Garden sprinkler – A complete buyers guide

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Garden Sprinkler Buyers Guide

It’s warm. We’re having a dry spell. We water the plants. We water the hanging baskets. We top up the water in the vases on the windowsills. But do you water your lawn?

If most of us are being completely honest, the answer is probably NO. Well… we should.

Particularity if it’s been a dry month, it’s crucial that your lawn is watered in order for the grass to grow. No rain means a parched lawn and parched grass, quite simply, won’t grow.

Think about it… No other growing plant in your garden takes as much punishment as your lawn – from people walking on it, to kids playing on it, to pets using it as a toilet-stop. Considering your grass puts up with so much, it seems only fair to give it a bit of TLC every so often, watering and feeding it regularly.

Watering is just as important as mowing or fertilising and the best garden sprinklers do a fantastic job of keeping your lawn growing lush, healthy and green! Granted, if you only have a small garden, watering your grass by hand isn’t too much of a hassle, but if you have a medium to large sized garden, then that’s when hand-watering becomes a pain. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s unlikely you’ll water for long enough, or with even coverage, unlike a sprinkler that takes care of all this for you.

Only got 5 minutes

If you’re hoping for a lush green lawn and blooming flower beds this coming summer, you need to ensure you water and fertilise your garden regularly. There’s no better tool for the job than a garden sprinkler.

A garden sprinkler will help you maintain a healthy lawn even during the warmer, drier months. There’s different types of sprinklers and the key is finding the model that’s the best fit for you and your outdoor area.

Factors to consider when choosing a garden sprinkler

Sprinkler coverage

Sprinkler coverage (how far you’ll need your garden sprinkler to spray water) depends on the size of your outdoor area, whether that be just lawn, lawn and borders, bedding plant areas etc. It’s worth measuring up and calculating the square footage of your space rather than guesstimating – the last thing you want is to buy a sprinkler that doesn’t have the reach you need.

The best garden sprinklers will have a feature that allows you to adjust the sprinkler distance either manually or electronically; this enables you to increase/decrease the sprinkler’s coverage so you can adjust it to only water the area you need.

Water pressure

Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The flow of water can also be measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The PSI and GPM is dependent on the type and coverage of the sprinkler you go for. On average, most sprinklers work at a water pressure of around 30 PSI.

Installation

Depending on the type of garden sprinkler you go for, some will require more complex installation than others. If you go for an in-ground lawn sprinkler, you may need to do some digging, or get a professional in to do the job for you – to connect the sprinkler to your domestic water supply.

Most basic sprinkler models don’t require anywhere near this level of preparation though, and literally just need attaching to your hose pipe or garden tap.

Durability

When it comes to durability, the best garden sprinklers are hard-wearing, rust-resistant and long-lasting as they’re made from durable materials such as copper, metal or ABS plastic. They should also come with a sturdy base that won’t become displaced at the mercy of the British weather and end up over the neighbour’s fence!

Adjustability

The best garden sprinklers will come with a setting where you can adjust the spray distance, along with multiple nozzles, ensuring you can choose the watering pattern and range which best suits the area you’re irrigating.

Types of garden lawn sprinklers

There are three main types of lawn sprinkler:

Oscillating

An oscillating garden sprinkler is a long narrow metal or plastic tube with small holes/openings that release sprays of water. The tube moves back and forth in a snake-like action to produce a fan-shaped spray of water.

Pulsating

A pulsating garden sprinkler has a rotating head that produces a pulsating spray of water which covers a circular area, making it a great choice for even coverage in larger gardens. The best pulsating garden sprinklers will offer the feature to adjust the spray to different patterns – mist or stream being the two most common.

Stationary

Stationary garden sprinklers tend to be the smallest type of sprinkler, offering decent coverage for compact lawn areas. The sprinkle head is fixed and basic models tend to come with one preset pattern – normally circular or rectangular. They might not be the most versatile garden sprinkler but they’re the most affordable, and ideal for those of us who have a small lawn but aren’t too keen on hand-watering!

Garden Sprinkler benefits

  • A garden sprinkler provides irrigation (a water system) for your lawn when it needs it – normally during summer – allowing your grass to maintain a healthy growth and appearance.
  • Garden sprinklers conserve water. Whichever way you look at it, your lawn needs watering when it’s hot and dry so you’re going to have to use some water. However, to do your bit for the environment, you need to make sure that when you do it, you use the least amount of water possible – a hose uses significantly more water than a sprinkler but doesn’t do anywhere near as good a job.
  • Garden sprinklers are versatile – they don’t just water lawns. Flower beds, hedges, shrubs, flowering plants, vegetable patches and even trees can be irrigated by a sprinkler, just by adjusting the settings and checking the area you want to water is within the sprinkler’s reach.

A garden sprinkler really is a piece of kit you can’t do without. Our summers are getting hotter and longer and so you need to ensure your watering habits evolve along with with the British climate; that is if you want to keep your garden looking hydrated, green and fresh.

When and how to use your garden sprinkler

Water is one of, if not the most, important factor when it comes to growing and maintaining a healthy lawn.

You’re sweating. The suncream’s on. The paddling pool’s out and the BBQs fired up. Summer’s in full swing and whilst you’re feeling particularly pro-outdoors and your fingers are feeling greener than they have all year, it’s tempting to set up your sprinkler and water your lawn daily.  After all, it’s so hot and dry surely it must be parched!!

That’s where you need to stop. Any professional gardener worth their salt will tell you less is more when it comes to watering. One long soak is the perfect way to encourage grass roots to grow deep into the soil, which in turn makes the grass blades more capable of finding water; strengthens the overall lawn, and helps it survive during hot and dry periods in the future. If you water too lightly, the grassroots will not grow deeply enough; this will bring trouble for your turf when the hot weather hits.

The green light to water is when you see the grass has started to dull and lose its colour, and the blades struggle to bounce back after you’ve walked across your lawn. Once you’ve felt and observed both, use your garden sprinkler to water. You’re aiming to get to the point where you could easily push a garden cane or plant stake around 12 inches in length into the ground.

Keep in mind, you’re not looking to saturate the soil with your sprinkler – if you squeeze a handful and it drips, you’ve overwatered; you’re looking for the soil to feel like dough – firm but sticky.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to use my garden sprinkler?

The best time to use your garden sprinkler is early morning. You don’t want the grass to remain wet so water early then the sun will play its part and dry it out during the day.

Ideally, you don’t want to be using your sprinkler at night as this means the grass is likely to stay wet for a prolonged period and this is the time when diseases will manifest.

In terms of how often to use your garden sprinkler, long but less often is best; you’re aiming to soak the lawn through so the moisture penetrates the soil several inches.

Can I still use my garden sprinkler when I’m on holiday?

You can water your lawn whilst you’re on holiday by using a smart water system. The best garden sprinklers have this feature which allows you to control your sprinkler via a handy app designed and managed by the manufacturer. When using the app, you’re likely to be able to schedule or cancel watering times and adjust the water pressure and/or sprinkling pattern and range of coverage. The best garden sprinklers even use real-time weather data to inform their watering so that makes any decision-making or forward-thinking from you no longer necessary. Perfect!

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About Francesca Fitton 68 Articles
I have a passion for gardening and being outdoors. I blog about plant care, technology and tools that I love to use outside and invite you along to watch.

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