What Are Low Flow Sprinklers?
Low flow sprinklers, also known as microirrigation or low volume irrigation systems, are a great way to save on water while still delivering adequate hydration to your lawn or garden. Due to the California drought, low flow sprinklers have become an increasingly popular way for residents and businesses of California’s Central Valley to use less water (and save more money). We are the leading installer and company to call for sprinkler repair in Sacramento, But many of our first time customers still ask us – what are low flow sprinklers? And why should I invest in a low flow irrigation system?
Benefits of Low Flow Sprinklers
- Minimizes wasteful runoff
- Saves money on monthly water bills
- Conserves water
- Waters plants directly at the root
- Keeps grass and plants fully watered and healthy
- Allows for fewer weeds (because you’re just watering your plants)
Types of Low Flow Sprinkler Systems
There isn’t just one type of low flow sprinkler set up, there are many. You and your sprinkler contractor can discuss the options and, based on your lawn size and specific plant life, choose the right low flow system (or combination of systems) for you.
Low Flow Drip Systems
Drip systems are very common, and are excellently suited for watering garden beds, shrubs, row crops, and more. Your drip line will consist of a tube with small holes drilled into it, placed either above ground or a few inches below so that it is at the root level of your plants. This allows your drip line to easily administer water right to the roots, rather than onto the leaves. This results in a healthy plant, and less runoff and evaporation of your water.
If you have several types of crops or plants all on the same drip line, your contractor can also install emitters, which allow for water to flow from the drip line at different rates for plants needing different amounts of water.
Low Flow Trickle Systems
Trickle systems are specially designed for use in potted gardens where each plant or group of plants is in its own garden pot, or for trees with larger root systems and more water demands. Trickle systems utilize small watering nozzles that are attached to stakes and interconnected with a small tubing line. These systems are also called spider sprays because of the intricate web the system creates by connecting multiple plants or pots on one trickle line.
Low Flow Spray Systems
Low flow spray systems might be what you typically think of in terms of lawn sprinklers. These low volume sprinklers are simply attached to your current lawn irrigation piping, but instead of conventional spray nozzles, more efficient and water-saving low flow nozzles are put in place. One popular low flow sprinkler head is the Hunter MP Rotator head, which is durable and water conscious.
With a low flow sprinkler system in place, water is delivered more slowly and at a consistent rate, allowing water to go deep into the soil and reach the root system of your grass. Low flow spray nozzles are an easy way to retrofit your sprinkler system so that you are achieving a beautiful lawn without wasting any water. Many contractors are now offering sprinkler retrofits to their customers, especially in California and other drought-ridden states.
Best Uses for a Low Flow Sprinkler System
You really can’t go wrong when you choose to install a low flow irrigation system for your home or business. There are many applications for drip lines as well as low volume spray heads. We’ve installed low flow solutions in many Sacramento homes and businesses, and each time our customers have expressed satisfaction with their system upgrades. Below are a few ideas for applications of a low flow irrigation system.
- Flower beds
- Vegetable gardens
- Row crops
- Potted plants
How Much Does a Low Flow Sprinkler System Cost?
A low flow irrigation system can cost anywhere from $250 to $1300 for a 500 square foot space. Many lawns are much bigger than 500 square feet, so the cost could easily triple or double. However, when it comes to low flow sprinkler installation, you definitely want to pay a little bit more up front to make sure that your contractor is certified and knowledgeable in the field. A low flow system that is properly in place will start saving you money immediately, whereas a system that is shoddy and full of leaks or improper fittings will only cost you more in the long run.
Determining factors for your low flow sprinkler system cost include:
- The size of your lawn.
- The quality of the materials.
- Your soil type.
- The slope of your lawn.
- Whether or not you have trees.
- The skills and qualifications of your contractor.