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Is an irrigation system right for you? (what you need to know)

Irrigation systems are a popular addition to landscapes to help keep them looking their best and to save the home owner time and energy on repetitive yard work in the form of frequent watering’s. But what are all the factors a home owner should take into consideration before making the decision to install a system. Here I will lay out the pros and the cons that come with installing a system to help homeowners make the best decision for them with this potential home improvement option.

The benefits

Freed up time

Hand watering or using a manual lawn sprinkler on your lawn and gardens can take a significant amount of time for home owners if they are putting the effort in keeping their yard pristine. It will take several watering’s a week to keep your lawn and plants at there best. On top of the time spent doing this if you are using a manual lawn sprinkler you will have to remember to move it to a new location every 20 minutes or so and remember to turn it off. If you have a large lawn this can be very frustrating and require you to be at home for a significant duration of the evening to move the hose. An Irrigation system will save you all the time and effort you put into watering your lawn and allow people to relax and focus on family when they get home.

Correct watering

This can be one of the main benefits of having an irrigation system. They can make sure each different area of you yard gets the correct amount of water and at the correct time. Your lawn your gardens and your flower pots all need a different amount of water. Too much water and to little water can both be harmful to the health of your lawn and gardens. Another consideration for an irrigation system is correct watering timing. The best time to water your plants is in the morning which is when most people are rushing to work. Evening watering’s, especially if you over water can cause root rot. The soil will stay moist throughout the night and if this is repeated regularly will eventually rot the roots of your plants. Also watering in the afternoon on very sunny days can burn your plants. The water droplets on your plants will act as small magnifying glasses allowing the sunlight to burn the leaves of plants and blades of grasses. An Irrigation system will always water your plants at the correct time of day.

Water savings

This is an obvious benefit of an irrigation system with the system set to only use the correct amount of water per area there will be a minimum amount of waste. Another benefit is that the water from an irrigation system will follow a low ark in comparison to most manual sprinklers which ark 180 degrees vertically. When the manual sprinkler follows this pattern a significant portion of the water used is lost in the atmosphere.

Disadvantages to an irrigation system


The first disadvantage to an irrigation system is cost. For your average property a system will cost about 2000-3000 dollars. This is a large upfront cost some would think is too high for the slightly lower water bill each month. This is true you will get a low return on your investment if you look at it from this perspective, it will take several years of lower bills to recoup the initial cost of purchasing a system. However, something Homeowners should be considering also with their purchase decision is how much they believe their free time and effort is worth. If you have to remember to water your grass and gardens and spend 30 minutes or more a week on watering perhaps it won’t take as long as you think it would to pay for your system.

Repairs and maintenance

Just like anything else your system won’t stay new forever. It will have issues that come up over time and being exposed to the elements means it will most likely happen more regularly than other home improvements. Most companies that install irrigation systems have service plans that you can purchase along with your system that will keep it running smoothly however this does mean you will have a reoccurring cost to owning an irrigation system. Normally these costs will fall in the range of 100-300 dollars per year with most repairs that are needed being fairly minor and taking a minimum amount of time to fix. If you are debating on purchasing a system remember to factor these costs in as you won’t want to be surprised later on when a repair is needed.

So, is a system right for you? We know many people in our area decide to invest in a system as they believe that the service is worth the investment for both their saved time and quality of their yard. However only you can make the decision for yourself, if you have a small yard and or love being outside gardening perhaps this is one yard improvement that you should pass up.

Daniel Hogenbirk

Landscape Foreman

Birk’s Landscaping Inc.

(905) 404-0602

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