Smart Irrigation Month

As another Smart Irrigation Month comes to an end, it is a good time to reflect on irrigation projects and consider what is ideal versus what is reality.  

Smart Irrigation Month is an Irrigation Association (IA) initiative to promote the social, economic and environmental benefits of efficient irrigation technologies, products and services in landscape, turf and agricultural irrigation.  As an active, certified professional with the IA, North of South Landscapes has been a supporter and promoter of Smart Irrigation Month for years.  We work to educate our clients and inform them on how to improve their irrigation efficiency and how conserve water through their landscape while improving the health of their landscape.  

In the past year, we have seen and been involved in many successful irrigation improvement projects.  We have also seen brand new installs that needed repairs, adjustments, or re-installation within the first weeks after construction.  If you are considering a landscape/construction project, it would be in your best interest to consult with a landscape/irrigation professional to ensure your project will not create problems in your existing landscape or irrigation system.    Below are some photos and descriptions of some not-so-smart irrigation issues that could have easily been avoided.

 This is a photo of a new asphalt parking area that paved over existing irrigation heads.  The client was told the heads were capped off, however the sprinklers were just removed and did not have any type of cap or plug on the line.  The new asphalt has been faded by the running water and had to be cut and opened up in order to make the repair.

This is a photo of a new asphalt parking area that paved over existing irrigation heads.  The client was told the heads were capped off, however the sprinklers were just removed and did not have any type of cap or plug on the line.  The new asphalt has been faded by the running water and had to be cut and opened up in order to make the repair.

 There was more than just one sprinkler head that was affected by the new asphalt paving.  an irrigation consultation to locate sprinklers and advise on how to cap them would have been a fraction of the time and money it took to locate the paved-over sprinklers and to make the necessary repairs.

There was more than just one sprinkler head that was affected by the new asphalt paving.  an irrigation consultation to locate sprinklers and advise on how to cap them would have been a fraction of the time and money it took to locate the paved-over sprinklers and to make the necessary repairs.


 it is unfortunate that whoever did this turf repair did not consider an alternative for the turf grass.  This area is less than 2' wide and is impossible to irrigate overhead without wasting water.  There are other landscape and irrigation options that would result in less water wasted and provide greater aesthetics as this turf will always struggle to look healthy as it is not in a desirable location and is difficult to irrigate and maintain.  It is the landscape professional's job to inform the client as to what the best solution would be for their site and just because there was grass there to begin with doesn't mean that is what should be there now.  

it is unfortunate that whoever did this turf repair did not consider an alternative for the turf grass.  This area is less than 2' wide and is impossible to irrigate overhead without wasting water.  There are other landscape and irrigation options that would result in less water wasted and provide greater aesthetics as this turf will always struggle to look healthy as it is not in a desirable location and is difficult to irrigate and maintain.  It is the landscape professional's job to inform the client as to what the best solution would be for their site and just because there was grass there to begin with doesn't mean that is what should be there now.  


 this poor serviceberry has struggled since it was installed two seasons ago.  it is planted on a slope and was irrigated with two drip lines that were incorrectly placed on the downhill side of the trunk as well as both lines were placed together instead of one on each side of the trunk.  

this poor serviceberry has struggled since it was installed two seasons ago.  it is planted on a slope and was irrigated with two drip lines that were incorrectly placed on the downhill side of the trunk as well as both lines were placed together instead of one on each side of the trunk.  

 upon more investigation, it was discovered that the emitters irrigating the serviceberry were undersized as one was 1 gph and the other was 2gph, for a total of 3 gallons per hour when a serviceberry needs more than that to remain healthy.

upon more investigation, it was discovered that the emitters irrigating the serviceberry were undersized as one was 1 gph and the other was 2gph, for a total of 3 gallons per hour when a serviceberry needs more than that to remain healthy.

 The remedy for the serviceberry was to install emitter line around the base to provide water on all sides of the trunk.  Emitter line has emitters built in at every six inches to deliver water evenly around the tree.  each emitter is 0.6 gph and now the serviceberry is getting 7.2 gph, more than twice what it had been receiving.

The remedy for the serviceberry was to install emitter line around the base to provide water on all sides of the trunk.  Emitter line has emitters built in at every six inches to deliver water evenly around the tree.  each emitter is 0.6 gph and now the serviceberry is getting 7.2 gph, more than twice what it had been receiving.


 this is a sprinkler head that had been covered with pavers.  It was not known that there was a sprinkler under these paver stones as there were other leaks in the irrigation zone.  Once those other leaks were repaired there was enough water available in the zone for this sprinkler to cause an issue.  And once this sprinkler was capped 5 other leaks underground were found.  even if you prefer to do your landscape projects on your own, it is valuable to consult with a landscape professional before any of the work to ensure your efforts can be successful and not create more problems for your landscape in the future.  

this is a sprinkler head that had been covered with pavers.  It was not known that there was a sprinkler under these paver stones as there were other leaks in the irrigation zone.  Once those other leaks were repaired there was enough water available in the zone for this sprinkler to cause an issue.  And once this sprinkler was capped 5 other leaks underground were found.  even if you prefer to do your landscape projects on your own, it is valuable to consult with a landscape professional before any of the work to ensure your efforts can be successful and not create more problems for your landscape in the future.  

Let North of South Landscapes help you avoid any of these costly mistakes in your landscape projects.  Give us a call today.