A full irrigation system is the ultimate in convenience for most homeowners. Not only will this provide you with automatic sprinklers for your lawn, but you will also have drip lines installed to service your garden beds. This means you can ensure your entire landscape receives the water it needs at the push of a button. The following are a few features you should consider adding to your system.
Instead of a single master valve that controls every irrigation emitter, consider having zone station valves added between the master shut-off and each zone. These will allow you to completely turn off certain zones in the event of a leak, without shutting down the flow to the whole system. At a minimum, you should have the drip system and the lawn sprinklers on separate valves.
This an almost necessary feature in colder climates where freezing can occur during the winter months. An automatic drain means any moisture that gets into the line once this system is shut down for the season can still drain out, with no help from you, so that moisture isn't trapped inside the line. This prevents damage to the lines in the event of a freeze. This feature isn't necessary in warmer climates where freezes are rare.
As a general rule, rotating heads are preferable to fan heads, or "misters." This is because a rotating head can be set to cover a more specific area, where fan heads can only be set to cover in quarter-circle increments. This means you can cover the oddest shape of lawn with minimal overspray onto paved areas. The only exception is if you have low water pressure, since too low of pressure will prevent rotating heads from moving.
Swing joints are special attachments between the sprinkler head and the pipe feeding it that ensure that the sprinkler always moves downward when the water is not coursing through. These are especially important to use along driveways or areas with heavy foot or possible vehicle traffic, because it helps push sprinkler heads down out of harm's way so you don't have to replace a broken emitter or damaged pipe.
Personalized drip zones
Being able to add or remove drip lines from a central connection point can be helpful, especially if you want to add irrigation to a vegetable garden or annual flower bed. An above ground connection point is located near the beds in question. You can then plug in drip lines and arrange them over the bed each year in the way desired. Then you simply add the operational ports from the connection point to your automatic sprinkler control panel to add them into the watering rotation.
Contact an irrigation or sprinkler installation contractor for more help. For more information, contact a business such as Hydrotech Irrigation Co.