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How to Choose an Irrigation System for Your Yard

Irrigation systems should match your style as well as your needs.

With the D.C. Metro Area’s notoriously hot and humid summers, proper watering is essential to maintaining the lush beauty of your lawn and garden. A properly installed and maintained irrigation system delivers water to the right place, in the right amount, at the right time.

But how do you choose the best system for your property? Working with a professional landscape company will ensure you get a custom irrigation system based on the size, layout, and needs of your planting beds and trees.

Here’s what to consider when comparing irrigation systems for your yard.

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Benefits of Irrigation Systems

There are several benefits of installing an irrigation system in your yard:

  • It’s environmentally-friendly. An automated irrigation system means that no water will be wasted. A custom system can be designed to deliver the ideal amount of water based on lawn size, local rainfall, and soil type.
  • It saves you money. An automated system saves you money on your water bill over time by only using the amount of water required to keep your landscaping healthy.
  • It’s convenient. You’ll no longer have to spend time watering plants or wrestle with hoses and sprinklers to hydrate your lawn. An automated irrigation system will save time and eliminate hassles.


Types of Systems

There are three main types of irrigation systems. A landscape irrigation professional will work with you to select the best system, or combination of systems, for your property.

  • Drip irrigation. Drip irrigation involves laying special hoses on the ground around your landscaping that slowly dispense water into the roots of your plantings. This efficient system delivers water directly to plant roots and helps reduce weed growth.
  • Sprinkler irrigation. Sprinklers deliver water to the surface of your landscaping using a combination of rotors and fixed or pop-up sprayheads. Overhead sprinkler systems are ideal for large, grassy areas but may also be used in landscape beds.
  • Surface irrigation. If your landscape has a slope, surface irrigation could benefit your property. Using the natural slope of a property, surface irrigation systems mostly use rainwater to hydrate the lawn and landscaping.

When using a combination of systems — for example, drip and sprinkler irrigation — lawn sprinklers should be in a different zone than annual, perennial and shrub beds, since they have different watering needs.

Installation Considerations

Once your landscaper selects the ideal irrigation system for your home, design and installation will follow. Depending on the system, this may involve underground plumbing installation, as well as any electronic components required to automate the system.

If a homeowner opts for rain harvesting, barrels or cisterns will be installed to collect rain. Rain barrels are relatively inexpensive and easy to incorporate into an existing landscape, while cisterns require excavation and electrical hook-up for the pump. Cisterns, which often go beneath patios or decks, must be incorporated into a design from the start.


Well-maintained irrigation systems not only last longer, they’re better for the environment and are save on water costs. Systems that received routine maintenance use up to 15 percent less water. Look for a specialist that is certified in the design, installation and maintenance of irrigation systems year-round, from spring start-up and inspection to winterization and a seasonal adjustment program for the months in between.

The experts at Rossen Landscape would love to help you manage your lawn and landscape with a professionally installed and maintained irrigation system. Contact us to learn more about our design, installation and maintenance services.