Some people don’t give much thought to which sprinkler they purchase — which is rather unfortunate considering it plays a key role in your landscaping and water usage. Then, there are others who really want to buy the right one — but who knows which variety that is? Do you need an oscillating one? And what is a hose drip? If you are like many others, you may have set out to buy a sprinkler and came home empty-handed, full of confusion and with a lot of questions.
Importance of a Good Sprinkler
While it can be tempting to simply buy whichever sprinkler is on sale, there are qualities you should be looking for. The sprinkler you choose should get the job done without being wasteful. You don’t need a sprinkler that has a mind of its own and starts watering the sidewalk after a few minutes of vibration. All this is doing is running up your utility bill and wasting valuable resources.
A good quality sprinkler will generally have a metal filter where the unit connects to the hose to reduce the risk of clogging. Additionally, it will often be made of brass or zinc for longevity so you’re not replacing it after one season. When possible, choose one with minimal moving parts; the fewer things there are to break, the better!
Understanding Types of Sprinklers
These types of sprinklers are really designed with the environment in mind. The hoses have tiny holes in them that allow water to seep into soil, directly to the roots, so less water is lost to evaporation and is the best way to water a garden. Ideally, a sprinkler soaker-hose will not be larger than 100 feet and you want to keep it as level as possible. If you have a lot of hills in your landscaping this may not be the best option for those areas.
Most people are familiar with this variety and it is a preferred choice by many gardeners because they’re readily available, budget-friendly and cover a broad area. Oscillating sprinklers spray water in a fan shape to cover a large rectangular area, often as big as 30 feet. You attach the hose to the connector, adjust the spray pattern and it’s ready to use.
If you have a lot of ground to water and you currently have to go outside to move your sprinkler every hour, traveling sprayers may be just what you need. They don’t use gasoline or electricity but they do move around your yard all by themselves. Water from your hose has a lot of force behind it which powers gears that move the wheels and allow these sprinklers to travel.
It can be tempting to just allow the water to run from the house when watering tree roots and shrubs but this can result in divots. A hose bubbler avoids causing erosion while allowing water to soak into the ground. They’re also ideal for delicate plants and hanging baskets.
This is an ideal option for gardens as it slowly applies water to the roots of the plants where it’s needed. This encourages deeper root formation, saves water by reducing runoff and evaporation and maintains moisture levels. A hose drip can be used not only in your garden but also in greenhouses with baskets and pots, agriculture for orchards and crops, commercial landscape and nurseries.
These devices disperse liquid in a variety of different ways. Some will have one or two settings while others can have as many as a dozen. A nozzle sprayer simply attaches to your hose and you physically water your plants as needed. They cost as little as a few dollars up to well over $100 depending on the quality you’re looking for. More costly ones will often have a trigger lock which is helpful for continuous spraying.
Some gardeners set their lawn irrigation system to include watering flower beds and gardens. This can be a great idea especially when the watering timer is set to the early morning. Keep in mind not to pick a garden shortly after being watered as it can spread disease.
Also, keep in mind it is healthier to vegetable plants to be watered at soil level. Check into Drip Irrigation Systems to water a garden. These can be installed under the mulch or just below soil level to water the roots of the plants.
Not many people really think twice about a sprinkler until it comes time to buy one. Although there are a lot of questions that may arise and options to explore, taking your needs, landscape and climate into consideration will help you make your buying decision.
Want to learn more about sprinklers for gardens and flower beds?
Check out these resources:
Landscape Irrigation Equipment from Clemson University
Operating and Maintaining a Home Irrigation System from Colorado State University