Winterizing - Winterizing your system can be one of the best yearly investments you can make. Essentially an air compressor is hooked up to your sprinkler lines after shutting off the primary valve inside your house. The water is blown out of the lines to prevent freezing and expansion and eventual breakage of your lines, solenoids and hard work.
Rain Sensors - Not only are they required under water conservation laws, a rain sensor can prevent you from spending your hard-earned money on over-saturation of your lawn. The sensors are usually attached to your home and automatically turn the system off if there has been significant rainfall.
Morning Hours - Watering late at night may seem like a no-brainer because most likely no one is using your lawn at those hours, but there are more practical reasons for watering in the morning. Mold and mildew are more likely to target your house with the increased moisture conditions overnight, and any excess water that may build up will be burned off by the midday sun.
Aim - While it may seem easier to just throw the water all over your property, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Many areas don't allow watering of the sidewalk, and you don't want to be liable for any slips or falls that may occur as a result of sloppy watering.
Solenoids - Solenoids is a fancy term for the valves that regulate each zone of your yard. They allow water to enter each zone and shut it off after a specified amount of time. These are the heart of your system and are controlled by low-voltage wiring.
Connections - Funny pipe is used to connect your sprinkler heads with the poly pipe. It's extremely flexible and virtually unbreakable, which makes for a durable fit. It also helps with any water pressure issues you may be experiencing. Take a little time to research using it in your application.
Roots - Tree roots pose a time-consuming problem when it comes to installing a sprinkler system. While they are both avoidable, it adds a degree of frustration to your carefully mounted project. Check the surrounding area and brainstorm ideas for trying to avoid roots for your lines and heads.
Heads - There are two main types of sprinkler heads to be installed: fixed and rotary, which put out differing amounts of water. If they're mixed, it can cause big problems for your newly installed system. Be sure you know which heads you have and be mindful of their placement.
Pressure - Usually, the higher your water pressure is, the better. No one likes taking a shower with a trickle of water coming out of the showerhead. Your sprinkler system has to be carefully regulated to maximize efficiency. There are often markings on your sprinkler heads so you don't overpower your pumps.
Access - Often your sprinkler installers are not licensed plumbers, and most likely, neither are you. Having a licensed professional come in to do simple work will save you a headache and valuable repair time.
The Homeowner’s Guide to Landscape Irrigation
Most homes have irrigation systems installed to provide supplemental water to the landscape when rainfall is insufficient.
There areimportant benefits to having an efficient irrigation system:
• It provides a healthy landscape.
• It targets water to the intended plant material.
• It creates a softer environmental footprint by saving on
herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers.
• It limits water runoff from landscapes.
• It saves money on utility bills.
Automatic irrigation systems deliver the right amount of water at
the right time when properly programmed and maintained. Efficient
• have watering schedules that account for climate and site
conditions, such as: slope, plant type, sprinkler type, soil type
and sun exposure.
• operate at correct water pressures according to manufacturer
• provide uniform water coverage to the landscape.
• use appropriate sprinkler types or drip emitters for the irrigated
It’s easy to conserve water by making simple changes to the way
you plant and manage your landscape:
1. Landscape to suit your lot. Choose grasses and plants that
have low water requirements and thrive in your local climate.
Consider your lot’s exact features, including sun and shade,
dry and damp areas, plant size, and how you plan to use each
section of your yard.
2. Keep soil healthy. Before planting, have the soil tested by the
Cooperative Extension Service in your state. When planting,
turn and cultivate the soil and add soil amendments to improve
soil moisture infiltration and retention. This practices results
in healthier plants with strong root systems that require less
frequent watering. It’s also a good idea to aerate your lawn and
around trees at least once a year to improve water penetration
and encourage root growth.
3. Mulch plants, shrubs and trees. Using two to four inches
of mulch dramatically decreases evaporation, keeps soil
temperatures moderated, improves water penetration and
controls weeds that compete for water.
4. “Hydrozone” your yard. Grouping plants with similar moisture
needs makes it easier to prevent overwatering in the landscape.
Provide separate irrigation zones for lawn and shrub areas that
have different water requirements.
5. Plant in spring or fall. Avoid summer planting, since hot
temperatures require more water for plants to become
6. Save grass for functional areas. Plant grass in play zones
and other areas where it will be used and enjoyed. Instead of
planting turf on steep slopes or other hard-to-water spaces,
consider ground cover, perimeter plants or mulch. Plant
turfgrass that is best adapted for your region.
7. Plant shade trees. The shade cast by trees creates natural
“air-conditioning,” lowering air and soil temperatures, and
decreasing the loss of soil moisture. During the tree selection
process, check tree recommendations from your state’s
Cooperative Extension Service or local water agency.
8. Maintain your yard regularly. Follow a recommended yearround landscape maintenance schedule for your area. Weed,
prune, fertilize and mow as needed. Raise the height of the
mower during hot months to decrease water evaporation and
encourage deeper roots.
Maintain & upgrade your system
Irrigation systems need regular maintenance to keep them working
efficiently year after year. Damage from lawn equipment or
improper winterization can cause leaks and other serious problems.
Follow these guidelines to avoid problems:
1. Inspect your system monthly. Check for leaks, broken or
clogged sprinkler heads, and other problems. Clean clogged
screens and microirrigation filters as needed.
2. Adjust sprinkler heads. Remove or correct obstructions
that prevent sprinklers from distributing water evenly. Adjust
sprinkler head positions and spray patterns to avoid watering
sidewalks or structures and to provide necessary clearance
over growing plants.
3. Check the pressure. Pressure can change over time and
negatively affect system efficiency. Use pressure regulation
when installing microirrigation systems.
4. Install rain, freeze or soil moisture sensors. These sensors
can be wired to any controller and help compensate for natural
rainfall by turning off your system in rainy or freezing weather
or when soil is sufficiently wet.