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FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions

The most common asked questions,


Why should I get a sprinkler system installed in my yard?

Well there are several answers and they are all correct!

For instance, many people have installed their sprinkler system for the convenience.  They do not want to water their lawn themselves, and they know that with the proper equipment installed, they do not have to even worry about if it is raining.  The system will not turn on if water is not needed.

Many people have installed a sprinkler system so that they can extend their plant life.  Regular watering has been shown to improve the plants health and appearance.

Many people install a sprinkler system to lower the water usage.  

And still many more people have installed a sprinkler system to increase the market value.  Remember, the key factor in determining the market value is the appearance of the home.

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Won't the sprinkler system use more water than I am currently using?

No! As a matter of fact, it will conserve on water.  You will not have to worry about over watering runoff, nor will you have to remember to turn off the hose.  Of course, if you do not water your lawn at all, it will use more water, however look at all the benefits of an automatic sprinkler system.

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But will it really save me any time?

Yes! You won't have to waste another minute of your personal time out in your yard with the watering hose.  Your sprinkler system will take care of everything for you, even if you are away on vacation!

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I don't see how a sprinkler system will water better than I can by hand.

Well, a professionally designed system will deliver exactly the right amount of water to individual areas of your lawn. If you are currently watering by hand, you may over water in one area, and totally skip another.

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It rains a lot here, I don't really need a sprinkler system do I?

Well, look at it this way.  If on every third day it rains the exact same amount, you probably do not need a sprinkler system.  However, mother nature does not work like that, so to insure a healthy lawn you need to make sure that your plants are receiving regularly timed, evenly measured amounts of water.

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Will I have difficulty operating the sprinkler system?

When you or your contractor choose the controller, you will set it for your lawns individual needs.  You will be instructed on the operation of the controller, which will make it easy for you to change the watering schedule as is needed. (There is also, normally, a cheat sheet inside the controller's panel, to assist you in operating.)

Here is some information that you may want to look over. It involves the sprinkler system once it has been installed.

  • The best time to water is in the early morning, with the watering completed before the sun comes up. At this time the water pressure is the highest, and evaporation and wind are the lowest. Try not to water in the evening, since having moisture on your grass and plants overnight can promote the growth of fungus.
  • The best time to water is in the early morning, with the watering completed before the sun comes up. At this time the water pressure is the highest, and evaporation and wind are the lowest. Try not to water in the evening, since having moisture on your grass and plants overnight can promote the growth of fungus.
    • In hot weather, most lawns require approximately 1/2" of water every other day. If you have clay soil (which has a slower rate of absorption), applying 1/4" of water every day should reduce run-off and puddling.
    • To find out how much water your sprinkler system is putting on your yard in a specific period of time, run this test.
      • Get a few straight-sided containers (Tuna tins work well). 
      • Place the containers in different spots in the yard that are all watered by one zone. 
      • Run the sprinklers for that zone for 10 minutes, then shut them off. 
      • Now take a ruler and measure the depth of the water in each of the tins. 
      • Next take the average of all the amounts and multiply it by 6. This will give you the average Inches Per Hour (IPH) of water that zone is putting on your yard. 
      • Now you can figure how long you will need to run that zone to get the amount of water to it that it needs.
        • For example: If your average Inches Per hour is 1 1/2", then to get 1/2" of water, you would need to run that zone for 1/3 of an hour (20 minutes). 
        • NOTE: If your tins had a wide range of amounts of water in them, you may have uneven distribution of water in that zone. If so, you may need to run the zone longer in order to get enough water to the weaker areas. This problem could be caused by plugged or blocked sprinkler heads, or improper spacing of the heads.
    • Periodically removing your sprinkler head nozzles and cleaning the filter screen can help eliminate areas of dead grass and plants caused by plugged nozzles.
    • For cold weather climates check local codes to ensure that blowing out the system meets all requirements, then slowly close your shut-off valve, drain all the water from the system by blowing the water from the control valves and piping by using a air compressor before the first freeze to eliminate costly repairs.
    • For Electronic timers, be sure to replace the back-up battery at least once a year (more often if you have frequent power outages)
    • Be sure to comply with all local codes relating to backflow prevention. Most codes require backflow prevention for all sprinkler systems connected to the domestic water supply. This includes the use of either anti-siphon valves (which have a built-in backflow preventer) or a separate backflow preventer (such as a Pressure Vacuum Breaker, a Double Check Valve, or a Reduced Pressure Principle device) which is generally used with in-line valves. Backflow preventers help protect the water supply against contamination.
    • Never place any type of valve downstream of an anti-siphon valve. This will defeat the backflow prevention feature of the anti-siphon valve, plus could cause leakage and premature failure of the valve.
    • Having too many sprinkler heads on a zone can prevent the heads from functioning properly, causing them to not pop up completely or spray effectively. 
    • A sprinkler system can turn a hot afternoon into a cool playtime for the kids. A romp through the sprinklers provides a refreshing break for the young (or even not-so-young) ones.

Should I get the sprinklers that deliver water fast or slow?

It should depend on the soil type you have; if the soil can't absorb the water fast enough, it runs off. It is best to match your sprinkler's application rate with your soil's absorption rate. If you don't know your soil type, please see How to Determine your Soil Type

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When should I water my lawn?

Water in the early morning (before sunrise) when water pressure is greatest, evaporation is minimal and the lawn drinks in the most water. Do not water in the evening because water will sit on the lawn and may cause disease. Do not water in the heat of the day because the sun will evaporate water before it can soak in. To water your lawn efficiently, you need to provide the right amount of water, evenly distributed, in the right places and at the right time. 

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How often should I water my lawn?

There are three things to consider: the weather, the type of soil and the depth of roots.

Weather is the most obvious factor. When it's hotter you'll need to water more frequently. In the summer you'll probably need to water every other day, if not every day (depending, of course, on where you live).

The type of soil affects how much water is available for the grass to use. Heavy (clay) soils hold the most water, meaning you'll probably water less frequently. Sandy soils do not hold water well, so you'll water them more often. Deeper roots mean there is more available water for the grass and, therefore, you'll need to water less frequently. Think of the soil as a sponge that holds water for the grass. The deeper the sponge, the more water it can hold. It is wise to establish watering practices that encourage deep root growth. This allows lawns to go longer between watering, cutting down on disease potential and, ultimately, the amount of water you'll use.

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How much should I water my lawn?

This will be driven by the weather. Water is lost from your lawn through a process called evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration--usually referred to as "ET"-- is the combined effect of water used by the plant and that which is lost to evaporation. ET is expressed in inches (or mm) of water per week. Your watering schedule should be set up to replace the water lost to ET. Check with your local university extension for ET rates in your area. Many areas publish ET rates in the daily press.

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How deep into the soil should water penetrate?

Water should penetrate to the depth of the roots (fill the root zone) or to the depth that roots are desired. This should be at least six inches. The next scheduled watering should occur when about half of the water is used via ET. Allowing much more loss could result in plant stress (see below).

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What happens if I don't water my lawn enough?

If too much water is allowed to leave the soil, your lawn will not be able to extract what's left for its own use, leading to stress. This makes the grass weak and susceptible to physical damage, insect damage and disease.

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What happens if I over water my lawn?

More lawns are harmed by too much water than not enough. Over watering causes nutrients to be flushed away, resulting in higher fertilizer requirements. Over watering also displaces oxygen from the soil, which leads to shallow roots and a lawn that is disease prone and weed infested.

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What happens to grass during a drought?

If your lawn can't get enough water it will first go into a dormant stage, often marked by a bluish color. If the drought continues until the soil water is fully used, death will result for most cool-season grasses. Bermudas and other warm-season grasses will probably recover, however, the lawn's quality will not.

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What are the elements of an automatic irrigation system?

The controller, or timer, is the brain of your system, telling your sprinklers what day, what time and exactly how much to water. 

Installed above or below the ground, usually near the water source, valves regulate water flow to the sprinklers.  

Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)
PVBs prevent water from your sprinkler system (and therefore any fertilizer or chemical contaminants) from re-entering the clean water supply. Toro® manufactures several pressure vacuum devices to meet your local building code specifications.

Lawn Sprinklers
Installed in a special pattern for complete and even coverage, a properly designed automatic sprinkler system delivers precise coverage without gaps or runoff. 

Rain Switch (Optional)
A Rain Switch signals your system to shut off automatically when it's raining. There's no sense watering when nature is doing its part. The Rain Switch is a highly reliable and inexpensive option that saves countless gallons of water.

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What kind of sprinkler should I use?

The type of sprinkler you use really depends on what's being watered. There are five basic sprinkler types: fixed sprays, flood bubblers, stream bubblers, single-stream rotors and multi-stream rotors.

Fixed-spray sprinklers produce a tight, constant fan of water ideal for small lawn, shrub and ground cover areas. Pop-up models pop up above grasses and disappear when not in use. Shrub sprays are mounted above foliage to water ground cover and shrubs.

Flood bubblers produce a flow of water that soaks the soil without wetting the leaves. They're ideal for tree wells, planters and shrubs.

Stream bubblers are for efficient watering of small planter beds and shrubs areas. Stream bubblers are available in a variety of patterns.

Gear-driven, single-stream rotary sprinklers cover large lawn areas most efficiently. Some single-stream rotors have an arc adjustment for placement in corners. Like other pop-up sprinklers, they pop up above grasses and disappear when not in use.

Gear-driven, multi-stream rotary sprinklers produce thin, attractive streams of water that slowly rotate to ensure proper penetration for medium-sized lawn and shrub areas. Multi-stream, pop-up lawn and shrub models are excellent for lawns or ground cover--especially on slopes.

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What are the advantages of an automatic sprinkler system?


How many times have you forgotten to water your lawn, then over watered--only to end up with brown spots and muddy puddles? Like many homeowners, you could be using up to 50% more water than your landscape needs. Which isn't good for your pocketbook or for your lawn. The solution isn't to use more water, but to water more precisely. An automatic sprinkler system can give you a healthy, green lawn--and more free time to enjoy the beautiful results.  An Automatic Sprinkler System takes the work and worry out of watering your lawn. You can forget about tripping over hoses or sprinklers, fixing leaky faucets and hauling hoses around the yard. While you're enjoying the ball game, your lawn enjoys the right amount of water, in the right spots, at the right time.

Greener lawns and gardens.

Hose-end products simply cannot match the performance of a properly installed irrigation system. Adjustable sprinklers allow you to fine-tune coverage and minimize waste.

More efficient watering.

An automatic system delivers gentle, even watering for a more thorough soaking. There's less runoff and wasted water. The system can be programmed to water at the best time, early in the morning.


Pop-up sprinklers stay out of sight when not in use. All you need to do is enjoy your lawn. 

Improves your home.

Installing a  Automatic Sprinkler System immediately adds value to your home. It also protects your gardening and landscaping investment and keeps it growing while saving time and water.

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