Most Colorado soil is difficult to effectively plant in. Lawns will certainly grow here, but the developing a strong root base and ideal soil is a challenge. After our lawn or gardens are installed we tend to fight these non-ideal growing conditions from one season to the next. Its best to confront soil conditions during your initial installation.
Growing conditions and soil can be amended even after your initial installation especially in gardens where the soil is exposed. Proper plant selection can also be a big help. A local nursery or landscape designer can help you with plant selection.
If you are watering your lawn and gardens to an excessive degree, daily or even more frequently it may be time to look toward other solutions.
Here are some ideas:
Establish proper soil ratios of clay, sand and organic materials.
In the Denver Metro area you can usually till in 2 to 4 inches of compost to create ideal growing conditions.
Temporarily water for short durations and more frequently.
Water during cooler times of day. (I always water after 11pm)
Existing lawns with clay soils -aerate and rake in a compost / sand mix to break up the clay.
Polymers or water crystals can be purchased and roto-tilled into yards and gardens.
Top dress lawns and gardens with soil amendments or turn them into the ground the best you can. This can be done yearly.
Use mulch or ground cover to keep soil moist and protected from the Colorado Sun.
Use non manure based compost whenever possible. This will protect plants and lawn from being over fertilized and burning.
Once a proper soil base is established reduce watering to 2 or 3 days per week to promote root growth. (your lawn and plants will search for deeper water if necessary)
How much compost to use? For new installation or lawn and garden renovation turn in at least 2 inches of compost to the existing soil. The best compost is non manure based. One yard of compost will cover 100 sq ft of ground 2 inches deep. So a yard that is 1000 sq ft you will need 10 yds of compost to cover it about 2 inches deep and 20 yds to cover 4 inches deep.
Compost is $29.95 per yard and delivery is $40.00 locally Roto-tilling is $0.10 per square foot for yards and $0.07 for existing gardens.