This year it finally hit home what a huge job I have made for myself by um, landscaping more than half of my yard. It's not the digging, it's the watering! Without all of the new plants, I would not be bothering to water the lawn, so I dread the next water bill (they come every three months, so you notice the amount).
I finally found a watering system that helps, though it isn't the magic I need. For the perennial beds that are pretty much static, I bought a kit that has 50' of tubing and 5 "sprinklers" that you attach to the tubing once you decide the right placement (they even include nifty plugs in case you need to move one).
For $40, I don't think this system can be beat, but some minor improvements are in order. If there were at least 2 more sprinklers it would be much better. Also, the spray can be weak at times, but adjusting the water flow usually works that out. For larger plants that need a true soaking, like the service berry tree, this doesn't cut it, so I drag the hose over for that.
I do like that the 360 degree spray can be made one-directional by adding a plastic piece. It seems rugged enough, but will have to come in for the winter.
The positive ending is that once my perennials are established (and the ones I have moved get re-established), they won't need watering quite as much. And all that mulch is certainly helping.
I am still watering the vegetable garden with a hose--it is faster and easier, but not ideal--and I don't know what would be ideal with raised, cedar-lined beds. That is something that I'll have to work out in the future. For now, I am just thankful for the inch and a half of rain we got last weekend.