Choosing a Sprinkler System for Your Lawn

Sprinklers come in 4 basic designs. Each of these sprinkler types has their advantages and disadvantages. Lawn size, frequency of watering and soil types are all important factors when choosing which type of sprinkler is best for you.

Stationary or Fixed Sprinklers:

Of the 4 basic designs a stationary or fixed sprinkler is probably the worst type you can purchase. These types of sprinklers work best for spot watering or used in conjunction with another sprinkler system. Varying flow rates are this type of sprinkler's greatest disadvantage. At the outside edge of the spray pattern the grass can receive upwards of 6-8 inches of water while at the base it may only receive 2 inches of water per hour. This is due to the water being directed through the fixed pattern of small holes in the base.

Oscillating Sprinklers:

Oscillating sprinklers use a curved piece of metal or plastic with small holes that move back and forth to deliver the water in a rectangular pattern. By pausing when the spray is furthest away this sprinkler does a better job of delivering the water in a more effective pattern. More up to date models will allow you to adjust this pattern as well as adjusting the width of the spray.

Revolving Sprinklers:

Revolving sprinklers use one or more arms to throw the water in a circular pattern. This type of sprinkler has a fairly decent radius but suffers in the uniformity of the water being delivered to the lawn. Generally speaking the majority of the water is delivered to an area 4-9 feet out.

Impulse or Impact Sprinklers:

For a large area an impulse or impact sprinkler is a good choice. By using a combination of a jet internally and a hammer externally this sprinkler can shoot jets of water in a circular pattern. On many models the head is adjustable from a fine mist to a strong pulse or anything in between. Coverage is good with this type of sprinkler.

Inground Sprinkler System:

For most homeowners the choice for a sprinkler system would be an in-ground system. By installing the sprinkler heads at key locations you ensure uniform coverage and excellent water delivery. Most units come with a timer to make watering your lawn even more convenient. Some models also incorporate a sensor to let the system know if it has been raining to curb the cost of your watering bill. The spray heads pop up from the lawn when activated and return to their almost hidden position when finished. When having your lawn aerated ensure the heads are clearly marked to avoid damage to them while the lawn is being aerated.

Sprinkler of Interest:

One of the more odd sprinkler systems is what is known as a travelling sprinkler. I haven't come across too many of these which is too bad. This system while looking a little bizarre gives good thorough coverage and excellent rates of moisture. The sprinkler follows the hose or track laid out by the homeowner. By varying the hose pattern you get excellent coverage. The pressure of the water exiting the rotating arms propels the unit along.

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