How To Zone A Sprinkler System And The Sprinkler Head Types For Them

This Is How We Zone Sprinkler Systems And Choose Sprinkler Heads For Our Clients In And Around Hancock County, Lucas County, And Wood County, Ohio

People often ask us about sprinkler zones and the types of heads that are best for them.

In this post, you can find out how we zone sprinkler systems. You can also discover which sprinkler heads are best suited for which areas.

Shrubs zone and lawn zone

Can We Do It?

“Can we set up our own sprinkler system?!” asks James in surprise.

Sarah nods. “Sure, I mean, who knows our yard better than us? I’m sure we can look up how to zone a sprinkler system and what sprinkler heads to use on Google.”

James frowns doubtfully. “I’m not so sure this is a DIY project. But, I can’t really say anything without looking first, right? “Let’s check it out and see what we find.”

Sarah smiles, fishing her phone from out of her purse. “Thanks, hon, I appreciate your support. And hey, if we decide we don’t want to spend the time and energy, we can look into the cost of installing an irrigation system.” James nods and smiles.

Here’s what the couple finds:

What Are Sprinkler Zones?

Grass areas and plant areas are different zones

Sprinkler zones are different areas of your yard that have different watering needs. Lawns, shrubs, vegetables, and other greens need different sprinkler heads and amounts of water. A zone is a group of sprinklers that water a specific area from one irrigation valve.

*You may need permits to dig. It’s best to check with your local utility provider.

How To Determine Sprinkler Zones

Map of a backyard you can use for zones

Map out your backyard with the types of plants written where they are on the map. Divide them up so plants with similar watering needs are in the same areas. Add up the flow rate, in GPM (gallons per minute), for the sprinkler heads. Divide that by your water supply’s GPM.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Proper coverage means the sprinkler’s spray reaches the other sprinklers in its zone
  • Don’t mix sprinkler types in zones
  • If the total flow is greater than the safe design capacity of your system, split the zone up or put some sprinkler heads in another zone
  • However many zones you have is how many irrigation valves you’ll need

We’d love to chat about your irrigation system project

What Are The Types Of Sprinkler Heads?

The four main types of sprinkler heads are rotary heads, spray heads, bubbler heads, and drip systems. Rotary heads are best for larger areas. Spray heads are better for mid-range watering. Bubbler heads and drip systems are ideal for individual plants. Sprinklers can be full-circle, half-circle, and quarter-circle.

1. Rotary Head Sprinklers

Rotary head sprinklers

This type of sprinkler head works best in larger areas.

They can spray up to 48 feet, making them ideal for lawns. The water shoots out in a big stream that settles gently onto plants. It rotates in full, half, or quarter circles.

It’s a good sprinkler type for hills and slopes.

2. Spray Head Sprinklers

Spray sprinkler head

This sprinkler head type is the one that pops out of the ground.

The water comes out like a fan. It can move in full, half, or quarter circles over about 15 feet.

3. Bubbler Head Sprinklers

These sprinklers are ideal for watering trees and other landscaping areas.

They bring water to plants more quickly and directly than rotary and spray sprinklers. Water comes out of the top in a short, full circle.

They need their own zone.

4. Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip irrigation system closeup

This sprinkler system is great for watering a lot of individual plants.

Water drips out of a long tube. You can stretch it along rows of plants, whether they’re in a vegetable garden or potted plants on your hardscape.

They need their own zone.

Here’s a full guide on planning and installing an irrigation system.

You May Also Like To Know

“Okay, and this seems like it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” sighs James. Sarah nods. “Yeah, maybe we should look around this blog more and see what else goes into installing an irrigation system.” James nods and the couple keeps digging.