Irrigation is not a new invention. In fact, the first irrigation technology can be traced to ancient civilizations. Over the last twenty or so years, though, irrigation has evolved leaps and bounds. Whether you are interested in cutting-edge technology or are interested in something more simple, there is an irrigation system that is sure to fit the needs of your yard.
The first and most basic way to irrigate a lawn is to use a hose with a sprayer and clock timer (a timer which is set to go off on a certain day and time each week). This is a simple and inexpensive way to water a very specific area of a yard. The hose, sprayer, and timer can be easily purchased at a home improvement or hardware store and no professional installation is required. The drawbacks of this plan are that only a limited area receives water and the timer must be set manually. For larger yards, this option can be problematic.
The next step up from a hose irrigation setup would be a basic underground irrigation system. This plan requires more effort and expense. Installing an underground system can be undertaken as a do-it-yourself project, but some homeowners opt to have them professionally installed. Underground systems are designed to irrigate the entire surface of a lawn. The most basic underground systems have set clock timers which must be set manually and tie into the home’s water or well system. A helpful add-on to this kind of system would be a rain sensor that has the capability to read moisture levels in the soil. These sensors prompt the irrigation system to turn on or shut off depending on the lawn’s need for more or less water. Orbit® is one of the most popular suppliers of this type of system and offers many options and configurations.
“Smart irrigation” is the newest and most exciting home irrigation option. While smart irrigation is more costly than the rest of the irrigation systems previously discussed, it is by far the most effective and advanced option when it comes to home irrigation. Smart irrigation is comprised of an underground system controlled remotely via a smartphone app. These systems have the ability to switch water on and off in different parts of the lawn based on water levels in the soil. Even more impressive, smart irrigation apps are often connected to weather services that forecast and report rainfall and irrigate accordingly. In the beginning, this technology was sometimes problematic because of the unreliability of the weather services. As weather services become more and more advanced, though, smart irrigation reaps the benefits. Smart irrigation also has the capability to feature real-time images and footage of the yard so that the user can monitor irrigation activity. Additionally, smart irrigation allows the user the ability to turn the water on and off with just a few swipes and clicks. A few of the most popular smart irrigation systems are Gro 7™ and Rachio®.
An understanding of each of these irrigation systems is key when choosing which is best for your yard. As our world becomes more and more connected via technology, advanced irrigation has become easier to use and more accessible than ever. At the same time, old-fashioned irrigation is still preferred by many homeowners and also serves as a viable option for some lawns. For further information about irrigation requirements and recommendations for your lawn, visit our Lawn Irrigation Guide.