lawn sprinkler system

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I'm currently considering a lawn sprinkler system for my front (only) yard. I would have this installed through a lawn sprinkler company.
Since I've never had a lawn sprinkler system, I was wondering about the advantages/disadvantages of installing and using one.
Currently, I just use the regular type sprinklers (using hoses) to water my yard. I would expect that an underground sprinkler system would provide a better way of covering my yard.
Would a sprinkler system save me money and use less water? The quoted cost for installed system is well above $2K from a respected company.
I live in northern Texas.
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Use less water...? Probably not much unless you're currently over- watering the lawn.
A sprinkler system will take money out of your pocket, not put it in. Depending on your locale, you might be required to have a backflow device and yearly inspections, plus start up and shut down costs if you're in an area where temperatures drop below freezing in winter.
Sprinkler systems are a convenience item and save you time. Since time is money, it would free you up to go earn more money.
The big box stores have zoned timers that allow you to water multiple zones on a schedule from your existing sillcock. Google "Toro ECXTRA" for an example.
R
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trailer wrote:

Hi, You will save water.
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I would suspect that in most cases instead of saving water, you will use a lot MORE water. Relying on hose type sprinklers means there is usually work involved, ie rolling out the hose, placing the sprinklers, moving them, taking them away to mow, etc. Which I would suspect leads to the lawn not getting watered as much as if it's on a automatic set schedule with no effort.
First thing I'd do is calculate how much water you need and where it's coming from. It takes about an inch a week of water to irrigate an average lawn. More in high temps or with soil that dries out faster. If you are on muncipal water and have to pay for it, that can be a big factor and it may be cost justified to put in an irrigation well too.
If you do want a nice green lawn all season, then an inground system is definitely the way to go though.
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Don't water them? Them what? Since he has a lawn, the them would be turf grass. Certainly there are turf grasses that are more drought tolerant, but if he wants a green lawn, he's going to have to water.
Or are you suggesting he let his lawn grow up in native weeds and go uncut?

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On Tue, 14 Apr 2009 11:37:58 -0700 (PDT), Pat

My water company* paid $2.00 a sq ft, for me to remove the lawn turf. 11 tons of rock, capped sprinkler lines, weed cloth, photos, rules, inspections, etc. They sent me a check.
Plants and trees are on drip lines, timed schedules. We have a yearly calendar, and change from once or twice a week, up to every day in the summer months.
New construction homes cannot have turf lawns anymore. The option is artificial grass.
I never looked back after taking out most of my lawn.
http://www.snwa.com/html /
SNWA launches Water Smart Sprinkler Study The Water Authority tests emerging sprinkler technologies that use less water and improve the health of your lawn.
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Nevada is NOT Northern Texas. Your solution make perfect sense for Nevada but not so for everywhere.
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You don't need native grasses to do that. There are plenty of drought tolerant turf grasses available that are suited for lawns.

The turf won't have short roots if you water it properly, which is to do it deeply once or twice a week.
>If you cut back or

Yeah, but most people think it looks like hell when it goes dormant.

Apparently you do, because you told him to stop watering his, without regard to how much water is or isn't available.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Sure but one of his stated goals was to "use less water"

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yard.
my
cost
I can't say if you would use more or less water but in my experience you will probably end up with a better-looking lawn and save yourself some labor. I had the misfortune of inheriting two already-installed sprinkler systems on two different houses and both were poorly done. The ONLY pop-up type sprinklers that I was satisfied with were the Rain Bird pop-up impulse sprinklers. They can (depending upon the size of your lawn) be placed around the perimeter thus eliminating any sprinklers hidden in the grass which is especially nice if you play on the grass. Do all the pressure and flow testing that they suggest in the brochures from the sprinkler companies and calculate accordingly and use the 3/4" SCH 40 PVC pipe and 3/4" anti-siphon valves and resist the temptation to save money on cheap pipe or smaller valves. I don't remember which electronic timers I had but neither were a problem. I started out watering "x" number of minutes per day and "x" number of days per week and simply adjusted the watering time according to how the grass was doing.
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How much water you use is up to you and how you program the schedule. I suggest you also get the rain sensor installed, this way the sprinkler will not run if it is raining outside. I think you can even get ground moisture sensors now to prevent the schedule from running if the ground already has enough moisture. Being in TX you wont have to get it blown out every year for freezing so your seasonal maintenance will probably be zero. It is a helluva lot easier than hoses. The time and effort the sprinkler system has saved me is worth more than the water, but then again I live in Great Lakes area where water is pretty cheap and in some towns still free. Time is money and dragging hoses is not something I like to do on weekends.
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trailer wrote:

I think the main advantage is convenience. You install it with a controller, set up the timer, and forget about it. As opposed to dragging the hose and sprinkler around, and turning it on and off. Also helps if you're on an extended vacation - you won't come back to a brown lawn.
They are not that difficult to install yourself. The Toro and Rainbird websites have a lot of good information for the DIY'er. You can save yourself a lot of digging by renting a trencher for half a day. Gluing the pipes together is not something that requires a lot of skill. I did my back yard - twice. Once before having a pool built, and again after the pool construction tore everything up.
Jerry
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something else to consider to save money (if you have combined water and sewer bills) is to have a 2nd water meter installed only on the sprinkler system. That way you won't be paying the sewer portion of the 2nd bill since you won't be using it. Of course, you'll have to check with your utility company to be sure they offer that as a possibility.
jc
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Also check see if need. Our utility takes a %age (I think half but I don't remember for sure) off of the bill to reflect that part of the water that doesn't go into the sewer during the summer (may to October IIRC).
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trailer wrote:

No, it won't save you money or - probably - water. It *will* save work since you can set watering at the desired frequencies and it will be done without further intervention by you. It might save water depending on how much andoften you now hand water.
--

dadiOH
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Or how often you get busy and forget to turn off, move the sprinkler. This was the big savings for me....
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trailer wrote:

I would not do it any other way. Coverage is uniform and and only where you want it. No hoses to drag around. Nothing to do but check it once in a while. Easy to maintain. With proper mowing (not too short, esp. in hot, dry weather) you might save money. If you have spare cash, you can even install a tank for liquid fertilizer and fertilize through the irrigation system. I checked those out for our condo - don't recall the cost, but it wasn't horribly expensive. If lawn care is your favorite sport, then keep the hose.
Don't run mower over sprinkler heads and you won't have a lot of repairs. If doing repairs, be sure to keep soil out of the line so you don't clog up heads. If you need to make repairs and you have fire ants, spread a little Amdro around the nests couple of days before working....BTDT.
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Whether you will save depends on how you currently water, how your sprinkler system is designed and used, and the cost of water.
One advantage is that it can be designed to not water certain areas, like paved driveways and sidewalks. You could do that yourself, but I think most people don't have appropriate sprinklers to do it, so they waste water.
I think the biggest savings is that you can set it to water at a time of day when you won't lose much to evaporation. Before I had my system installed, I usually watered once a week (absent rain), rather heavily, and during a time I was up, so I lost a lot to evaporation. With my system installed, I water twice a week (again, absent rain), but for a shorter time, and before the sun comes up, so the water soaks down to the roots, rather then being evaporated off the leaves.
In addition to saving my time, the system waters when I'm out of town, so I don't come home to near-dead grass. And if you have a garden, a sprinkler system will keep it happy and improve your harvest.
Incidentally, a well designed system will have an automatic drain, so it doesn't have to be blown out and serviced before winter hits. Of course, a lot of installers don't bring that up, as they make easy money with their fall servicing.
My water utility has a program if you register your sprinkler system where they reduce the sewerage charge during the sprinkling season to what you pay in the non-sprinkling season. I think that is becoming more common, but you might check, as that could affect your operating costs.
Its a costly project, and not suitable for everyone, but I'm very happy that I had it put in. One suggestion, if you have it done, ask them to put in a few extra valves on the manifold. It doesn't cost much, and it makes it easy to add new zones if you find the need. I added a drip watering zone for my flower beds; it was easy since the valve was already there.
trailer wrote:

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On Tue 14 Apr 2009 06:32:41a, trailer told us...

It's a good thing, no matter how simple or elaborate the system. When we lived in NE Ohio we had a full yard system installed that included various types of sprinkler heads for all the turf, specialized heads for shrubbery, and drip irrigation for certain types of plants. The system was fully automated, including a moisture sensor to determine whether whater was needed, a rain sensor to prevent the system from firing up during rain, and a 2nd separate water meter to avoid paying sewage charges for the water used outside the house. As elaborate as this system was, it still saved us money as well as providing the perfect watering solutioin for everything. We actually usued a lot less water.
You can make it as simple as you want, watering only your grass, and operated on a schedule by a timer. The company that installs it will know how to layout the sprinkler heads for best efficiency and savings.
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Wayne Boatwright
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I also live in northern Texas and I wouldn't be without my sprinkler system. A well designed system will not only use less water than your water hose sprinkler, it will give you a consistant watering that is in line with the needs of your yard and plants. In addition, you can ensure that your watering will be done at the optimum time of day to keep it from being evaporated by the sun before it can soak in.
I moved into my current hose about three years ago and the sprinkler system was in total disrepair and I was forced to use the hose system for a couple of years. Finally, last summer, I took off a week from work and dug up the yard to locate all the valves and replace them along with about 50% of the lines. This was only after watching several hundred dollars worth of new shrubs die because I couldn't get the water to them. Since I repaired the system, the landscaping is now doing great as is the yard.
SO, YES it is worth it.
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