Easily keep your lawn and plants well-watered with sprinklers

Sprinklers - Sprinklers

Proper watering is the key to a lush, vibrant yard, and the right sprinklers can help you get the job done. This guide will help you explore the various models and uses so you can choose the best sprinkler system for your lawn.

Sprinkler Types

The size of your lawn and the area to be watered will play a large role in determining which sprinkler is best, as will how involved you want to be in the process. Stand-alone lawn sprinklers come in a variety of types.

  • Fixed, or stationary, sprinklers feature several different designs including rings and "salt shakers." They cast water in a single pattern over a fixed area.
  • Oscillating sprinklers have a long tube with numerous openings and move back and forth, emitting a fan-shaped waterfall.
  • Impact sprinklers, sometimes called impulse sprinklers, rotate in a circle and squirt out a single jet of water, making a distinctive clicking sound as they do.
  • Rotating sprinklers feature two or more arms and spin to disperse water in a complete circle.
  • Sprinkler hoses lie along the ground and squirt water from tiny holes to cover a long, rectangular area.
  • Traveling sprinklers often look like little tractors and move through your yard in a preset pattern, dragging the hose behind them.
  • In-ground sprinkler systems are installed into the lawn and pop up at a designated time, usually cycling their way through the yard to provide complete coverage.

Sprinkler Type Benefits Ideal Usage


  • Fast and precise watering
  • Water hard-to-reach areas
  • Economical
  • Multiple types
  • Small areas
  • Gardens
  • Landscaping


  • Wind-resistant
  • Adjustable pattern
  • Less likely to clog
  • Lower water pressure and flow rate
  • Large areas
  • Front lawns
  • Backyards


  • Automatic operation
  • Timers
  • Complete coverage
  • Can be programmed by zones
  • Front, back and sides of house
  • Landscaping
  • Gardens


  • Gentle watering
  • Even coverage
  • Rectangular or square pattern
  • Medium- and large-sized areas
  • Front and backyards
  • Newly seeded areas


  • May feature adjustable jets and bases
  • Even distribution
  • Work quickly
  • Medium-sized areas
  • Gardens
  • Front, back and sides of house

Sprinkler Hose

  • Low flow rate
  • Localized watering
  • Long strips of lawn
  • Gardens
  • Landscaping


  • Cover a wide area
  • Save time
  • Multiple patterns available
  • Look for automatic shutoff valve
  • Oddly shaped yards
  • Front, back and sides of house
  • Hilly, uneven areas

Watering Tips

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.
  • 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.
  • Intermittent watering over several hours provides thorough root penetration.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Sprinkler Features

Automatic timers, flow timers and automatic shutoff valves can help make operating your sprinkler system easy and effortless.

  • Automatic Timer: A common feature of in-ground sprinkler systems, automatic 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.
  • Automatic Shutoff Valve: A good feature to have in traveling sprinklers, these 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.