What Sprinkler System is Right For Me?

Learn how to hire a sprinkler pro and what system fits your needs.

A sprinkler system is a complex network of buried tubing, pipes and electrical connections that nourish your yard and foliage.

A professionally-installed system should ensure that water is delivered to your lawn in the most efficient way, which means nozzles won't be pointed at your car, driveway or sidewalk. They also should be in compliance with any imposed water restrictions and regulations. You should receive a warranty for repairs if your lines become clogged and cause stress to your plants.

When you're ready to install a sprinkler system:

Expect landscape irrigation system contractors to ask you about the type of soils you have, the plants you have now and may acquire in the future, your water source, flow rates and pressure.

Be sure the company you choose covers design, installation, maintenance and repair, and obtain a written warranty before you buy. Make sure the sprinkler system installer clarifies what the warranty covers.

Determine whether any local outdoor watering restrictions apply to you by visiting the state's site on water conservation programs.

Make sure the sprinkler contractor you hire has all the necessary permits for installing an irrigation system and will locate your gas, cable, telephone and electrical lines properly before installation.

Make sure your contractor will guarantee a minimum of disruption to your current trees, shrubs and other foliage. An average job should take less than a week.

It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the four basic types of sprinkler systems before you consider hiring a contractor:

Spray sprinkler systems: The most popular for small yards and gardens and weak pressure systems.

Rotary irrigation systems: Shoot sprays high into the air and often are used for large areas, such as athletic fields.

Flood systems: Spray close to the ground and suit plants that resist damp leaves, such as roses.

Micro irrigation systems: Exactly that — a small-scale irrigation project. It uses a low volume of water that drips or trickles.

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