How to Choose an Irrigation System

It’s that time of year when everyone enjoys being in the yard. One of the most important features of landscaping is proper watering. If Mother Nature isn’t supplying about an inch of water each week, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands.

This can mean watering with a hose several times a week, setting out sprinklers (the little tractors that follow the hose track are my favorite) or going easy on yourself and installing an automatic sprinkler.

Sprinkler systems save, time, money, aid in water conservation, and help achieve a lush, green lawn. Over time, an automatic sprinkler system will pay for itself. The savings are incurred by eliminating overwatering and providing perfect, efficient coverage. Hand watering is no match for the efficiency of an irrigation system. We talk about the four types of sprinklers on this site, but you want to know how to determine which is best for your particular landscape.

  • All sprinkler systems are not the same. The materials, design, warranty and the people installing it make the difference.  Either you or your contractor should design a system tailored specifically to your lawn and landscaping.
  • Watering a flowering garden is different than watering your lawn. If you’re trying to water both, we definitely recommend a system that can accommodate zones. With zones, it’s far more efficient to water twice a week for an hour than to water daily for 10 to 15 minutes. You want to make sure the plant gets a good soaking.
  • All sprinkler parts are not the same: While some parts are similar the guarantee and how the manufacturer stands behind them makes the difference.
  • To determine what type of irrigation system you need, ask yourself these questions:
  1. How much of your yard do you want to water?
  2. Where can you put a sprinkler to reach the maximum amount of area, yet remain out of sight?
  3. Where are your outdoor faucets located, and if needed, can you add another one?
  4. Where will hoses need to be run, and can they be hidden in flower beds, under a deck, etc or do I need to bury pipes?

Then take a look at the four types of irrigation and decide which type or types are most likely a match for your lawn.

  • Soaker hoses
  • Drip Irrigation System
  • Spray System
  • Rotor System

When it’s time to decide on distribution of water consider the following types of sprinkler heads

Pop-Up or Spray Heads are good for small to medium size lawn areas as they give off a fine, misty spray. They provide spray patterns in full, half and quarter circles. With a variety of patterns to choose from, you can use these units in a number of different areas, such as around shrubs and in flower beds. They have a high application rate, meaning they put out a lot of water in a short period of time. This means they’re ideal for flat surfaces and soils that absorb water quickly as well as low water pressure systems. They provide thorough, accurate coverage and won’t damage delicate flowers.

Impulse heads are considered a type of rotary head perfect for covering a medium to large-size area of lawn. These heads deliver a single stream of water as they rotate in either a partial or full circle. These heads are ideal for slow-draining soils and use on slopes as require higher water pressure for operation.

Bubbler heads are good for controlled flow for soaking small spaces and water for ground cover areas. Their patterns range from a partial arc to a full circle.

No matter which system is right for you, a certified plumber can make the job very easy for you. They’ll also make recommendations and suggestions for your soil type, foliage, sun and irrigation.

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