Are you about to start the process of revamping your landscape for the summer? Hang on a second! Before you start digging holes in your yard and uprooting your garden, take a moment to educate yourself on the different types of sprinkler systems for lawns. They can impact not only the look of your landscape but the cost of your monthly utility bill, too.

A well-designed irrigation system should be tailored to the size of your property, the kind of plants you have, and programmed on a timer to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. Doing your due diligence in sprinkler research is a sure way to save you money. Here’s more than a sprinkling of all the essential information you need.

The Face-Off of the Sprinkler World: Rotors Versus Spray Heads

If you’ve decided to install a sprinkler system, you’re well on your way to a greener lawn, a shorter to-do list, and a heavier wallet! Now is the time to decide what kind of sprinkler you would like, rotors or spray heads?

Rotors and spray heads have been a hot-topic debate in the world of irrigation. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there that can easily mislead the general public.  Here’s more information to help you make your choice.

Spray Heads

Spray heads are the original sprinkler head. The small fixtures spray a steady, tent-shaped stream of water. Imagine an upside-down shower head, and you’ll get the idea. These heads often come with interchangeable nozzles to emit either a full circle or half circle water flow, with varying radius lengths.


Rotors are the spray head’s greatest competition. As the name suggests, rotors operate by emitting water while rotating (either back and forth or in circles). You’ve probably seen high-powered versions of these on your local golf course because they’re great for covering large sections of grass.

One of the most common misstatements when it comes to sprinklers is that rotors will save more water than spray heads. However, this blanket statement doesn’t apply to all lawns and gardens. The fact is not as easy. The truth is: it depends.

So Which Sprinkler Head Is Best?

Rotors are often the best choice when covering a lot of ground as they are typically spaced farther apart than spray heads. However, if your property has a curved edge or a sidewalk that your city by-laws forbid you from watering, rotors can pose the risk of overwatering and wasting water.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer for the best kind of sprinkler head. The dimensions of your property, as well as the type of plants you have,  need to be considered. Your best bet is to speak with an irrigation specialist at Cherry Oak Landscaping, who knows the ins and outs of all the latest sprinkler head fixtures on the market.

Choosing the Sprinkler Body Type

The debate between sprinkler body types is less heated than the rivalry between sprinkler heads. Pop-up style lawn sprinkler heads are by-and-large the more popular choice. Because they are installed underground, they can retract when not being used. This feature makes your sprinkler system virtually invisible and keeps your landscape looking natural. What’s more, the retractable heads will come in handy when mowing the lawn. It also might save someone from tripping or stubbing their toe!

That being said, above ground (also called shrub-style) body types are still available if you prefer the aesthetic or if you have plants that need a very tall sprinkler head. But if this is the case, you may want to look into drip-style sprinklers.

Drip-Style Sprinklers 

A drip sprinkler system is perhaps the most efficient form of lawn irrigation. A drip-style system is a network of pipes that snake through your garden. At target areas, they slowly trickle water directly into the soil. This means the water goes straight to the plant’s roots and is less likely to run-off or evaporate.

Drip irrigation is a fantastic choice is you live in an area that is commonly affected by droughts or water bans. In the current environmental climate, many people believe drip irrigation is the way of the future. Large companies and even some countries are beginning to implement drip irrigation to conserve water and save money at the same time.

Mapping Your Sprinkler System Installation

So, you’ve chosen your sprinkler head and body type. You’ve only got a few more steps to go! Before you pick up the shovel, it’s crucial to map out your sprinkler system on paper. You’ll need to take into consideration all the physical attributes of your property, such as:

  • Sloped Ground
  • Shady and Sunny Areas
  • Fences
  • Sidewalks
  • Trees, Flowers, Shrubs and Other Plants
  • Mulched Areas
  • Location of Your Water Meter

When you have a map of your property to scale, you can decide the most efficient sprinkler head placement. This will likely include multiple watering zones, which is just a fancy way of saying the pipe system can be controlled independently from the rest of the system. For this reason, each zone will have its own control valve.

Mapping your property is simple in theory. Nevertheless, for the average homeowner, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a professional. Landscapers do this for their profession and can help you avoid dry spots and water waste.

Ensure Your Sprinkler Lawn System Is Running Efficiently

One of the biggest culprits of water waste is pre-existing sprinkler systems that are not running as efficiently as they could be. Sometimes all it takes to save money is a simple readjustment of the water pressure or the position of a sprinkler head. Make sure you’re not spending money unnecessarily by regularly inspecting your sprinkler system. A professional landscaper can do this for you as part of their maintenance services, too.

Contact a Professional Sprinkler System Installer at Cherry Oak Landscaping

Now that you know the fundamentals on yard sprinklers, you’re better prepared to assess your lawn and choose the one that best suits your lifestyle and property. Still, there are so many options out there that you may be feeling even more overwhelmed than when you started! It’s never a bad idea to ask a professional.

Why not contact your local landscaping company? You might be surprised to learn that most landscapers are experienced in designing and installing irrigation systems. Cherry Oak Landscaping is always happy to help with any sprinkler-related question you have.  Call (517) 339-2881 today for a consultation.