Is fewer schedules better than more, etc.?

I am new to this so i do not have the wisdom of the crowd yet. I just changed my main watering from “brand-X” to Rachio and there are a couple of things that confuse me:

  • I have 11 zones and i am wondering if it is better to create a large number of schedules or few with many zones included. I am leaning towards more schedules but really do not know how this would work IRL.
  • . i am in Central California and Rachio says i should only water once a month on the flex monthly schedule. That is so different from what my gardeners recommended so i am concerned i will be under-watering. Any points on this?

Thx. everyone

I recently broke up my 6 zones into three schedules: trees, shrubs and grass. (I have a relatively simple yard) If you are only allowed to water once or twice a week, use Flex Monthly. Otherwise, it’s recommended to use Flex Daily.

By separating my trees and shrubs, the grass schedule can complete its cycle (and soak intervals) on those days without scrambling to also hit the trees and shrubs (I have one zone each). My trees and shrubs run less often and have shorter cycles, so they’re set to start at sunset; the grass cycle is set to end by sunrise.

If you still need more time for your schedule to complete—say, grass zones can’t optimize—try mixing zones based on features (full sun/no slope vs. shade/moderate slope).

I’m in Austin, TX. As far as frequency, I installed on Sept. 26; Rachio watered every few days through Oct. 15. Then we had a bunch of rain, and temps cooled below 90 finally. Rain has been intermittent; my first grass watering was Jan. 10 for full sun/mod slope zones and Jan. 17 for shade/flat zone. Trees and shrubs have not had a moisture balance drop below the threshold; all vegetation looks great, considering Bermuda is dormant.