6 Benefits of Landscape Hydrozones
Hydrozone or water zone landscaping is an effective way to conserve outdoor water.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here’s how it works. Hydrozoning takes advantage of the fact that every variety of plant, tree or turf requires a specific amount of water to thrive. The landscape is divided into hydration zones based on the volume of water available or required (high, medium or low). Plants with high water needs are clustered in one zone, those with mid-range needs are located in another zone, and those with low-water needs are placed in another.
In a typical landscape, the high-need zone might be watered weekly, the mid-level zone might be watered once or twice a month, and the low-water zone might thrive on occasional watering or rainfall alone. This strategy offers a variety of benefits. You can:
- Keep your turf. You can maintain appealing stretches of turf but control water use by restricting it to defined areas. By placing turf and other moisture-loving plants in the same zone, you streamline your watering needs and maximize the water you use.
- Reduce water consumption. When hydrozoning is well-conceived and properly executed, it can reduce landscape water use by 20% to 70%. The more area you devote to plants with low- to medium-water needs, the greater the savings.
- Use water more efficiently. Because it allows you to tailor water use to the precise needs of the plants in each zone, hydrozoning maximizes every drop of water you use in your landscape.
- Save money. Reducing landscape water consumption allows you to save money on your water bill. If you live in a region where water rates are scaled to reward lower volume users, you may save even more just because you’ve reduced overall consumption.
- Save time. If you water all or some of your yard by hand, defined hydrozones will simplify your watering demands and reduce the amount of time you devote to the task.
- Reduce the need for chemicals. Both over- and under-watering stress plants, turf and trees, promote disease and increase the need for fertilizers, chemical treatments and soil amendments. When plants get precisely the right amount of moisture, they tend to require fewer chemicals because they’re stronger, healthier and more disease resistant.
To optimize your use of hydrozones, take advantage of existing conditions. Put moisture-loving grasses, plants and trees in areas served by an existing sprinkler system, in spots where water lingers, or near downspouts and paved surfaces where they can benefit from rainwater runoff. Put mid-range plants in areas that tend to be neither wet nor dry, and situate drought-tolerant plants on dry, sunny slopes or in areas without irrigation.