What types of sprinkler heads are available and which do you recommend for my lawn or landscape?

There are a variety of sprinkler heads or forms of irrigation available for residential lawns and landscapes. Here we will go over three main types:

  • Rotary heads
  • Spray heads
  • Drip irrigation

Rotary Heads
Rotary heads, or gear driven heads, are used in larger areas that require a stream of 20’ or longer. Rotary heads pop up out of the ground at either 4”, 6” or 12” and rotate as they spray. The rotation is usually adjustable from 40 to 360 degrees, and the distance and flow are adjustable through different size nozzles, which are supplied by the manufacturer.


Spray Heads
Spray heads are used in smaller areas where a stream of 5 to 15’ is needed. They also come in different sizes or pop up heights, most commonly 4”, 6” and 12”. Spray heads pop up out of the ground and spray water, but they do not rotate like the rotaries.

Instead, the spray pattern is more focused on the area to be watered. With that being said, they typically don’t need to run for as long as the rotary heads because they saturate the area quicker. A nozzle will be installed on the top of the spray head to create different shape or watering pattern. For example, you might have an area that is long and skinny which requires one type of pattern, where another are in your landscape is more open, and that spray head would need to spray further in all directions.

Pro TipUsually it is best to keep rotary heads and spray heads on separate zones because they will emit water at different rates.

Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation (pictured below) is usually used for landscaped areas where a slow, soaking type of watering is desired or an isolated area like a small planting bed or flower pot. A small emitter is placed at the base of the material being watered. It waters slowly and directly at the root ball of the plant or tree.


This type of watering reduces run off and evaporation and only focuses the water where needed, thus reducing waste and wind drift. Drip irrigation can cover large planting areas and is good in low pressure areas or areas where water preservation is desired. Installing a drip zone is sometimes good for homeowners or “Do It Yourselfers” because it can be less labor intensive and doesn’t require too many specialized tools or machines.

All types of watering can be effective if used properly, but they will have different long term maintenance requirements. For more information call Irrigation Incorporated today to schedule a consultation or service call!

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