Properly Watering Hillside and Sloped Landscaping


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Sloped and hillside lawns and landscapes tend to develop dry dead spots during the hot part of the season. This is primarily due to water run off before it has a chance to saturate into the soil. Deep saturation is a key to a healthy lawns and plants. Deep watering helps establish deeper roots that can handle Summer heat stress.

Water that runs off or just barely breaks the surface, obviously does the lawn or landscape very little good. So how do you give landscaping and lawn on a slope better saturation?

Split your water cycle duration into two or three short cycles. If your water cycle is 30 minutes, you might split the cycle into three 10 minute cycles. So on watering days, you'll run the system for the specified amount of time, let it soak for a few hours, then repeat this for the number of times needed.

To determine the exact amount of time needed, turn on the lawn sprinkler and watch for how long it takes for runoff to begin. This is the maximum of how long each cycle should be.

Don’t just split your cycles into different days. You need deep saturation for healthier plants. Plants and lawns like infrequent deep waterings much more than frequent shallow waterings.

Landscaping and specimen plants on a hillside will also benefit from better saturation. Plants should be planted in larger holes filled with good soil that absorbs water easily. Also, dams and water wells should be built on the downhill side of the plant. This will help give the water time to soak straight down to the root zone before it runs off.

Written by Steve Boulden. Steve is the owner and chief designer for S&S Designed Landscaping in Carlsbad, NM. He is also the creator of The Landscape Design Site which offers free professional landscaping advice, tips, plans, and ideas to do it yourselfers and homeowners. For more free information on hillside landscaping , visit his site at


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