Yard irrigation can be broken down into two different types of systems: sprinklers and drip systems. Within these two major divisions are subdivisions for automatic and manual systems. Both systems can provide an adequate watering of the lawn, but drip systems are often used more for plants and bushes than grass. Improvements in technology have made both methods available for most yards.
One popular style for yard irrigation is the underground, pop-up system. The pop-up system houses the sprinkler head below ground until it is ready to be used. Often, these systems are automatic, and the sprinklers are set on a timer to pop up at certain times when it is most convenient or advantageous, which is typically early in the morning or during the night. The system may be programmed to water certain portions of the lawn at different times, especially if it is meant to cover a larger area.
Another common style for yard irrigation is the above-ground system. The sprinklers may produce a constant flow in a circular, or semi-circular pattern, or it may rotate using the water pressure. The sprinklers may also be fixed to a certain location or attached to a portable hose. Attaching the sprinkler to a hose offers some flexibility so that the owner can put the water where it is needed most. It is also generally one of the cheaper types of yard irrigation.
A drip system is a relatively new type of yard irrigation, with many homeowners only recently seeing the benefits of the system on residential lawns. The system works very simply by providing a line that runs along, or just under the ground. The line has outlets along it at certain distances. These outlets, also known as emitters, may be just as simple as little slits or may be special attachments that can better regulate the flow of water.
The similarity between drip systems and sprinkler systems for yard irrigation include the ability for them to be operated manually or automatically. Both systems can be programmed to take advantage of the best times of the day or the times when local regulations allow them to be on. Whether it is a drip or sprinkler system, all local laws regarding watering must be followed. Drip systems may be more effective and less noticeable, but still reduce the overall amount of water available to a community.
Drip systems have some advantages and disadvantages when compared to more traditional sprinkler systems. Advantages include the ability to get the water where it is needed with minimal loss due to evaporation, and they have fewer parts to replace in the event something goes bad. Disadvantages include the installation costs, and the difficulty in working around trees and other objects underground.