Pop-up Lawn Sprinkler
For years, underground sprinkler systems were the last word in irrigation. In recent decades, however, an alternative has emerged—drip irrigation, which uses above-ground tubing. Each has its advantages.
The two types of systems are not mutually exclusive, and you can use both in one garden. You can also convert all or a portion of an existing sprinkler system to drip irrigation. For more about drip irrigation, see Buying Drip Irrigation Systems.
Whichever system you use, plants with similar watering needs will ideally be grouped together so they can be served by separate irrigation circuits, allowing you to tailor the delivery of water to meet the plants’ requirements.
If you live in an area with heavy summer rainfall, however, an installed system may be overkill. If you have just a few plantings to water during dry spells, you can automate a portable sprinkler or soaker hose by connecting it to a hose bibb with a control valve and manual timer.
An underground sprinkler system is best suited for watering large, thirsty expanses of lawn or ground cover. You can also use sprinklers to irrigate flower or vegetable beds, as long as you have a multicircuit system to water areas separately. (You’ll also need to place the heads where the spray will not be blocked by the plants as they grow.)
A sprinkler system is almost invisible, with most of the sprinkler heads flush with the ground when they’re not in use. This makes it an attractive system and also low-maintenance, since buried parts are less likely to sustain damage.
Although sprinkler systems once had a reputation as water wasters, newer sprinkler heads apply water much more precisely. Once installed, a sprinkler system is a joy. But it must be planned carefully. Sprinkler systems need adequate water pressure and flow rates. And installing one requires digging trenches throughout your landscape.