A sprinkler or sprinkler system helps ensure your plants get the adequate amount of water, and if the sprinkler system is set up to run automatically with a timer, watering becomes one less chore to worry about fitting into your workday, weekend and vacation plans.
There is a wide variety of sprinklers and sprinkler systems to choose from, from individual oscillating lawn sprinklers to automatic, underground and permanently-installed irrigation systems. Your choices are limited only by your budget, time and imagination.
Sprinkler systems-A sprinkler system is basically any sprinkler setup that uses more than one sprinkler for watering purposes. This can be as simple as two individual sprinklers working off of one spigot or as elaborate as a timed automatic underground system. Typical sprinkler systems include the following:
- Lawn sprinkler systems
- Automatic sprinkler systems
- Irrigation sprinkler systems
- Underground sprinkler systems
- Garden sprinkler systems
- Sprinkler drip systems
- Residential sprinkler systems
Lawn sprinklers-A traditional lawn and garden sprinkler is one that is connected to one end of a hose with the other end of the hose connected to an outside spigot or portable lawn sprinkler pump. It usually features stakes on the bottom half of its body that get stuck into the dirt to prevent it from toppling over.
Lawn sprinklers have adjustable screws that can alter the distance, height and force of the water stream, and they also feature movable arms that control the directional angle of the water. Most traditional lawn sprinklers feature oscillating heads, meaning that they expel water in a back and forth motion. Once the head travels to the farthest set point to the right, it reverses direction until it hits the farthest set point to the left.
Garden sprinklers-Many people use regular lawn sprinklers to water their gardens, but that's not always a good idea. The water that is put out by lawn sprinklers is quite powerful and can damage delicate plants and flowers. Garden sprinklers, though, are gentler and designed to be used in close proximity to tender plants and flowers.
Garden sprinkler hoses are specially made hoses that feature weeping holes. The hoses are laid right alongside the stems of the plants where the water slowly enters the ground to feed the roots.
Automatic sprinklers-Automatic sprinklers are ones that are controlled by a timer and automatic valves so that manual operation is not necessary. This type of sprinkler system can feature timers on the inside or outside of the home, or the shut-off valve may be connected directly to the spigot that controls the water flow to a specific sprinkler.
Automatic sprinkler systems can be as simple or elaborate as you like. They can be set up to control multiple zones and configured to turn on and off at specific times of the day or night.
Irrigation sprinklers-Irrigation sprinkler systems are permanently installed in your landscape, and they're typically controlled by a timer and valves. There are two types of irrigation sprinkler systems-the standard irrigation variety and the drip irrigation variety.
Standard irrigation uses pop-up sprinkler heads that recede to ground level when not in use. Drip irrigation sprinklers are location-specific sprinklers that work just as garden sprinkler hoses do. The water drips from the drip irrigation line and soaks the ground that surrounds it. This type of sprinkler is 90 percent efficient compared to a standard irrigation system, which is 75 to 85 percent efficient.
Fire sprinkler systems-Fire sprinkler systems are installed on the interior of the home or office building to assist in fire control. This is a more elaborate form of sprinkler system that usually incorporates a circulating pump, fire alarm pull boxes, heat detectors, sprinkler heads and other pieces of equipment.
Fire sprinkler heads are equipped with glass bulbs or fusible links that break once the temperature reaches a certain point. When the glass bulb or fusible link shatters, pressurized water is expelled by the sprinkler head to douse the fire. Because each head contains its own glass bulb or fusible link, it allows the system to target the site of the fire specifically, without damaging unaffected areas.
Sprinkler System Accessories
In order to install your own sprinkler system, you're going to need to have a number of components and accessories on hand. Sprinkler system accessories include these:
- Sprinkler heads
- Sprinkler controllers
- Sprinkler rotors
Tools required for installing your own sprinkler system include a shovel, hacksaw, pipe cleaner, pipe glue, tape measure and a power drill with a masonry bit long enough to breach the wall of the house if the line is being run from the inside out.
3 Sprinkler System Installation Tips
- Don't run the sprinkler lines below the exhaust line of your dryer or it will cause the pipe to crack in the winter.
- Water the ground thoroughly about a day or two before you dig the trench to help loosen the dirt.
- The depth of the trench needs to be 18 inches from the top of the pipe. So, if you are using 1½-inch pipe, the depth should be 20 inches.