Return to Landscape Guide Main Page
Careful planning will result in an attractive landscape. Be sure to check your plant selections for their watering needs. For a water-efficient landscape, it is crucial to group plants with similar watering needs into three basic zones:
Hint: Use our plant search section to find plants with similar watering needs.
This drip-irrigated landscape uses little to no water once established. It is characterized by a variety of native desert plants and compatible exotics that are spaced to expose a rich "desert pavement" of scattered rock.
This lush-looking landscape includes evergreen trees and shrub masses and deciduous areas that are inspired by the mountains west of Reno. A deep wood chip mulch mimics natural forest duff and visually reinforces the concept. Mulches keep water evaporation to a minimum. This treatment can form visual screens and backgrounds for garden areas and they create favorable microclimates by providing wind breaks. Deciduous trees allow warm winter sun while providing summer shade. Plants used here flourish with low to moderate amounts of water supplied by drip irrigation.
Thirstier plants have a place in our landscapes, too. Dry streams constructed of rounded river cobbles and boulders can be used to visually enhance drainage ways, correct erosion problems and provide a garden focal point. Landscapes planted with moderate water-use plants, such as those which grow along mountain and dry streams, have a beautiful, natural look.
Plant selections can coordinate with the mountain theme or can include drier, native wildflowers to work with low water use plantings. Rounded river cobbles and boulders are used to evoke the region's native stream sides. Boulders can also add accents and informal seating to lawn areas. Lawns and wildflower are often planted from seed and can be very water-efficient depending on the kind of seed.
Water trees once every 10-14 days.
Water trees once every 7-10 days.
You can purchase drip emitters with varying flow rates and specialized heads for flower beds, ground covers and gardens. Since drip systems give plants, shrubs and trees the water they need without waste, you'll save time, water and money when you design your system with an appropriate amount of drip irrigation.
Whether you're using spray, rotor or impulse-type sprinklers for turf, make sure to provide sufficient overlap in your design. Check the manufacturer's instructions for suggested overlap distances. Also, be careful not to locate sprinkler heads behind trees or objects which might impede the spray and deprive your lawn of valuable water.
Many landscapes require a change in the grade or slope of the yard. Make sure level surfaces are graded with a slight slope so they will drain away from your home's foundation. You can also create slopes that feed drainage to plants. If you've added berms or terraces, consider installing your irrigation lines before bringing in additional materials since the irrigation system trench depth will be more uniform when dug through a level surface. If you're planting the sloping sides of a berm or terrace, the grade of the slope must not exceed three feet of run for every one foot of rise (3:1).
If you have an old or galvanized pipe system, you may want to replace it with plastic PVC pipe. Galvanized pipe can slowly plug up, rust and corrode, leading to a leaky system.
Whether you're installing an irrigation system in a new yard or modifying one in an existing landscape, you can save money by doing most of the work yourself. However, consider your time schedule and mechanical abilities before you jump in—you may find that you'll get it done quicker and with fewer headaches by calling a Nevada licensed landscape contractor to do it for you.
You'll need to perform some maintenance annually and throughout the irrigation season to keep your system operating efficiently. Visit our Maintenance section for more information.
Install a backflow prevention assembly to protect your water quality.