What to Look for When Choosing a Lawn Sprinkler System

Tips for Choosing a Lawn Sprinkler System

Water is perhaps the most essential component of maintaining a healthy lawn and garden, and choosing a lawn sprinkler system is often the best way to deliver water efficiently. Without regular watering, your plants will turn brown and die during periods of drought and during the hottest days of summer.

If you would rather avoid having plants die and having periods of time when your yard does not look very good, a sprinkler system makes sense. Hand watering is time consuming, inefficient, and unlikely to be performed at the ideal times for your plants. Here's what you need to know about choosing a lawn sprinkler system that will work well for your landscape and budget.

Can You Afford a Lawn Sprinkler System?

Choosing a lawn sprinkler system is an investment into the health and aesthetics of your garden and lawn. You may even find that choosing a lawn sprinkler system saves you money overtime since there will be less wasted water. A lawn sprinkler system enables you to water more efficiently for a couple of key reasons:

  • Water early in the morning. You probably aren't out of bed and ready to water your plants at the ideal time for watering. Watering earlier causes less waste from evaporation and enables plants to soak in the water without damage to the leaves from drops evaporating quickly in the heat.
  • Only water when your plants need it. A quality lawn sprinkler system will sense when there is rain and only water during dry periods.
  • Water more efficiently. A lawn sprinkler system delivers water exactly where it is needed and nowhere that it isn't, saving water.

Despite the money saving potential of choosing a lawn sprinkler system, there is an initial investment to consider. Get some quotes to determine whether it is a reasonable investment for your budget.

How to Choose a Lawn Sprinkler System Installer/Contractor

The installation company that installs your lawn sprinkler system matters a lot. A quality installation company will install a system that will work well for years to come and they will help you maintain it whenever service is necessary.

You want a company that makes it easy for you to maintain your sprinkler system. Look into their customer service record so that you'll be confident that they'll be there to service your system whenever you need it.

Avoid handymen who may say that they can install a sprinkler system but do not have extensive experience with sprinkler installation or maintenance. A poorly installed system will cost you more in maintenance and leaks than paying to have a quality system installed the first time.

What Do I Need to Water in My Lawn?

A properly installed sprinkler system can provide irrigation to whatever parts of your yard you want water. No matter how spread out your garden beds and lawn areas are, a well-installed sprinkler system can provide water to the areas that need it without sending water across driveways or garden paths. However, not every area of your garden is likely to need as much water as every other area. Here is a comparison of areas that need more water versus less:

Areas that typically need more water

Areas that can get away with less water

Grass lawn that receives a lot of sunlight

Shady lawn areas, particularly places that are shaded by structures instead of trees that may compete for water

Annual flower beds, particularly annuals with shallow root systems

Well-established perennial flower beds, especially those with native, drought resistant plants

Young trees, especially fruiting and flowering trees

Well-established mature trees, especially native species that neither fruit nor flower

Newly planted ground cover, particularly delicate ground cover

Well-established ground cover, especially drought resistant options like juniper

Ground that is on an incline, particularly near the top

Ground that is lower, especially valleys where water may accumulate

Sprinkler head close up to help in choosing a lawn sprinkler system.

Types of Lawn Sprinkler Systems

An average sized garden can take at least an hour out of a person's day, simply spent holding a hose to water a relatively small area. Portable sprinkler systems can be forgotten, leading to huge water wastage and poor distribution, leaving some areas soaked and other areas too dry. Your most important asset is time and you will save a ton of it when you get your own automated sprinkler system. Choosing a lawn sprinkler system is essential to your lawn irrigation needs. Our team can help you analyze which kind of sprinkler system will suit your lawn best and reap you the most benefits every year.

Spray Irrigation: This is the most common type of lawn sprinkler system. As the name suggest, water is sprayed directly over the lawn with this type. Long tubes are imbedded in the lawn, and are attached to a water source. Water will then shoot out of the tubes using sprayers. Usually a center pivot is used where there are fixed points that form a large irrigation circle. Sprinklers are installed on top of the tubes and rotated throughout the landscape. Such types of sprinkler systems are good for light soil types. They can also be controlled by an electric device, making operation easier and more flexible.

Drip Irrigation: This type of irrigation is less common because it appears to be more complicated. Tubes with holes are buried under the turf. Holes are situated at set distances that are set specifically for the area where they will provide irrigation. The concentration of the holes can also be varied. Unlike the spray system, water is not sprayed into the air, but are sprinkled, or dripped near the plant roots, providing direct contact. Not only does this prevent people from getting went in the event that they pass through the lawn while water, drip sprinkler systems allow more precision when watering. Another great thing about drip sprinkler systems is that they use less water, saving you even more money while helping the environment. According to certain studies, drip systems use only about half the amount of water that spray systems use. Thus, they are quite economical and practical.

Installing a Sprinkler System in a New Lawn or Garden Area

If you are considering renovating an area of your landscape, it is wise to put in the sprinkler system first. It is quite simple to install a sprinkler system when the ground can be dug up without concern.

Furthermore, if you know what you want to plant, the sprinkler system can be tailored to exactly the needs of the plants that will go in the area. The sprinkler system can easily provide all of the irrigation that new plants or lawn need to take root well.

To install a sprinkler system in a new lawn or garden, trenches will be dug in the areas where sprinklers need to be laid and then filled-in to present a clean area for planting.

Installing a Sprinkler System in an Existing Lawn

Installing a sprinkler system in a brand new planting area is generally a bit easier than having it installed in an existing lawn. If you want a sprinkler system that blends into your lawn and doesn't stand the risk of being stepped on or run over with lawn mowers, it will need to be buried under the surface.

This poses some challenges when installing a sprinkler system in an existing lawn. The sod will need to be cut open to bury the sprinkler system. The best way to do this is with sharp tools that can cleanly cut the sod. The sprinkler system can then be installed and the sod closed up again with minimal damage to the grass.

Depending on how much sod needs to be pulled up and the condition of your existing grass, the sprinkler installation company may also slit seed to establish new grass and eliminate any bald spots that may otherwise develop.

Sprinkler System Maintenance

No matter what kind of sprinkler system you install, whether you have it done by a professional or install it yourself, there will be maintenance required to keep it in good condition. Every year the system will need to be opened and closed to do backflow testing.

If you have hard water, fixtures may need to be cleaned to remove hard water deposits that interfere with the flow. Sprinkler heads must be checked regularly to be sure that they are not leaking or have not become damaged so that they shoot in the wrong direction or produce too much or too little water.

Tips to Make the Most of Your Sprinkler System

When used and installed properly, sprinkler systems can save you money on your water bill while keeping your lawn and garden in optimal condition. Here are a few tips to set up your sprinkler system for ideal performance:

  • Utilize weather sensing turn offs. One of the biggest advantages of having a professionally installed sprinkler system is the use of weather sensing artificial intelligence that will tell sprinklers not to run when it is raining or freezing.
  • Adjust pressure. If the pressure running to your sprinklers is too high, it will produce a mist instead of droplets. Mist can easily be carried off by the wind, wasting water, so you want to be sure that pressure is low enough to produce droplets but high enough to deliver water where it needs to go.
  • Use intervals for poor draining soil. If you have heavily clay soil or soil doesn't drain well for any other reason, water may drain off instead of being soaked into the soil. Using intervals gives the water time to soak in between watering cycles.
  • Adjust watering for the season. In the middle of summer, your sprinkler system may need to run every week or even more often, whereas in the middle of winter, you will probably not need to use your sprinkler system at all. Adjust how often your sprinklers run depending on seasonal needs.

Choose American National Sprinkler & Lighting for Your Sprinkler System

American National Sprinkler & Lighting has been installing high-quality sprinkler systems in Illinois since 1984. We know exactly how to install a system that will work well for your landscape while staying well within your budget.

We are well-known for providing superb customer service. We will discuss your needs in depth to develop precisely the right sprinkler system for you. Once we install a sprinkler system on your property, we will maintain it so that it lasts a lifetime. Contact us to get a quote for a sprinkler system that will keep your landscape beautiful while saving you money.