How to Choose the Best Sprinkler System for Your Lawn

One of the best things about sprinkler systems is the flexibility in choosing exactly what works for your lawn. To decide if a hose-end or in-ground sprinkler system is better, you need to look at your yard size, budget, and watering needs.

Things to Consider When Choosing A Sprinkler System

To start, ask yourself questions about your lawn and watering needs.

  • Do you have a small yard to water or an extensive section of land? The size and shape of the area you’re watering impacts the type of sprinklers you can use. Plus, as the coverage area gets bigger, it will impact the supply and installation costs.
  • What’s your budget? If you’re looking for inexpensive options, you will be considerably limited on what you can purchase. If your budget is larger, you open up more possibilities.
  • How long are you planning to stay in your curing home? If you intend to move soon, you may not want to invest in an expensive, in-ground system because you won’t fully recoup the cost. Although, at the same time, it can help improve curb appeal and resale value.
  • What’s the pressure of your home’s water supply? If you have low water pressure, it will affect the type of sprinkler you can use. More extensive options need a minimum water pressure and volume to run the sprinklers. If unsure, you can purchase an inexpensive pressure gauge and hook it to a hose spigot to test the water.
  • What type of grass is in your lawn? Different turfgrasses have different water requirements. A grass with low-watering requirements may not need an elaborate, in-ground system.
  • Is the shape of your yard simple or complex? It’s similar to the notion you can put a square peg in a round hole. You’ll need to purchase specific sprinkler types to fit the shape of the watering area. Sprinklers come in all different kinds—some water in circular patterns, some in square, and others have a triangular spray pattern.
  • Are water usage restrictions in your area implemented by the city or your local HOA? As water resources become scarce in places, cities, counties, or states are implementing regulations to conserve water. If you live in an area like this, consider a sprinkler system that uses water incredibly efficiently.
  • How essential is convenience to you? If you don’t mind moving a hose around at intervals to water the grass, hose-end sprinklers may be sufficient. But if you want a system that can be programmed to run automatically, you’ll want to look at automated sprinklers. Perhaps even one with a smart controller.

Different Types of Sprinkler Systems

Hose-end sprinklers

Everyone is familiar with the infamous hose-end sprinkler, and most people have probably played in one as a kid!

These sprinklers are the simplest type of system. A sprinkler head connects to the end of your garden hose, and you move it around your lawn or garden, watering wherever needed.

Hose-end sprinklers are a good choice if you have a small yard or garden or only need to water specific areas of your yard. Sprinklers come in various types and sizes—from small sprays to large impact rotary sprinklers that throw water upwards of 50 feet—giving you plenty of options to find specific ones that fit your needs.

Without a doubt, this is also much more cost-effective than installing an in-ground system. It is labor intensive, though, and far from efficient. However, you can purchase a hose-end timer to make sure you’re watering a set amount of time instead of forgetting the sprinkler is on and watering your grass an additional hour.

In-ground sprinklers

In-ground sprinklers are more complex than hose-end sprinklers and have many advantages but cost much more. A series of water lines and sprinkler heads are buried underground with an in-ground system. When the system turns on, the heads pop up, water for a set time, and then drop back under the soil surface.

These systems water very efficiently and are automated, taking the guesswork and labor out of watering. They work well if you have a larger yard or garden or travel often and want to automate watering. It’s a “set it and forget it” type of system—and that’s precisely what some people are looking for.

Different sprinkler heads can spray in a strip, full arc, half-circle, or quarter-circle. Depending on the individual head, they’ll throw water anywhere from five to 35 feet. Because of the available options, you can create a specifically tailored system for your lawn.

Smart sprinkler systems

Smart systems are an advanced version of the standard in-ground sprinklers. They are controlled via a smartphone or tablet app instead of inputting a preset watering schedule into a control panel in the garage or basement. They put everything related to a sprinkler system in the hands of the user, literally, at all times.

These systems let users turn sprinklers on and off no matter where they are and can even go one step further and help determine how long and when to water. The smart technology uses local weather data or real-time sensors to adjust duration and amounts in relation to forecasted rainfall, temperature, humidity, or soil moisture.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Sprinkler System?

On average, it costs a US homeowner between $3,500 and $5,500 to have a smart in-ground sprinkler system professionally installed on a quarter-acre lawn. You can expect to pay up to if not more than, $10,000 for an in-ground system for a one-acre green space.

You can purchase a “large” Irrigreen bundle on the website starting at $3658. The bundle contains a smart controller, six heads, and all necessary cables. It is intended for medium to large-sized residential yards, covers up to 12,000 square feet, and replaces upwards of ten traditional sprinkler heads.

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