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Doing date night with your yard

Spending some quality time with your lawn helps catch problems and save water.

This story is part of Denver Water’s TAP series in partnership with the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado on water-wise landscaping practices. Subscribe to TAP to make sure you catch the rest of the series.

Looking for something new to do on a lovely Colorado summer evening? How about a date with your yard! 

Spending time with your yard is a great way to catch sprinkler system problems that are wasting water, wasting money and affecting the health of your yard.

“During the watering season, I like to encourage people to grab a cool beverage, run each sprinkler zone and then walk around their yard to see what they find,” said Lyle Fair, a landscape professional with the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

“Most people run their sprinkler systems at night, so it’s really important to get out there during the day to see if everything is running properly.”

Grabbing a cool beverage and doing a visual inspection of each sprinkler zone during the day is a great way to look for problems that might crop up in your sprinkler system. Photo credit: Denver Water.

Fair said the visual inspections should be done several times during the watering season. Things to look for every few weeks include:

  • Sprinklers that are spraying sidewalks, streets and driveways.
  • Sprinkler heads and water lines that are leaking.
  • Brown spots of grass that often indicate an area is not getting proper water coverage.
  • Clogged sprinkler nozzles or heads that are not straight.
  • Sprinklers that are aimed too high or too low.
  • Signs of disease, weeds or mushrooms in the lawn.
Sprinklers are supposed to provide water to the lawn, not sidewalks and streets. A visual inspection will help discover these types of problems so you can fix them. Photo credit: Denver Water.
Sprinkler nozzles can pop off and send water shooting out of the ground. If a homeowner runs their sprinklers in the middle of the night, they may not be aware this is happening. Photo credit: Denver Water.
Wet areas in the lawn or around a sprinkler are signs there could be a crack in the sprinkler that is wasting water. Photo credit: Denver Water.
Listening is an important skill on any date! During a visual inspection of your sprinkler system, use your ears as well as your eyes. In this case, the homeowner heard the leak in a drip irrigation line. The line was ruptured during construction work on the fence and went undetected for several months, wasting water. Photo credit: Denver Water.
During a visual inspection, the homeowner noticed mushrooms in his yard. Mushrooms are often a sign that your lawn is suffering from too much water. Photo credit: Denver Water.

Leaks have a snowball effect on your yard, which include:

  • Wasting water.
  • Losing pressure throughout the zone with the leak.
  • Losing optimal performance on each sprinkler head.
  • Wasting money.
  • Losing sprinkler coverage on your grass.

If not fixed, the cost of leaks in your sprinkler system can add up. 

For example, a leak in a sprinkler line could release up to 10 gallons of water per minute. If a sprinkler zone runs for 18 minutes, that’s 180 gallons of wasted water every single time the zone runs. 

“Here in Colorado, water is a scarce resource so it’s important that each of us take steps to use water wisely,” said Austin Krcmarik, water demand and efficiency planner at Denver Water. “Doing regular visual inspections and fixing problems you find with your irrigation system can make a big difference in helping protect our water resources and save money on your water bill too.”

Denver Water also recommends spending a few quality minutes going over your water bill. An abnormally large bill could indicate some sort of leak.

“All too often people will look at their yard and say, ‘It doesn’t look good, so I need to use more water,’ but that’s not getting to the root of the problem,” Fair said. “If you’re not sure what to look for, you can also contact the ALCC to have a trained landscape professional come out and inspect your yard.”

The Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado is the premier professional organization for Colorado’s landscape companies. ALCC promotes the responsible use of water and other natural resources, and provides educational and industry certification opportunities to Colorado’s landscape professionals. ALCC recently launched its Sustainable Landscape Management and Community initiative, which promotes sustainable maintenance practices that reduce water use and loss of plant life. 

For more information on ALCC or to find a landscape professional, go to or call 303-757-5611.