Things to Consider
When looking for the best sprinklers for your lawn and garden, there are few things to keep in mind.
- Soil type: The type of soil you have will dictate how frequently you need to water. If you're unsure of when to water, look for changes in grass and plants as slow or arrested growth and browning will give you an indication that more moisture is needed. Allow soil to dry between waterings. Sandy soil needs short, frequent periods of water. Clay soil requires less watering than sandy soil. Loam soil holds water longer than sandy soil but not as long as clay.
- Size of the area: The best sprinkler for your lawn will be one that waters the entire area. Lawns that are 5,000 sq. ft. or smaller can use a fixed sprinkler while a larger lawn will need a rotating or oscillating sprinkler to cover the area.
- Shape of the area: Different sprinklers work best with different shaped lawns.
- Water usage: Sprinkler system water usage will vary by type and model. If you live in a city or county with strict watering rules, look for a system that uses less water.
- Connection: Look for a sprinkler with a strong metal connection. This will prevent leaks, clogs and increase durability.
- Budget: Consider how much you are willing to invest in the sprinkler system. Some yards will be just fine with a budget-friendly sprinkler while others may require a more complicated, costly system.
The size of your yard and the area to be watered will play a large role in finding the best lawn sprinklers and best sprinkler heads for you, as will how involved you want to be in the process. There are a variety of lawn sprinkler types available. Let's take a look at the features and benefits of each.
- Fixed, or stationary, sprinklers: Available in several different designs including rings and "salt shakers." Stationary sprinklers cast water in a single pattern over a fixed area. Fast and precise watering, water hard-to-reach areas, economical, multiple types. Recommended for small areas, these are one of the best garden sprinklers; perfect for landscaping and flower beds.
- Oscillating sprinklers: Feature a long tube with numerous openings and move back and forth, emitting a fan-shaped waterfall. This type of lawn sprinkler offers gentle watering, even coverage, following a rectangular or square pattern. Recommended for medium and large-sized areas, front and backyards or newly seeded areas.
- Impact sprinklers, sometimes called impulse or pulsating sprinklers: These rotate in a circle and squirt out a single jet of water, making a distinctive clicking sound as they do. This lawn sprinkler type is wind-resistant and features an adjustable pattern. It's less likely to clog and lower water pressure and flow rate. Recommended for large areas, making it one of the best sprinklers for front lawns and backyards.
- Rotating sprinklers: Feature two or more arms and spin to disperse water in a complete circle. Some models may feature adjustable jets and bases. Rotating sprinklers are the best type of sprinkler for a large lawn due to their even distribution and ability to work quickly. Best lawn sprinklers for kids to use. Recommended for medium-sized to large lawns and ideal sprinklers for kids playing in the yard.
- In-ground sprinkler systems: Installed in the lawn and connected to your main water supply. Sprinkler heads are set up in exact spots and pop up at a designated time, usually cycling their way through the yard to provide complete coverage. In-ground sprinkler systems offer automatic operation, timers and can be programmed by zones for complete coverage. Recommended for front, back and sides of the house as well as for landscaping and gardens.
- Sprinkler hoses lie along the ground and squirt water from tiny holes to cover a long, rectangular area. Features low flow rate and localized watering. Recommended for long strips of lawn, gardens and landscaping.
- Traveling sprinklers often look like little tractors and move through your yard in a preset pattern, dragging the hose behind them. Traveling sprinklers cover a wide area and typically feature an automatic shutoff valve, saving time and energy while watering. Multiple patterns are available. Recommened for oddly shaped yards; front, back and sides of house; hilly, uneven areas.
Automatic timers, flow timers and automatic shutoff valves can help make operating your sprinkler system easy and effortless.
- Automatic timer: Common feature of in-ground sprinkler systems, automatic or smart sprinkler timers allow you to choose when you want sprinklers to go on or off, so you can start watering early in the morning without having to crawl out of bed to turn them on.
- Flow timer: Sprinklers with this feature monitor the amount of water they emit and let you calibrate it to a specific setting. This will allow you to customize the amount of water you're using to ensure thorough soaking on different parts of your lawn. These are typically found in above-ground sprinkler systems.
- Automatic shutoff valve: A good feature to have in traveling sprinklers, these sprinkler valves automatically cut off the water supply once the sprinkler has completed its pattern to ensure that water is not wasted and your lawn doesn't get waterlogged.
While your lawn's health is important, water conservation is also a key component of finding the best lawn sprinklers for your needs.
Different plants and areas of your lawn need different amounts of water to thrive. Irrigation systems can also run to a set number of zones. Zones are used to distribute water more evenly and precisely, according to how much water is needed in certain areas. Choose an irrigation system that can control the number of zones in your lawn.
An irrigation system is made up of many components:
- Sprinkler tubing, also known as a sprinkler pipe, makes it easy to install or repair your irrigation system.
- Sprinkler valves can be used in locations where the use of a pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) or a double-check valve is required by code to protect against backflow. They can also flush your irrigation system of dirt and debris.
- A backflow preventer can help prevent irrigation water from re-entering your main water supply. These are often required by city codes to prevent contamination when the water is shut off and routed back into the main water system.
- Sprinkler manifolds are used to control the waterflow for multiple sprinkler lines.
- A sprinkler valve box is designed to cover and protect your irrigation fixtures like valves and manifolds.
Other features mentioned above, such as shutoff valves and automatic timers, can also help in conservation efforts.
Thorough watering is essential for lush outdoor greenery, but be careful to avoid overwatering or watering with the wrong frequency for your soil type.
- Use sprinklers more frequently on hot summer days. Because grass is composed primarily of water, it is particularly vulnerable in high-heat, low-water conditions.
- Intermittent watering over several hours provides thorough root penetration.
- Water your lawn early in the morning so water doesn't evaporate as quickly as it does during the hotter parts of the day, and to give grass sufficient time to dry before nightfall. Constant wetness can lead to disease and insect infestation.
- Adjust for seasons: As weather changes and seasons shift, your lawn will have different needs. Be sure to set up your sprinkler system to align with seasons for the best results.
One of the biggest components for a healthy lawn and garden is finding the right sprinkler. With just a bit of research, you can set up a sprinkler or sprinkler system to keep your lawn green and your garden thriving. Need help identifying the right sprinkler? Find products fast with image search in The Home Depot Mobile App. Snap a picture of an item you like and we'll show you similar products.