Takeaways from our conversation with Mike Regan from Pacific Green Landscape, Inc.
Property managers in Southern California have many things to consider when planning for water management through landscape on their properties; two topics that are most commonly considered in our region are drought and fire. Finding landscape and irrigation systems that are water-wise, energy efficient, and overall eco-friendly will increase your water savings while addressing those topics.
Property managers should consider bringing in landscape that may not be as susceptible to pests and need fewer chemicals or no chemicals at all to protect them from pests. Additionally, property managers should aim to have integrated pest control in their landscape. This means using plants that naturally deter pests from your property. Many plants are complementary and build a stable ecosystem in your landscape.
Energy Efficient Design
If your property has buildings that face the sun, a good way to reduce energy costs is to use trees that lose their leaves in the winter to allow sun to come into the units and provide shade in the hotter summer months.
Capturing storm water is another method to keep your landscape efficient. Installing permeable pavers without grout lines ensure water stays on site with minimum run off. Additionally, using recycled products for soil management such as mulch, compost, and organic materials help with efficient stormwater absorption and minimizes harmful run off.
The use of a controller is essential in proper irrigation planning for property managers. Smart controllers can be programed based on five factor parameters in addition to weather conditions to optimize time of day and amount needed for irrigation. The reason this increases your water savings is because it puts down water at the lowest rate per minute and spreads irrigation out over a period of time and not all at once.
Many may think that installing drought tolerant plant material to their landscapes will reduce water use, but what really makes a difference is a smart irrigation plan that uses water wisely. Not all areas of landscape need the same amount of water which means you can use existing landscape to minimize water use by scheduling irrigation based on sections and what those sections need. If property managers plan to adjust their irrigation system, they must first ween plants from the previous watering schedule.
Another option to increase water savings is to install drip irrigation. The reason drip systems save on water cost and usage is because these systems use gallons by the hour, not by the minute. Benefits of drip irrigation also include minimal runoff and protects buildings or hardscape from irrigation overspray.
Water costs take a large piece of a property’s budget and even with a wet winter San Diego experienced, it does not equate to lower water rates. Proper landscape planning and smart irrigation systems can be a property manager’s greatest ally.