Types of Irrigation Systems and Which One You Should Install


When you hear a dripping faucet, what’s your instinctual reaction? Chances are you have an urge to turn it off — ASAP. Strangely enough, many people don’t act the same way with their lawns. Instead of a few drips, an inefficient irrigation sprinkler system wastes gallons of water over time. Of course, grass needs water to survive, but too much moisture can do more harm than good. Green lawns start with green lawn care, and green lawn care starts with smart irrigation.

The amount of water you should give your lawn depends on many factors, including grass type, soil type, location and time of year. Minnesota’s most common type of turf, Kentucky Bluegrass, is relatively hardy and will survive extended periods without water. As a general rule, 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week is healthy for this species. If you have sandy soil, it will absorb moisture much more quickly than loam or clay soil, so be sure to water it more frequently and in smaller amounts. Luckily, modern irrigation sprinkler systems allow you to calibrate exactly how much water you want to use per watering session.

If you’ve had problems with your sprinklers in the past, you may want to consider installing a new system. One of the most common lawn problems for homeowners is overwatering the grass. This mistake can kill the plant and wastes water, so be sure to install a system that efficiently distributes water to the soil.

Let’s examine your irrigation choices so you can get a better idea of what can satisfy your lawn’s watering needs.

Options for Irrigation Sprinkler Systems

What is a drip irrigation system?

A green irrigation system, drip is the most efficient way to water your lawn. Drip systems release relatively large drops of water very close to the soil. The water drips slowly, allowing the soil to soak it up completely. This application technique makes it ideal for clay soils. The process eliminates any runoff problems you may experience with a less efficient system. You will also avoid excessive evaporation since drip systems don’t spray water mist into the air. There are many varieties of drip systems including bubblers, drippers, inline emitters and micro sprayers. Most systems are customizable to match the requirements for your grass and soil type.

Soaker hoses, the optimal garden solution

Soaker hoses


These hoses are a great watering solution for your garden. At first glance, they look like a regular hose that’s sweating. The water is actually escaping through tiny pores over the length of the hose. This allows you to reduce wasteful water usage, as the water seeps out at a rate the ground can absorb it. Place soaker hoses near dense foliage to keep your plants hydrated. You can even use them around an individual plant to give it the perfect amount of water. Attach soaker hoses to regular hoses to customize them for your garden.

A classic: traditional sprinklers

This is what most people think of when they imagine home irrigation. These systems feature sprinkler heads that automatically pop up and spray water over the yard. Typically, the owner can choose to rotate these devices in a full, half or quarter circle. When it comes to efficiency, traditional sprinklers put you at a disadvantage. They distribute water faster than the ground can absorb it. If you have a traditional system, space out the sprinkler heads in a way that allows water to shoot from one sprinkler to the next. Only use sprinklers from one manufacturer to ensure even water distribution.

For a slower release rate, try rotor systems

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Rotor sprinklers efficiently cover a lawn with just the right amount of water. Compared to traditional systems, rotor sprinklers allow for a more efficient distribution of water. A slower release rate allows the soil to absorb water without any problems. Rotor systems are now available for smaller yards, something that just wasn’t feasible in the past. Their radius can be customized to fit oddly shaped areas, so you’re in luck if you have an unconventional lawn.

Rain gardens, the definitive green irrigation system?

Rain gardens are non-invasive, are quickly becoming popular in developed communities and are environmentally friendly. Here’s a quick profile on this neighborhood green initiative.

  • They help with flood control and draining issues by moving large amounts of water away from flat surfaces and handle water the street sewers cannot take.
  • Rain gardens increase the amount of water available to neighborhoods. The water filters into the ground and is used to resupply local aquifers.
  • Lakes and rivers have become more polluted due to chemical and pesticide runoff that gets washed away with rainwater into the sewers and fresh water. Rain gardens divert a lot of this polluted water and keep our natural water sources clean.
  • Rain gardens are beautiful — wild grasses and wildflowers are much more pleasant to look at than garbage-riddled puddles.
  • They provide habitats for dragonflies, butterflies and birds. Rain gardens don’t attract swarms of mosquitoes because the water doesn’t stand long enough to make it a viable environment for them.

What exactly is a rain garden?

Rain gardens are planted depressions in the ground that collect rainwater instead of having it run into sewage drains or stand in urban environments. The garden is made up of plants and grasses native to the area. Rain gardens take the otherwise wasted water and bring it back to the earth.

Get the Most From Your Lawn

Hydrate your lawn this year — you might be surprised at how green your lawn can get! For more lawn care resources, check out our blog. Green Stuff Lawn also offers professional lawn care to ensure your Twin Cities area lawn is always green and healthy. Contact us for a quote.