Common Irrigation System Design Problems

No two landscapes are alike. That’s why Rain Bird has the most diverse, durable and precise irrigation components in the industry. Whatever landscape problems you might have, be worry-free knowing Rain Bird has an efficient, hassle-free solution.

Watering slopes or hillsPROBLEM: Watering Slopes or Hills

Water can puddle or pool around sprinklers installed at the bottom of slopes or hills, causing soggy areas, which can kill grass or encourage fungus to grow.


1800® Sprays, 3500 Rotors and 5000 Rotors with a Seal-A-Matic™ (SAM) Check Valve stop the problem of low head drainage and eliminate puddling. Or use Rain Bird Rotary Nozzles which deliver water at a lower rate, allowing sufficient soak-in time to prevent run-off.

Different plant typesPROBLEM: Different Plant Types

Shrubs, trees, flowers and grass all need different amounts of water. Delivering the same amount of water to every plant can cause the loss of plant life or you may simply be wasting water on plants that don’t need that much.


Low-volume drip irrigation allows you to customize your water delivery to each plant’s individual watering needs. Designing a system with multiple independent zones allows you to schedule watering according to each area's unique watering needs.

Watering odd shapesPROBLEM: Corners, Odd Shapes or Strips

Often it is hard to get complete and adequate coverage in these hard to reach areas, leaving some areas over-watered and others under-watered.


Sprays installed with Variable Arc Nozzles (VAN) efficiently deliver precise, even coverage in any corner or odd-shaped area of the landscape.


Watering Smaller YardsPROBLEM: Watering Smaller Yards

Smaller areas can be difficult to water, often sprinklers end up watering sidewalks, driveways or spraying against the house or garage.


Low-volume Rain Bird SQ Nozzles precisely water in a square pattern from 2.5 to 4 feet, which results in superior distribution control and uniformity to eliminate over-watering and wasteful run-off. Sprays installed with High Efficiency Variable Arc Nozzles (HE-VAN) efficiently deliver precise, even coverage in smaller yards, any corner or odd-shaped area, or smaller strips of lawn.

Variations in Exposure to SunPROBLEM: Variations in Exposure to the Sun

Over- or under-watering often results because not every part of your yard and garden requires the same amount of moisture due to exposure to the sun.


Easy-to-set controllers with multiple, independent programs, like the ESP-Me, allow additional watering times to be programmed for areas with more sun exposure. Low-volume drip allows the customization of precise water delivery to individual plants or groups of plants, based on specific watering needs and exposure to the sun.

Watering during rainy weatherPROBLEM: Sprinklers Turn On During Rainy Weather

Your system’s watering schedule starts when it is already raining.


A Rain Sensor automatically monitors weather conditions and efficiently signals the controller to turn the system off when it rains, saving water and saving you money.



Watering Compacted SoilPROBLEM: Compacted Soil and Run-off

Certain areas of your lawn might have compacted soil, this condition can cause water to run-off onto sidewalks or driveways without giving it enough time to seep into the soil.


Choose an easy-to-set controller with multiple programs and start times, or choose a controller with the Cycle + Soak option that allows the programming of multiple start times for shorter, precise periods of watering to eliminate run-off. Or use Rain Bird Rotary Nozzles which deliver water at a lower rate; this allows sufficient soak-in time to prevent run-off. Low-volume drip applies water at an even slower rate allowing the moisture to penetrate into the soil to prevent run-off.

Water pressure issuesPROBLEM: Water Pressure Issues

High or fluctuating water pressure can cause sprinklers to mist or fog, in this case water is not delivered to your lawn and garden at the optimal rate. A low water-pressure situation can also affect your sprinklers' performance, leading to areas that do not get proper water coverage.


High water pressure can be efficiently controlled at the valve using a Rain Bird PRS Dial valve pressure regulator. At the point of distribution, excessive pressure can be controlled using 1800® Sprays and 5000 Plus Rotors with a Pressure Regulating Stem (PRS). For low-volume drip systems, install Inline or Anti-Siphon Drip Control Zone Kits with a pressure regulator.


Up Next: Understanding Your Soil