Sprinkler System Design

The single greatest expense with owning an irrigation system is the ongoing purchase of water. It is imperative that the sprinkler system design incorporates water efficient products and design features to minimize future water expenses. This simply cannot be overstated. A poor design will use excessive water and needlessly inflate your water bill.

Historically speaking, sprinkler system design across the country consisted mainly of a “just get it wet” philosophy. While this attitude fit well within the belief structure of the 80’s and 90’s, times have changed. Costs have skyrocketed and water sources are drying up. Water conservation is a necessity and proper sprinkler system design is the key.

Plant Needs

Every property has its own unique micro-climate. Every estate has its hot, sunny areas, its shady areas, its low or boggy areas, hill sides etc. If your sprinkler system design is made without taking this into consideration up front, you will suffer a lifetime of lawn watering challenges.

Beyond your micro-climate, plants and turf (grasses) have vastly different watering needs. Trying to simultaneously, and effectively, water a lawn with a 3″ root zone (turf/grass) and a flowering shrub bed with a 12-18″ root zone is impossible. Each section has its own watering requirements. If you try to water both at the same time you’ll wind up soaking the grass or starving the plants. Either way, your landscape suffers and takes many more years to mature.

Sprinkler System Design Flaws

“Not enough pressure” is a misconception often heard from customers actually experiencing sprinkler system design flaws.

The most common cause of “not enough pressure” is poor irrigation design. Irrigation systems typically require between 40-60 psi for lawn watering. That’s about 1/3rd of what the city supplies. Rather than a pressure problem, most sprinkler system performance issues will begin when too many heads have been added to a single zone or using an undersized pipe to deliver the water. Water volume is the most important variable.

There are several potential issues related to poor sprinkler system design. Some of the more noticeable effects are:

  • areas that stay wet
  • areas that stay dry
  • drainage work to fix problems that could have been prevented
  • plant fatalities
  • high water bills
  • frequent repairs
  • “not enough pressure”

Sprinkler System Pricing

Again, it simply cannot be overstated that the single greatest expense with owning an irrigation system is the ongoing purchase of water. To avoid future sprinkler repair and costly water bills, it is critical that the sprinkler system be designed to maximize efficiency. A poor design will use excessive water and needlessly inflate your water bill.

A poorly designed system can often be traced back to a single cause – price. It’s true. You get what you pay for and the lowest price is often a shortcut to a poorly designed and inefficient system. Saving a little upfront will cost more in the long run when you pay an inflated water bill every month.

The single greatest expense when installing an effective irrigation system is labor. In order to cut down on labor cost and reduce the upfront sales price, some contractors will take short cuts with labor. Pipes are installed at shallow depths making them vulnerable to freezes and damages by landscape crews. Design quality is sacrificed to allow for easy installation and quick completion.

In some cases, poor quality parts may even be used (“pay me now or pay me later”). Cheap irrigation controllers have less flexibility, which is a crucial component in controlling recurring water costs. Rest assured, these poor quality parts will fail much faster than quality, brand name parts like Hunter, Rainbird and Toro. The worst part is you’ll have to replace the original system later, likely paying for proper drainage work at the same time.

Your sprinkler system is installed to help sustain a hearty, beautiful landscape. Often times cheap sprinkler installations result in visible irrigation equipment that should be hidden from sight. Instead, pipes and controllers are prominently displayed within the landscape!

A professional installation will have references and plenty of quality work to exhibit. Just ask.