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Choosing the Right Home Irrigation System for your Landscape

We know that plants need water to survive. The next question will be how often, how much and more importantly, how we will provide this much-needed water to the Utah shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials we have added to our garden and backyard. If you have a small enough garden, watering the plants manually (using a sprinkler or hose) may work. However, with our busy schedules and growing landscaped areas, watering manually may not be feasible.

The good news is that there are irrigation systems that can help do the watering for us. Home irrigation systems ensure that the plants get the right amount of water they need when they need it. The system also is more water-efficient since you are able to distribute the water more efficiently across the garden. When choosing which irrigation to use, you also need to take into consideration the types of plants in your Utah yard.

Here are some types of automatic irrigation systems:

Sprinkler System. The sprinkler system imitates the rain shower by dispensing water in uniform amounts throughout the area it is covering. This can come in the form of pop-up spray heads that are ideal for watering turf and other continuously rooting plants.

Drip irrigation. This distributes water in small amounts directly at the root system directly. The irrigation system is usually above ground. However, this does not work well for lawns but is best for watering deep-rooted plants such as shrubs and fruit trees.

Overhead landscape irrigation. This works like a sprinkler system but the water is delivered overhead.

Here are some factors you should consider:

Type of plants. This is where good landscape design comes in. A good Utah landscaper should be able to zone the plants so that a certain zone only has plants that have similar water needs. Some plants are more hardy and draught resistant and will only need occasional irrigation, with a little supplementation during hot summers or dry spells. Meanwhile, other plants are water-hungry and will need more frequent watering. Determine the amount of water needed by zone. This means you may have to use different types of irrigation systems to fulfill the water needs of the various parts of the landscape.

Lay of the land. Is the land level or are there sloped areas? Sloped areas need special attention since water tends to flow down even before the plants are properly watered. You may need to utilize drip irrigation as well as cycle and soak applications. For slopes, you may also need an on and off cycle that allows the system to distribute the water in shorter periods to give the plants more time to soak in the water and minimize run off. For instance, rather than letting the sprinkler run for 20 minutes, you can do it in increments of 5 minutes with timed breaks in between.

Water pressure. Before choosing the type of system, you should first know how much water is available. A specified irrigation system will have their own requirements as to the level of water pressure would best suit the system. This will minimize rapid wear and tear in the hoses and heads.

Future plans. When getting an automated irrigation system, build with future plans of expansion in mind. As you add more plants or increase the area of coverage of your landscape, you will also need to add to your irrigation system.

City and homeowner’s association requirements. Are there rules and regulations in your city and homeowner’s association that cover the installation and use of home irrigation systems? Do you need a permit to install underground tubes? Do you need to hire a licensed professional (such as a plumber) during the installation process? Consider these rules and regulations in deciding whether you will get an underground irrigation system.

The key to choosing the irrigation design that will fit your lawn is to determine how water is distributed in the amounts and frequency as necessary in order to ensure that all the plants thrive. A good irrigation system should be an intrinsic part of your landscape plan so that you don’t spend money on plants only to see them die because of a lack of water. You can also consult an experienced and qualified Salt Lake City landscaping company for your irrigation and other landscaping needs.