Why is my sprinkler system divided into zones? How are sprinkler system zones designated?

A properly designed sprinkler system is made up of many zones. Each zone will operate individually, and sprinkler system zones automatically advance from one to the next. A professional designer or contractor will know how to layout a system and customize it to the lawn or landscape that needs to be watered.

The amount of zones and zone designation is determined by the following:

  1. Evaluate the water source and how much water is available. This helps determine the path of the main supply line that feeds the irrigation system. This also determines how many sprinkler heads can operate at the same time.
  2. Determine what areas need watered. Do we have large turf areas combined with small or narrow turf areas? Will we be watering any landscaped areas? What types of plant materials will be planted within the landscape beds? Are there areas that get more sun or shade than others? Are we watering flat land or sloped spaces? Every one of these questions needs to be answered and the sprinkler system need to be customized to fit the needs of these different conditions. For example, an area that receives full sun during the day will need more water than the shady area in your back yard. In addition, different plant species need different amounts of water to grow properly.
  3. Determine what types of heads or sprinkling methods will be used. ​Different types of sprinkler heads will put out different rates of water, so they usually should not be combined within the same zone. Some sprinkler heads are better suited for small, tight spaces and others are best used in wide open areas.

Don’t cut corners at the time of installation just to save a few bucks up front. Design flaws can ruin a lawn or landscape and cost thousands of dollars to repair. An irrigation system that is designed and installed poorly will waste water, operate inefficiently and create headaches in many ways.

On the other hand, an irrigation system that is designed properly with quality components can last 20 or more years when maintained the right way. Properties and landscapes change over the years, but it will be easy to make slight changes to the sprinkler system if a solid foundation is in place.

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