The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Home Irrigation

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An irrigation system is non-negotiable for homeowners with a huge lawn—that is, if they want to maintain its lushness and lower their water bill.

But it’s no news how much installing an irrigation system costs. It doesn’t come cheap. This is why many homeowners forgo getting one and settle with a good old garden hose. The truth is the latter can cost them more in the long run.

Why Get an Irrigation System for Your Home

It’s not enough to rely on rainfall or manual watering to keep the landscape healthy. Installing an irrigation system not only regulates water consumption but also provides efficiency for homeowners.

Plus, these amazing benefits can easily outweigh the costs:

  • It keeps the landscape green and lush, targeting water only to the intended plants.
  • It helps lower utility bills and increases one’s savings.
  • It minimizes the use of herbicides, fertilizers, and insecticides, which is excellent for the environment.
  • It lessens water runoff from a home’s landscapes.
  • It saves homeowners time and effort in maintaining their landscapes.

Homeowners can enjoy these benefits and more with the right irrigation system and setup.

Landscape Changes to Consider

Before getting elbow deep into the task, homeowners will want to assess their landscapes first and change the way they plant around them.

There are certain grasses and plants that can only grow in a local area. They’ll want to make sure to choose specific ones that can thrive in their locale with a low amount of water. They’ll also want to make sure certain plants are placed where they get an ample amount of sun.

A great tip is to hydrozone the design of their landscape. This means grouping the plants according to the amount of water and sunlight they need. Each of these hydrozones will either get routine, reduced, or no irrigation at all.  

Choosing the Right Irrigation System

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Installing the right irrigation system for a lawn is crucial. Even having the best one out there is futile if installed incorrectly. Homeowners who don’t have proper knowledge can save themselves the hassle by hiring a professional contractor and irrigator that will do the job for them.

On the other hand, those confident in DIY should know a thing or two about irrigation systems. Since plants and trees have different water requirements, selecting the right components for the irrigation system is vital.

Quality Sprinkler Systems

Speaking of irrigation components, it’s best to choose quality products that provide flexibility to adapt to the changing landscape needs.

When choosing a sprinkler system, homeowners should ensure it provides even water distribution that can cover the size of their lawn. Some rotors like the Rain Bird 500 Plus Rotor feature a uniform spray pattern to ensure a consistently green landscape.

A good sprinkler system also provides rain curtain technology that prevents airborne evaporation. This ensures that enough water can reach the farthest ends of the landscape.

Drip Irrigation System

Drip irrigation systems are popular installations among households, and for a good reason. Also known as microirrigation, drip irrigation efficiently distributes water across the landscape without using a lot of it. In fact, it’s 90 percent efficient in watering plants compared to sprinklers that are only around 75 percent efficient.

They work by directly targeting the roots of plants and flowers through tubing with emitters placed on the ground alongside the plants. This saves up to 30 percent of water and significantly cuts costs on water consumption. It’s also the ideal choice for sloping landscapes where flood irrigation isn’t possible.

Smart Irrigation Systems

Those who are into “smart” technology may want to consider using smart irrigation controllers to water their landscape automatically. With smart irrigation, the system will automatically adjust the water frequency and amount, depending on the soil moisture, rainfall, and the plant’s water needs.

Homeowners can choose from the several types of smart irrigation systems available out there, including those with Wi-Fi connectivity and on-site sensors. But it’s important to know how to program them correctly. Otherwise, smart controllers can do more harm than good to their landscape—and utility bills.

Water-Saving Tips for Homeowners

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On top of these efficient irrigation system options, here are some more tips that will help property owners save water and cut on costs:

  • Inspect sprinkler heads regularly. Checking the heads and hoses every month for clogs can help reduce water wastage. It also ensures plants always get the right amount of water they need. Make sure to wear proper hand protection such as sturdy nitrile gloves when cleaning your sprinkler heads to avoid contamination and injury. 
  • Avoid mixing and matching rotors and sprays. Gear-drive rotors distribute about half-inch of water an hour while fixed spray nozzles spray around three times more. It’s best to research these components beforehand.
  • Water early in the morning. The ideal time to water is around 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Around 30 to 40 percent of water is lost to evaporation during the afternoon. Meanwhile, watering at night can put vegetation at risk of fungus growth.
  • Place mulch in flower beds. Placing about 2 to 3 inches of mulch helps keep the moisture and prevent weeds from growing around the plant.
  • Meet code requirements. Certain areas have local Plumbing Codes that homeowners should follow. This ensures any irrigation system installed won’t contaminate the drinking water supply.

Don’t Skimp on Irrigation

Opting for the cheapest irrigation option out there doesn’t mean getting huge savings. If it isn’t the right system for their type of landscape, homeowners will be looking at unnecessary additional costs in the long run. Because of this, it’s best to consider getting professionals to give you expert advice and help perform the installation correctly.

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