Now that you’ve learned how to analyze your yard in terms of the location of trees, slopes, shade, grass, flowers, and more in Part 1 of this blog, you can begin to understand which sprinkler heads are best for you and how to lay out your yard for maximum coverage.

Selecting and Plotting Your Sprinkler Heads

Outfitting your zones with the right sprinkler heads requires precise technical measurements, like the dynamic water pressure and maximum available gallons per minute of your home’s water supply. You can take rough measurements of both these values using a pressure gauge and a five-gallon bucket, but your sprinkler system would probably benefit from a professional level of precision. An irrigation specialist knows how to measure water pressure and gallons per minute very accurately and can even account for changes in elevation as well as friction within your irrigation pipes.

Luckily, most types of sprinkler heads (not including drip irrigation lines, of course) should be laid out in similar formations. Sprinkler heads capable of delivering wide coverage will spray water in 360-, 180-, and 90-degree patterns—circles, half-circles, and quarter-circles—so, regardless of which kind you select, you’ll use the same principles to space them correctly throughout your zones. For additional information on selecting sprinkler heads, read the EBSCO Research Blog’s overview of sprinkler system installation. Once you’ve chosen your hardware, keep the following advice in mind as you lay out your zones:

Provide Head-to-Head Coverage to prevent dry spots. Because sprinkler heads distribute water in circular shapes rather than perfectly interlocking rectangles, plotting them so that the edge of each spray radius barely grazes the others will leave patches of your yard without water. As an illustration, arrange three pennies in a tight triangle formation—if each penny represents an area sprayed by a sprinkler head, the empty spot at the center of the triangle would be an area of your lawn where none of the sprays reach. To prevent these unwatered patches, make sure that the spray radius of each sprinkler overlaps significantly, reaching or nearly reaching the adjacent sprinkler head. This is known as head-to-head coverage.

Plot Sprinkler Heads in Rectangular or Triangular Patterns to deliver water most efficiently—that is, to achieve the most overlap with the least amount of water. Also use rectangular or triangular layouts strategically for some of the shapes and sizes of zones you may need to cover. For example, rectangular patterns of sprinkler heads suit small- and medium-sized areas as well as corners and long, straight perimeters. Triangular patterns are very efficient in large, open zones, and they can also provide economical coverage for irregularly shaped borders.

As long as grass, flowers, trees, and shrubs contrast in their irrigation needs, sprinkler zones will remain crucial to watering a lawn effectively and efficiently. Installing sprinkler system zones does require a good deal of planning—you’ll have to thoughtfully divide up your yard and precisely space your sprinkler heads. Now that you know the basics of zoning, use Best Pick Reports to find a contractor who can help you with the more technical aspects. Soon, your landscape will flourish under the individualized attention, and you can sit back and simply enjoy your lovely yard.