Joe Swett
SHARE
How Sprinkler Systems Work
By Published On: July 6th, 20200 Comments27.9 min read

Are you wondering how sprinkler systems work? How would they be set up so your whole yard could get water automatically? Imagine, even your flower beds and vegetable garden being water automatically.

Read on to learn about sprinkler zones and the different types of sprinklers for different zones.

Sprinkler Zones

When you have an irrigation system installed in your yard, the irrigation company will evaluate your yard and your watering needs. They will look at what areas you need to get water to.

For example, you might have grass in the front and back of your house. You may have some beds in the front of your house with bushes and flowers. Maybe along the side of your house, you grow tomatoes or roses.

Each area, with unique watering needs, gets broken into zones. The zones will be set up with different sprinkler heads and watering systems to make sure water covers the area.

Your bushes and shrubs will need less water than grassy areas. The irrigation specialist will consider whether the zone is in the sun or shade. Is there a hill or slope in the yard where water run-off might become an issue?

Once the irrigation system is installed, it can be set so each zone gets water for the period of time that best fits it. Perhaps you want larger grassy areas to run longer than a flower bed on a drip system, for example.

Once there is a map of the zones you need, then you need to decide how many and what type of sprinklers go in each zone.

Types of Sprinklers to Consider for Your Zones

Once armed with a zone map, then you need to consider what sprinklers and where to place them within a zone. You want to set up zones knowing that you can cover the area and that zones are somewhat equal.

An irrigation company can evaluate your water pressure and how many gallons per minute of water can come from your water system. This helps them to consider not only how many sprinklers to put in a zone, but also how long they will water once installed.

As they consider types of sprinklers, the irrigation specialist will look at how the water comes out of the sprinkler. They consider how water gets delivered and the water covers the area when the sprinkler is on. They want to be sure that no area’s missed with watering.

Ideally, the sprinklers overlap to make sure water is always delivered to the areas that need water. Let’s take a closer look at some types of sprinklers used in an irrigation system.

Spray Head Sprinklers

Spray head sprinkler heads often pop up out of an irrigation system when they are watering. They water with a fan-like pattern from the sprinkler head. You can even imagine the water coming from a showerhead in a spray like fashion, this is how the spray head sprinklers work.

They can be set so this covers a 360° area from the sprinkler head. They can also be adjusted so they only cover part of that area. Most spray sprinkler heads come with different heads that can cover 90, 120, 180, 210 & 360-degree areas.

Typically, spray head sprinklers will be used in smaller areas. Although they can shoot heavy volumes of water, they don’t send the water quite as far as other types of sprinkler heads.

There are even spray specialty nozzles for short radius, narrow strips, or corners for unique zone areas.

Rotary Head Sprinklers

Rotary head sprinklers, also called rotors, are used to spray water greater distances. These might commonly be used to cover large grassy areas, for example.

Rotary heads sprinklers will send water out in a stream of water. The sprinkler head often moves to send the stream of water over and area. The water is delivered more slowly from this type of sprinkler than from a spray head sprinkler. For this reason, it often works better for areas that are hilly or have a slope to avoid water run-off.

The stream of water that comes from a rotary head can go longer distances than a spray head sprinkler. It’s also less likely to have the water stream be impacted by wind.

The rotary heads can stream the water over large distances and because they can move can cover large parts of any particular zone at one time.

Bubblers and Drip Irrigation

Bubbler sprinklers are used to water around trees and other landscaping. They can deliver water more quickly than the previous types of sprinkler heads.

Neither the bubblers nor drip irrigation would be used to water a lawn. Instead, they would be used for unique landscape needs like trees, shrubs, or pots of flowers or plants, for example. A drip irrigation system might wind around certain plants and even be underground so the water drips down for the plants.

Because the water comes out of this type of sprinkler more quickly, you would want them in their own zone and separate from sprinkler types so you can be sure to avoid overwatering.

Understanding How Sprinkler Systems Work

How sprinkler systems work and the different sprinkler heads in an irrigation system work can help you to understand how to set up zones to meet your watering needs.

If you need help with your irrigation system or want advice on zones and which sprinklers will meet your needs, we can help. Contact us today to get more information on an irrigation system or help to make your system work more efficiently.

About the Author: Joe Swett

Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.
Leave A Comment

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

No Service Call Fees

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

All Calls Answered

727-772-3819

Have a Problem? We Have Solutions!
Call Us at 727-772-3819