I am beginning to wonder if my zones are set up wrong. Should each zone be an independent area? In other words, should running “Zone 1” give me a full 0.5" of water on a certain area?
My front yard has four zones, each running generally parallel from the house down to the street. The whole yard slopes from the house down to the street. My neighbor’s large trees cast a lot of shade on the right side. I attached a diagram.
The zones are all set up as “steep” and from left (1) to right (4), “lots of sun”, “lots of sun”, “some shade,” “mostly shade.”
My understanding is that each of my heads puts out 0.25" of water over 35 minutes, and with head to head coverage, we can achieve a full 0.5". I’ve measured this and its generally correct. But because of the shade settings, I’ll often times see that zones 1 and 2 ran for 35 min, but zones 3 and 4 did not run at all. That means that the grass between the heads for 1 and 2 get the full 0.5", the grass between the heads for 2 and 3 gets 0.25", and the grass between the heads for 3 and 4 gets nothing. Maybe a few days later it will water zones 3 and 4, catching them up. But then the grass between zones 2 and 3 essentially gets shallower, more frequent watering than the rest of the lawn.
Is this the way it is supposed to work? Did our installers just set it all up wrong?
Your installers didn’t necessarily set it up “wrong”, as that is pretty much common practice when you have multiple zones covering a large area of grass. You are correct in your assumptions that sprinkler PR’s are assuming that head to head overlap in their specifications. Not really a lot you can do about this case, other than live with the possibility that if left as is, zone 3 might be a little light on the water and might show some stress in the hottest months, or adjust the shade to match across the yard, and understand that you will most likely end up giving zone 4 more water than it needs. Not really much else you can do, smart controller or not.
I have a similar situation in my yard, however I have my zone that has about 2/3 of the grass with pretty much 100% full sun, and 1/3 with probably 50% of the day shaded. I water so that the full sun areas are healthy, which does end up leaving some areas with a bit more water than they need.
I set up my overlapping lawn sprinkler zones to run on the same days for proper “head to head coverage”
What I keep the same:
I have all my zones set up with full sun even though some areas are shaded
The crop coefficients
The precipitation rate - Increase in shade and decrease in sun
The efficency - Increase in shade and decrease in sun
This setup has worked for me and all zones start to dry out around the same time despite the difference in sun exposure, due to the difference in run times with the difference in the precipitation rate to accommodate the shading.
Thanks for the replies.
I guess I’ll set zones 1-3 to full sun. That’ll get me even coverage up to zone three heads and limit my frequent/shallow watering to the area right of the zone three heads.
I had the same question because my system has 11 zones, with 3 overlapping in front and 4 overlapping in back. My installer, who is a Rachio Pro, told me to use 0.5 gpm for the Hunter PGP/I20 heads they used in those zones.
But - and this may help you - they told me to keep an eye out for wet or dry spots. They said they could use different nozzles to balance it out as needed. It’s trial and error, but it will eventually solve the issue you have. In my case, I have a rain swale in my back lawn, so they adjusted the nozzles in that part of the zones. So far so good, knock on wood.
I still use 0.5 gpm as a zone average and everything seems great. The grass is uniformly hydrated and healthy, and my Flex Daily schedule uses much less water (as measured by a Flume monitor) than the calculated amount of 0.62 x (lawn area) for 1” of water per week. So I’m guessing it’s a good balance of grass health and water savings.
Your installer probably would do the same for you as part of after-sales support. Mine gave me 3 years of such support as part of the installation package.
Sounds like a good installer. What area are they in?
Northern Virginia (DC metro). If anyone needs a recommendation in the area, let me know, I would definitely recommend.
I’m in Silver Spring and had a terrible experience with my installer. They tore up my lawn so bad that I resodded. And for months I couldn’t figure out why I lost power to my shed went out. Our electrician just finally found the broken conduit underground where the irrigation company broke and buried it.