An irrigation system is a luxury for many homeowners and their residential lawns, but the benefits from switching to one are enormous. Looking at the neighbors around me with green lawns and beautiful plants, I was jealous because in this instance, the grass was literally greener on the other side. I had spent enough time sweating and swearing over my brown yard with my garden hose in hand that I decided to finally make the switch.
One of the biggest selling points for my decision to switch to a full irrigation system was the convenience for myself. With the press of a button, the lawn and garden beds are taken care of. Preset schedules, timers, and monitors control the amount of water on a daily and weekly basis so I don’t have to worry about it at all. No need to watch the forecast like a meteorologist or monitor the plants like a botanist just to keep the plants and lawn looking lush (or in my case alive). The method I used before was dragging multiple hoses around with different sprinkler attachments to cover the front, side, and backyard. Then I’d fill up a watering can to cover the plants in hard to reach places that the sprinkler missed. This required me to be present to make sure each area of the lawn got enough water but didn’t flood it either.
Watering the lawn manually would take hours over the course of a week, especially in the middle of summer when the temperature rose and the sun baked the grass all day making it look like a welcome mat. Those are precious hours that I’d rather be biking, boating, or golfing. Do manual sprinklers function as great toys for kids? Absolutely, but they also look like a tangled mess after the kids get bored and move onto the next game. After switching to an underground irrigation system, I now spend the same amount of time watering the yard as I do worrying about changing my cars oil (my husband does it).
My biggest pet peeve about watering the yard used to be the ‘hot spots’ in the yard that seemed to always be dry. It
required me to spend so much extra time watering those areas that clearly needed more water than the rest of the lawn; not to mention constantly adjusting the sprinklers so I wouldn’t miss a spot. With the new irrigation system though, each area of the yard is broken into “zones” that are watered separately from each other. Now I can program 10 minutes of watering for zones one and two in the front yard, but 16 minutes for zones three, four, and five that seem to get more sun and are drier. The irrigation company set and adjusted all these zones during installation, all I do is adjust them if I feel the need to.
Did I mention the drip irrigation too for the garden beds? That’s another separate zone that specifically waters around plants and shrubs. I no longer stand with a hose watering all of the plants around my house. The drip irrigation is a buried tube that literally drips water around the roots of the plants for direct contact. No more wasted water or sprinklers spraying my house.
I have to admit that I splurged a bit and bought the higher end control system, but it was totally worth it. When I was still using the manual hose sprinkler, the most sophisticated feature was me guessing how much water the plants needed. With these smart irrigation controllers, it’s an exact science. Like I said before about separate watering zones, not only are they accurate, but they are based off the type of plants, soil, and slope of that particular area. Plus the controller has a weather feature that adjusts the watering amount and frequency to reflect current weather conditions. If it has rained recently, the system will automatically stop or delay the next watering cycle. I no longer need to be a meteorologist and botanist for the yard. The extra feature I treated myself to was the mobile app for the controller system. I can now adjust the entire system from any location on my phone and get statistics about how much water I’m using.
I’m so glad I’ve finally made the switch to an underground and automatic irrigation system. It has saved me countless hours, years of gray hair, money in the swear jar, and maybe my marriage. I spend very little time thinking about what our sprinklers are doing, and I love it. Irrigation systems may be a luxury for some homeowners, but similar to garages, heated seats, and keyless entry for cars, once you make the switch, you will never want to go back.