How To Set Your Sprinkler System

For in-ground sprinkler systems, learn how to operate your systems controller. There will be times when you will want to make program changes.

For new lawns, during the first three weeks refer to the “How to Water” section of this web site.

In general, early morning between 4:00 – 5:00 a.m. is the best time to water your lawn. The advantages of watering in the early morning include less evaporation loss, less wind that could disperse the water, and allowing the grass to dry before nightfall. Leaving the grass wet at night can contribute to disease problems. Watering should be completed early enough in the day to allow the grass to dry before the sun goes down.

Shaded areas require much less water. If a zone includes both shady and sunny areas install a smaller nozzle in those heads which water the shaded sections of your lawn. Another option is to install sprinkler heads that can be turned off individually in the shaded areas while the sprinkler heads that are in the sunny areas are allowed to run as normal.

As described in the How to Water section, first determine how many minutes it takes to accumulate ½ of inch of water. This will be your base reference for setting the run-time of each sprinkler zone. Until you know the amount of water being applied, the zone run-times are meaningless.

We suggest that after you get the irrigation schedule adjusted for your particular lawn and situation that you write the schedule down and place a copy by your sprinkler system controller for future reference. Be sure to leave enough room on the paper to make notes of any changes that you might make in the future.

These sprinkler programming suggestion are based on a sprinkler system which is installed with head-to-head coverage. This means that one sprinkler head sprays water to the next sprinkler head or the sprinklers have 100% overlap.

If your sprinkler system does not have head-to-head coverage, you will probably need to increase the zone run times to accommodate the lack of sprinkler coverage.