What are the Different Methods for Lawn Irrigation?

Jeri Sullivan

Lawn irrigation is the process of applying water to lawns and is required to keep roots healthy and lawns lush and green. There are several methods of irrigation that can be applied to both lawns or gardens, and the best method used is based on the type of material and climate. Irrigation is especially important in dry regions because there is not enough rainfall to keep the lawn alive. In addition to the climate, the type of soil can also affect how quickly water is absorbed. For example, if the soil is mostly clay, the water does not drain as quickly as it does if the soil is sandy.

An automatic sprinkler.
An automatic sprinkler.

Drip irrigation is a lawn irrigation method that provides small amounts of water continuously so the lawn never completely dries out. The water drips through an irrigation product called a soaker hose, which is basically a rubber water hose with tiny holes or perforations throughout its length. This method also conserves water because it does not broadcast large amounts of water over the top of the plants or lawn but instead waters at ground level so the water gets quickly to the roots. This allows the roots to grow deep because they are not constantly searching for water. Since water is delivered via a hose, this is typically used for garden irrigation instead of lawn irrigation, as having hoses over a large expanse of lawn is unsightly and impractical.

Sprinkler irrigation is another category of lawn irrigation. Lawn sprinklers are a method often used in residential irrigation systems because it is simple and economical. The only irrigation supplies needed are a sprinkler and a timer, which can allow a large lawn area to be reached with one sprinkler. Though the general method is the same, there are several types of sprinkler heads available for lawn irrigation.

Rotary sprinklers work by streaming water in full circle using a spinning sprinkler head. By spacing rotary sprinklers several feet apart, the entire lawn area can be watered at the same time. Fixed spray sprinklers work by spraying water in one direction in a fan shape. Placing several fixed spray sprinklers so there is only a slight overlap of the water from one sprinkler head to another will also allow the whole lawn to be watered simultaneously.

Although a more expensive option, underground irrigation systems can be very effective. Pop-up sprinkler heads are mounted below the ground with a spring loaded sprinkler head that pops up when it is time to water. The head pops down when the timer shuts off.

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