Your lawn is the center of your horticultural universe. It is the be-all and the end-all of your garden, it’s the first thing that you see when you gaze out of the window and the emerald jewel that captures the imagination of anyone who catches a glimpse of it in passing.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that it always looks like a million dollars, and why you’ll need to invest in the future of your lawn if you want to woo, bedevil, and dazzle your family, friends, and neighbors with it.
And the easiest way to make sure that your lawn wins the hearts and minds of anyone who sees it without spending twenty-three hours a day, seven days a week tending to it, is with an irrigation system that will do the heavy lifting and hard work for you.
Designed to deliver the water that your lawn needs efficiently and effectively, irrigation systems can keep your lawn watered and cared for, reduce the amount of money that you spend on lawn care and free up more of the time that you would have spent looking after your garden, so that you can do all of the things that you’ve been promising your family, and yourself that you’d do if there were only a few more hours in the day.
The Lawn Irrigation Playbook
Before you go blindly charging into the idea of an irrigation system, it’s better to take a deep breath, relax and consider the implications for you, your family, your garden, and, most importantly, your bank balance.
Before you sign in the dotted line and push the all-irrigation-systems-go button, there’s a crucial triumvirate (cost, size, and location) of factors that you should carefully consider first, and unless you can successfully tick all the boxes or logically and financially justify installing an irrigation system, it might be wiser and more economically prudent to put a hold on your plans until the future is a little more clear cut.
An underground irrigation system can and will run you anywhere between two and ten thousand dollars depending on the size of your garden and your lawn, and what you actually want it for.
Is it just for your lawn? Is it for the whole garden? Can you easily afford what it will cost to install the system? Or can you use a more conventional sprinkler system to water your lawn?
As we’ve already stated, with an irrigation system in place it will do almost everything for you, but do your lawn and garden necessitate the use of one?
It’s a big financial undertaking and it’s probably something that you should talk about with your family before you make any sort of rash decision.
If you were all forced to choose between a vacation and an irrigation system, which way would the horticultural cookie crumble? Would you rather spend more time with your family at home or enjoy a break that you could all benefit from?
Size And Location Matters
There is absolutely no way to get around the fact that size, at least as far as irrigation systems are concerned, really does matter. The bigger your garden is, the more it’s going to cost to install and run an irrigation system, but the easier it will make your life in the long run.
After all, trying to water a garden that’s nearly an acre in size is going to be a lot easier to do with an irrigation system in place than it would be with a hosepipe and a seemingly endless array of extensions.
But if you have a relatively small lawn, the hose might be a much more affordable solution to your irrigation problem.
The other factor that you need to consider is your location.
If you live in a desert state like Arizona or New Mexico, it’s going to be infinitely more expensive to run an irrigation system than it would be if you lived in Pennsylvania or Washington where the climate isn’t as harsh, there’s more rainfall and any irrigation system you might choose won’t have to work overtime to keep your lawn and garden watered.
Maybe you live in California, where you’ll need to keep your lawn watered to make sure that the year-round sunshine and low rainfall don’t conspire to turn the green, green grass of your home brown.
Then again, if you live in Florida, you might not even need an irrigation system to keep your lawn watered, as the near-daily rainfall might not make it necessary.
The location of your lawn, and its size, along with what it might potentially cost to install an irrigation system are all crucial factors that you’ll need to carefully weigh up before you make any sort of final decision.
The Irrigation System Crunch
Once you’ve weighed up, and taken into account the trio of factors that should precede any decision that you’ll make about whether or not to install an irrigation system, if your family and bank balance, have all given you the green thumbs-up, the next thing that you’ll need to think about is the type of irrigation system that you want to install.
Generally speaking, unless you’re planning to use your garden for agricultural purposes, you don’t really need to consider using a furrow-based gravity feed system, as it won’t be any more effective than the three systems that we’re about to outline and talk about.
If you’re only looking for a means to irrigate your lawn and garden, it’s safer and easier to go with a system that you know you can trust and should be easy to work with and install.
And before we forget, you’re right, the cost is important, and that’s why we’ve included it in the description of all three irrigation systems as it should help you to single one out and point you in the direction of the irrigation system that’s next suited to your budget, where you live and the size of your lawn and garden.
Rotary Sprinkler Systems
The closest irrigation system to the more conventional sprinkles, a rotary sprinkler system is designed to spray water as and when it’s needed to the area of your lawn within their targeted range, which minimizes wastage and helps to ensure that the water that the system is dispersing, and that you’re paying for only goes where’s it’s needed when it’s wanted.
It’s a system that’s designed to help you control how much water is used, and where and when it needs to be used.
Cost: Depending on the size of your lawn and garden, a rotary sprinkler system can cost anywhere between four hundred dollars for a third of an acre, and fifteen hundred dollars per acre of land that it’s being used to irrigate.
Micro Spray Systems
Don’t be confused by horticultural terminology that might try to point you in the direction of drip feed irrigation, as micro-spray systems and the aforementioned drip feed systems are essentially the same things.
It’s a slow-release irrigation system that’s been purposely designed to make sure that water isn’t wasted on surface spray and actually goes where it will do the most good, directly to the root systems of any plants, or the lawn that you’re using it to irrigate.
Cost: As it uses less water, and is designed to work more efficiently and effectively than conventional sprinkler systems, a micro-spray system (depending on the system that you choose to install), should cost between eight hundred and twelve hundred dollars per acre of land.
Obviously, the costs for less than an acre of land will depend on the size of the lawn or garden that needs to be irrigated and can cost anywhere between two hundred and fifty and seven hundred and fifty dollars.
The most commonly used irrigation system that retains its popularity despite the fact that it’s also the most costly, has proven its irrigation mettle time and time again.
A favored irrigation system that uses a number of spray heads to do exactly what it is supposed to, spray water over a large area of a lawn, the surface sprinkler system always seems to work best when it’s meticulously planned and for the aforementioned spray heads are precisely located.
It needs a trained eye and a well-thought-out plan if it’s going to be used correctly, and probably isn’t the sort of system that an amateur should be left to their own devices to install.
But if it’s installed correctly, it can and will produce stunning and noticeable results in a relatively short amount of time.
Costs: Don’t say we didn’t warn you, we did. A surface irrigation system can cost between five and seven and half thousand dollars per acre to install and operate and for plots and gardens smaller than that, you should allow anywhere between two and four thousand dollars to install and run a surface irrigation system.
Irrigation System Installation – Calling In The Professionals Versus Doing It Yourself
Once you’ve chosen the irrigation system that you feel best suits both your garden and your bank balance before you buy and install it, you’ll be faced with one of two choices.
Do you employ a professional to do it for you, or do you attempt to design and install your own irrigation system?
In order to make the decision a little easier to make, we’ll outline the benefits and drawbacks of both so that you can weigh them up before coming to a final decision
Any professional will not only help you to design and create an irrigation system that’s tailor-made for your lawn or garden, but they’ll also be able to install it quickly and efficiently and won’t be phased by any potential problems that they’ll encounter along the way.
They’ll also have the necessary experience to handle large irrigation systems, and won’t be put off by the size of the job, and you’ll have the added peace of mind and benefit of knowing that their work is guaranteed, and if anything should, or does go wrong with the irrigation system, they will repair or replace it.
However, there is the question of costs, which will rise significantly if you use a professional to install an irrigation system for you.
It will be infinitely easier to entrust the system to a professional and you won’t have to break your back digging up your garden to install it, but the labor costs for the installation could be almost as expensive as the system itself is.
Doing It Yourself
Irrigation systems are, for the most part, relatively straightforward, if not exactly easy to install.
The benefits of installing one yourself include being able to custom design your own system and work to your plan, saving the cost of any labor and additional costs that a professional might accrue while installing said system, and being able to work according to your own time frame and time scale.
We would, however, recommend that before you attempt to install your own irrigation system, that you spend a couple of days watching as many of the hundreds of tutorial videos on YouTube as you possibly can. A little knowledge goes a long way, and the more you know, the easier it will be to install your chosen irrigation system.
There are, however, a number of things that you might want to think about before deciding to do the job yourself. If the system is going to cover an acre or more of land, it will be exhausting and back-breaking work and if you’re not used to the rigors of manual labor, you could end up doing yourself more harm than good.
And then there’s the complexity of an irrigation system, and making sure that you know what piece of the system to connect to which other pieces, and how to make it work efficiently and properly.
Most importantly though, your planning, labor, and installation doesn’t come with any guarantees and if anything does go wrong (which it quite easily could), you won’t have any warranty to fall back on. You will, as a much wiser gardener than us once said, be entirely on your own.
The Final Word On Irrigation System Installation
Far be it from us to try and persuade you one way or another, but if we were thinking about installing an irrigation system in our garden or were hoping to use one to make our lawn shine, we’d be the last people that we would trust to do it properly.
We’d be too scared of making a mistake or running out of steam, halfway through the job to do it the way it should be done.
Trust us, if you’re going to spend the kind of money that a good irrigation system will cost, you may as well push the boat out a little bit further and pay a professional to do it for you.
At the end of the day, when the sprinklers start working and you can stand back and admire your new lawn, you’ll be glad that you bit the bullet and paid somebody to do it for you.