Use with a water-pressure reducer when combined with systems above 25 psi.)
Approximately $17; Orbit
Ease plants through dry spells by adding water-absorbing granules to the potting mixture. Made of cornstarch, Zeba's Quench (shown here dry and moist) amends the soil as it degrades.
Approximately $15 for 16 ounces; Zeba
Orbit's SunMate Flexible Neck Turret Wand gets water where you want it, with nine soft-spray patterns and a shutoff valve on the handle so you can turn the water off quickly without returning to the faucet.
Why lug watering cans around or risk wasteful overflow? Rain Bird's Patio Plant Watering Kit works in conjunction with a timer (not included) to deliver consistent droplets of moisture to containers—even on the days you're away.
Orbit's frog and gecko critter emitters add a decorative touch to your watering system while reducing runoff. The emitters perch on container edges, delivering steady, adjustable streams exactly where they're needed.
Approximately $15 each; Orbit
DIG'S battery operated timer attaches to a spigot and pipes water to 22 plants while you're on vacation. The kit includes drip and mist heads and 60' of tubing to reach baskets and window boxes. Approximately $70;
Shaped to fit around trunks of trees up to 9 inches in diameter, L.R. Nelson's tree soaker hose (made of 100 percent recycled rubber) delivers a half gallon or less of water per minute, cutting down on runoff. Bury it in mulch, which further reduces evaporation.
Approximately $20; L.R. Nelson
Once established, trees typically get by on rainfall alone, but even native species need to be irrigated for the first year or two. Grocor's root feeder gets the job done with less waste, delivering water directly to the active roots using the spray head's four jets.
Approximately $75; Grocor