How to Choose the Best Sprinkler System for Your Lawn and Garden

Boy with sprinkler

When it comes to keeping your lawn or garden healthy and happy, proper irrigation is key! There's a lot to think about when it comes to watering your plants – how often to irrigate, how much water they need, and making sure the water reaches the roots. An irrigation system helps take care of all of that for you. There are several types of irrigation systems available, so it's important to choose the one best suited for your needs. Whether you're looking for a simple sprinkler or something more complex, there's an irrigation system out there that's perfect for you.

What is an irrigation system and why do you need one 

No matter what kind of plants you have in your garden, they need water to survive. If you don't have a system for irrigating your garden, you'll need to water your plants by hand on a regular basis. This can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large garden. A better solution is to install an irrigation system.

Types of sprinkler systems for your garden

There are several different types of irrigation systems available, and each one has its own benefits. Here are three of the most common types:

Hose-end sprinklers: This is the simplest type of irrigation system. It consists of a hose connected to a sprinkler head that you can move around your lawn or garden. Choose a hose-end sprinkler system if your garden is small or if you only need to water certain areas. Rain Bird offers a variety of sprinkler devices from small sprays to impact sprinklers that can throw water long distances. You can even attach a hose-end timer to set your sprinklers to conveniently run at specific times each day.

In-ground sprinklers: This type of system is buried underground and has a series of pipes that connect to the sprinkler heads. In-ground systems are more complex than hose-end sprinklers, but are also more efficient because they can water your garden evenly. In-ground systems are often used to irrigate lawns and landscaping and are set up with an automated controller like the new ARC8 smart WiFi controller from Rain Bird which is controlled via the Rain Bird mobile app. You may want to install an in-ground sprinkler system if you have a large garden or if you want to automate your watering schedule.

Drip irrigation is one of the most popular types of irrigation systems. It delivers water directly to the plants' roots, conserving water. Drip irrigation is also very efficient and can be used to water individual plants or a group of plants in containers and hanging baskets. Using drip irrigation for a raised bed garden is a popular application. As with the hose-end solution described earlier, you can automate your drip irrigation schedule using a Rain Bird hose end timer.
Getting the most out of your irrigation system

Once you've installed your irrigation system, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of it.

Watering your garden early in the morning or late at night is a great way to make sure your plants are getting the water they need. During the day, the sun can cause the water to evaporate quickly, so watering in the morning or evening will help keep your plants hydrated.

Rain Bird ARC8 WiFi smart controllerIf you have an in-ground sprinkler system, make sure to set the controller so that it waters your garden for the appropriate amount of time. Depending on the size of your garden and the type of plants, you may need to water for different amounts of time. Installing a rain sensor will prevent your sprinklers from over-watering when it's raining, which can save water and money. Newer model irrigation controllers, like the Rain Bird ARC8 smart WiFi controller, actually connect to your local online weather service to "decide" whether to turn on your sprinkler.

If you have a hose-end sprinkler system, you can attach a hose-end timer to help automate your watering schedule. This is a great way to make sure your plants are getting the water they need without having to remember to do it yourself.

Maintaining your sprinkler system

Maintaining your irrigation system is important to ensure it continues to function properly. Here are a few tips for keeping your system in good shape:

Check your sprinkler heads regularly to make sure they are spraying water in the right direction. Uneven watering can lead to brown patches, and water that is sprayed onto the sidewalk or driveway can waste valuable resources. If you notice the pattern has changed, simply adjust the head accordingly. 

Over time, the heads can become clogged with dirt or sediment which can reduce the flow of water and lead to uneven coverage. In addition, debris such as leaves and twigs can accumulate around the heads preventing them from spraying water in the desired direction. By taking the time to clean your sprinkler heads and clear away any debris, you can ensure your lawn stays healthy and green all season long.

If you have an in-ground system, have a professional check it regularly to make sure it is working properly. In cold-weather climates with seasonal freezing, have your in-ground irrigation system flushed to remove excess water that can freeze and rupture the tubes.

As the seasons change, so does the amount of water your lawn needs. In the spring and summer, the days are longer and the sun is stronger, so your lawn will need more water to stay healthy. However, in the fall and winter, the days are shorter and the weather is cooler, so you can reduce your watering schedule. By paying attention to the changing seasons, you can make sure your lawn always has the right amount of water.

Selecting the best irrigation system can help keep your lawn or garden healthy and automating the system can conserve water and save you money on your water bill. Whether you choose a simple hose-end sprinkler, drip irrigation, or an in-ground system, using the right irrigation system for your needs can ensure your plants get the water they need to thrive. Maintaining your irrigation system is also important for it to continue working properly and to make sure your lawn stays healthy and green all season long.