A Guide to Sprinkler Irrigation Systems: 5 Different Types & How They Work

Lawn irrigation takes up about 60 percent of the total residential water use in certain parts of the United States. To save up on water, homeowners are advised to pick the right irrigation system for maximum efficiency.

If you need to pick a sprinkler irrigation system for your lawn, you’ll need to factor in several things to choose the best one for the landscape. You’ll also need to determine whether installing an irrigation system in the first place is the right decision.

Not sure where to begin? This article can help you determine what system will fit your needs best, depending on the landscape, the size of your yard, and the various types of sprinklers and why they are great to have in your turf.

Why Install an Irrigation System?

Whether you’re building a new house or remodeling an existing one, landscaping the surrounding land may have crossed your mind. Once you’ve chosen to keep a lawn, you’ll also need to decide whether to install an irrigation system or not.

Having an irrigation system can cost a lot of money, not to mention it can be challenging to set up if the place has already been landscaped before sprinklers are installed. This is why you must first think about the following factors listed by lawn care experts from Mason, OH to determine whether such an investment is worth it:


Many homeowners find the sheer ease and convenience of having an automatic watering system for their lawn to be reason enough to get one. After all, not everyone enjoys manually irrigating the lawn a couple of times in a week.

With an automated irrigation system, you’ll find that spending time away from home for vacation or any other reason becomes easier. This is because you won’t have to hire someone to take care of your lawn while you’re away. It also gives you the peace of mind that the grass is hydrated consistently even then you’re not around.

Consistent and Sufficient Watering

Another significant benefit of having an irrigation system installed in your property is the consistency of watering. Since irrigation is best done at specific times of the day, an automated watering system allows you to accomplish this task at the optimal schedule without fail.

Keep in mind that watering before the sun is at its highest can help prevent excessive water evaporation since the greeneries have more time to absorb moisture. However, watering after the sun has set can increase the possibility of fungi to develop and may even cause disease in the grass. This means that, out of the two, early morning is the best time to water plants.

Aside from being scheduled to set off at a specific time of day, some irrigation systems even feature rain and moisture sensors that help sprinklers automatically adjust the amount of water to use when watering the lawn.

If you’re thinking of leaving the sprinklers on all day, don’t. Overwatering is as detrimental to plants and grass as underwatering. The best thing you could do is automate this task to get full control and ensure the health of the flora.

5 Types of Home Lawn Sprinklers

With the sheer number of options to choose from based on cost, size, and complexity, it can be difficult to choose the best sprinkler system for your lawn. Before sealing the deal, here are the five types you can choose from and a concise description of what they do:

1. Sprays

This is the type of watering system you’ll probably think of first when you hear the words “traditional sprinklers.” These are sprinklers with heads that pop-up to spray water around an area. It can be set to spray water in a quarter, half, or full circle, depending on where it is placed on the lawn.

Homeowners appreciate how large the area that can be covered by this irrigation system. However, these aren’t as efficient as other types of sprinklers in the market and tend to waste a lot of water, which explains why homeowners no longer consider it as their top choice.

Still, the biggest advantage this system has is its expansive coverage. Newer models even have rainfall sensors to prevent overwatering the lawn in case of a downpour. For best results, place spray heads at a distance from each other so that one covers the area where the next closest head doesn’t reach.

2. Soaker Hoses

While technically not a sprinkler, soaker hoses are irrigation equipment that homeowners must consider before finalizing their decision on a lawn watering system.

As the name implies, these hoses soak the surrounding landscape. However, they emit water throughout the entire length of the hoses, not just through a nozzle at the end. This means you can customize the irrigation system based on the landscape, no matter how awkward its design might be.

3. Drip Systems

Drip systems are best for conserving energy and water. Also called micro sprays, this type of irrigation system releases water directly into the soil at a slower pace of about one to four gallons per hour. Thus, giving the soil enough time to absorb the moisture.

However, drip systems are best used only in small lawns or properties with limited gardens areas where plants thrive. This is because the water pressure it uses doesn’t allow water to reach farther from where the heads are placed.

Of course, this can be advantageous in other situations, like under windy weather. Since the water is spewed directly on the soil and not sprayed into the air, it doesn’t catch the wind and remains as efficient as it usually is regardless of the weather conditions.

There’s one more disadvantage though: Drip systems can be a tripping hazard for little ones, so parents might want to think it through when considering this type of irrigation system.

4. Portable Irrigation Systems

This type of irrigation system allows homeowners to water plants and grass automatically if no permanent sprinkler system is in place. They are usually attached to an outdoor water source for short-term use.

5. Rotor System

Rotors are irrigation systems that combine the advantages of drips and sprays into one. Like sprays, rotors cover a wider area. However, it releases water slower than sprays, much like drip systems.

In the past, rotors were only applicable for big yards, but newer models are now capable of accommodating just a small area for more efficient water and energy use. The rotor spray nozzle and the amount of water released can also be adjusted, giving you full control of your irrigation system as the landscape situation changes in different seasons.

Ensuring the longevity of your lawn requires more than just watering. Whichever irrigation system you choose, proper maintenance and help from lawn care professionals in Blue Ash, OH can help you keep your lawns lush throughout the year.