Sprinkler System Buying Guide

Regular watering can save you time and money while helping your lawn and garden look their best. This sprinkler system buying guide covers the basics from head to hose.

Sprinkler Systems 101

Maintaining a vibrant lawn and garden is a big challenge, but a good sprinkler system helps relieve the burden. A sprinkler “system” refers to the ideal combination of a hose and one or more sprinkler heads. Whether your yard is large or small and whether your plants are freshly planted or mature, there's a sprinkler system to meet your needs. Best of all, the right choice will reduce the effort involved, save you money and conserve water all at the same time.

Types of Sprinkler Systems


Impact Sprinklers

Impact sprinklers, also known as impulse sprinklers, are a good option for watering large, level lawns where overspray is not a concern. This sprinkler operates in a pulsating manner and provides long-range coverage in full- or partial-circle spray patterns. Many impact sprinklers feature heavy-duty, metal construction and a step spike for driving securely into the ground. 

Drip Sprinklers

Drip sprinklers, as the name suggests, deliver a slow supply of water directly into the ground. Other names for drip sprinklers include bubblers, drippers, soakers and micro-sprayers. They're ideal for watering freshly seeded patches of lawn and specific plants in your garden that require deep watering. Drip sprinklers will also save you money on your water bill because there's less evaporation and more water reaches the roots you're targeting.

Underground Sprinklers

If you're tired of dragging your garden hoses around the yard (not to mention tripping over them), you should consider an underground, or in-ground, sprinkler system. With an underground system, the water hose is buried beneath the surface of your lawn or garden and connects to pop-up or above-ground sprinkler heads. Once you install an underground sprinkler system, watering your lawn becomes as easy as turning on the tap. With some systems you can also swap in different kinds of sprinkler heads.

Soaker Hoses

Soaker hoses are a variation on the drip sprinkler. The difference is the water gets delivered through perforations along the length of the hose, instead of through a sprinkler head at the end of the hose. Like drip sprinklers, soaker hoses are a good choice for targeting specific plants such as freshly-planted trees and shrubs that need deep watering. They're also ideal for watering rows of vegetables as the soaker hose can be positioned between the rows. Little or no water is lost through evaporation, which helps reduce your water bill, and plant roots become saturated more quickly, which saves you time. To water larger areas, simply connect multiple soaker hoses together.

Travelling Sprinkler

Imagine a self-powered toy tractor outfitted with a helicopter propeller and you have the basic idea. The travelling sprinkler is a rotating sprinkler head on wheels. It traces the length of your garden hose in the path of your choosing. It’s a fun way to water your lawn from the comfort of your patio chair. The smallest models are suitable for residential use. On-board or remote controls allow you to adjust the speed and spray range and even stop automatically.

Stationary Sprinkler

The most familiar of all the sprinkler types, a stationary sprinkler distributes water in a gentle, rain-like pattern via whirling, oscillating or basic ring designs. Stationary sprinklers are best suited to average-sized lawns and trouble areas that need a thorough soaking. Look for one with a control ring or range limiter. A so-called scarecrow sprinkler is equipped with motion detection and triggers the spray to deter birds and wildlife from feeding on plant beds or freshly sown grass seed.

Sprinkler System Buying Tips:

• Consider the size of the space you need to water
• Flower and vegetable gardens require different sprinklers than lawns
• Choose a sprinkler that allows you to control the water flow
• Look for sturdy connections to avoid leakage and waste
• Examine the pros and cons of plastic versus metal parts

Sprinkler System Features

Sprinkler Heads +

Sprinkler heads come in two basic styles: spray and rotor. Most home sprinkler systems feature spray heads, which range from the oscillating sprinkler type that we all ran through as children (and, admittedly, still do) to stationary soakers. Spray head sprinklers do the job for most backyard gardeners. Rotor heads are integral to most in-ground irrigation sprinkler systems and are designed to work with other system components.

Garden Hoses +

A sturdy, flexible garden hose is an indispensable part of any home sprinkler system. The styles and materials vary widely, but heavy-duty cladding and non-kinking are features worth seeking out. Metal or brass couplings are durable and withstand abuse. A good hose reel or mobile hose cart will protect your investment and help you maintain a tidy yard.

Nozzles +

For those lazy summer evenings when you want to manually water and closely inspect your plants, a good hand-held nozzle is the ticket. A multi-pattern trigger nozzle allows you to switch from a hard direct stream for surface cleaning to a soft shower for bathing delicate plants. Thermoplastic construction or a combination of metal and plastic components lend strength and durability, but take care not to leave your nozzle where it can be crushed or abused.

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Sprinkler System Maintenance Tips:

• Routinely check hoses for leaks and crimps
• Use a water timer wherever possible to avoid over-watering
• Make sure sprinkler heads are free of blockages
• Check outdoor taps for drips and tighten all connections
• Remove sprinklers and hoses (except in-ground) from lawn before mowing
• Drain and clean your sprinkler system before storing for winter

Local Water Regulations and Conservation

Water-use regulations vary from one jurisdiction to the next and can change on short notice. Check with your city or municipality to confirm any restrictions on when and how long you are permitted to water in your neighbourhood. Watering may be forbidden altogether during periods of drought. In general, over-watering puts a strain on your community's water utility and your pocketbook. It can also do serious harm to your grass and garden. As a good gardener, you want to monitor your water use both for your plants’ sake and to conserve a valuable public resource.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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