Community Blog

Water wise irrigation is more than typical at Sonders Fort Collins

When you hear the buzz words “water wise irrigation,” a slew of technologies come to mind for smart, WiFi-connected sprinkler systems. Some that can even track when it rains and how much water is still needed (if any) afterward. Yet, water wise irrigation at Sonders Fort Collins goes far beyond these heady technologies and connected systems.

For more than eight years, Actual Communities Inc., the developer of Sonders Fort Collins, has worked alongside Hines, Inc., a Fort Collins-based irrigation design company, to equip the community with a water wise strategy to last decades, and set an example for a new way of looking at water management. And it all started by examining the soil.

“A huge driver of plant health and water conservation is soil quality,” says the president Hines, Inc., Nate Hines. “And you can think about soil kind of like you think about the human digestive system. When you have lots of good organic material—you have worms, you have microbiotic bacteria that lives in the soil—when all of those processes are happening, we store more air and water and nutrients and soil, and it’s easier for plants to take it up. You have to irrigate less.”

The holistic design that was co-created for Sonders centers on the health of the soil. And soil amendments and mitigation aren’t something new. It’s a technology we’ve been using for centuries on varying scales, from large crops to home gardens, to the unique collection of potted plants sitting next to your window.

Yet, it makes perfect sense. Without proper nutrients in the topsoil, homeowners generally over-water their lawns and planting areas. That’s why new home lot sizes at Sonders Fort Collins have been carefully considered for less yard maintenance and less water waste.

This also adds more community green spaces, interconnected trails, and parks. Best of all, what this means for Sonders Fort Collins is a healthier ecosystem all around.

Community gardens and grassy areas will incorporate a foot of topsoil filled with organic soil amendments and compost to double as a nutrient system and water storage. And many are xeriscaped and/or utilize a majority of native plantings that require little to no irrigation.

In the future, these native landscaping areas will flourish from rain and run-off just like nature intended. A strategy that Actual Communities has successfully completed in two Denver-area communities.

Plus, the irrigation system will be managed and maintained by Hines, Inc. Along with artificial intelligence that can automatically catch and mitigate breaks or leaks in the system, Hines will also use the irrigation system to pump nutrients and soil amendments to community landscape.  

A concentrated effort on water management is creating a big difference. And that’s just another way Sonders Fort Collins is designed for the future. Like its new homes that are energy efficient and available now.

As designed, the water wise irrigation strategies employed at Sonders Fort Collins will reduce outdoor water use by up to 60% while maintaining three times the amount of greenspace as compared to other developments this size.

Find more information about Actual Communities and Hines, Inc. online.

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