The key to your garden's success, as well as saving on water, is to water deeply and infrequently. You can accomplish this easily with an automated system of sprinklers and drip emitters. These tips are for those who already have systems in place. To learn how to install your own watering system, scroll to the bottom for resources.
1. Avoid runoff and evaporation. Runoff occurs with over-watering - usually by using too much water at once. Evaporation occurs during the day and windy periods. Run off is also more likely to occur if your soil is composed of clay, or other poor drainage issues.
2. Soak directly to the root zone for perennials, shrubs, and trees with soaker hoses, drip, or hand-watering. If using your garden hose, its a great idea to buy a mechanical timer. Simply thread the timer to your hose faucet, then attach your garden hose to the other end. Set the time and leave the hose on very low. If using a watering can, water each plant, then come back 15 minutes later and soak again. Water and check your potted plants every day - they dry out quick in warm weather.
3. Encourage deep roots in your lawn. Calculate the output of your lawn sprinklers and adjust your watering regimen accordingly. Usually, lawns need 1 inch of water once a week during the summer. See the resources section to learn more.
4. Water in the early morning. Its a good idea to invest in an automatic rain sensor/timer for your system. Many are programmed to change watering schedules with the seasons and with rainfall and temperature readers.
5. Plant for your climate! Create a stunning garden with native plants and those adapted to your region. You'll discover many wonderful and unique plants at the nearest botanical garden; often botanical gardens will offer free admittance if you just want to shop their nursery.