One of the most important decisions you have to make as a professional landscaper involves selecting the right irrigation system for the properties you’ve been entrusted with. Every landscape is different. In order to ensure that each one stays healthy and lush, there are several factors to take into consideration. Not only is your client’s property at stake, but neglecting to handle water responsibly can have significant environmental implications.
Horizon Distributors has compiled the following guide to help you navigate finding the perfect irrigation system so your client’s landscape can thrive.
Types of Irrigation Systems
Surface irrigation involves water being distributed using watering cans or hoses, sometimes using a sprinkler attachment. By applying water to the soil’s surface, water is then able to seep through to the plant’s root system.
While surface irrigation is one of the most common types of irrigation for homeowners, it is also the most inefficient. It requires more manual labor and offers little room for automation and a lot of room for human error. This can cause under and overwatering.
Surface irrigation is problematic for both the wellbeing and aesthetics of your client’s property. Sharing these facts with a potential client can help sway them to install an inground irrigation system. We recommend using the process as a supplement to other more sophisticated irrigation systems.
Drip irrigation systems involve small, uniformed applications of water directly to the plant’s root area. This system is ideal for non-turf areas, including flower beds, vegetable gardens and container plants. It is also great for areas located on less even terrain or exposed to windy conditions.
This controlled method is far more efficient and environmentally friendly. Not only does the direct application help prevent evaporation and runoff, but the process can also be automated when synced to a smart irrigation controller. This helps prevent unnecessary labor and water waste.
Sprinkler systems are the most iconic form of landscape irrigation methods. While many people probably associate sprinklers with golf courses and childhood summers, these systems provide versatile, efficient irrigation options. These systems also offer water waste management potential when installed with irrigation controllers.
Sprinkler heads can be set up above ground or be installed to pop up and retract during watering. In order to help conserve water, smart irrigation controllers can use local weather reports to adjust watering schedules.
Blended Irrigation Systems
By combining drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, you can maximize the potential of both methods while also using water more responsibly.
Sprinkler systems are best suited for turf areas on a property. Drip irrigation systems are ideal for more concentrated plant features, such as for flower beds, bushes, and trees.
In order to make the most of your blended irrigation system, it is important to install a smart controller.
Irrigation Supplies for Landscaping Businesses
Horizon Distributors is one of the largest U.S. irrigation wholesale suppliers. Partners include Hunter, Rain Bird, Toro, Lasco, NDS, ADS and more. Here is a breakdown of the irrigation supplies we offer:
Irrigation Sprayers and Sprinkler Heads
Most irrigation systems use either rotary sprinkler heads or spray sprinkler heads to water landscapes.
Irrigation spray heads are used to ensure grass and turf, flower beds, garden beds, and shrubs are watered adequately. Sizes are measured by the height the riser comes up out of the turf when activated and range between 2” – 12.” These spray heads are typically installed about 15’ apart from each other.
Irrigation spray heads help to maximize efficiency while minimizing water use, liability concerns and affiliated costs.
Rotor Sprinklers for Irrigation Systems
Rotor sprinklers rotate a stream or streams of water over turf. These systems offer great advantages for both commercial and residential landscapes. Rotors are ideal for expansive areas of turf.
Their more expansive spray range and lower precipitation rate prevents certain areas from being over or underwatered. The range allows for even water coverage across a large area, while still managing to conserve water and lower costs.
Rotor sprinklers typically run between 45-50 PSI. This is a higher pressure rate. This allows them to water a radius ranging from 15-50+ feet. Plastic or stainless steel risers are available for commercial-duty rotor systems.
Irrigation Controllers and Sprinkler Timers
Irrigation controllers, or irrigation timers are the brain of the operation.
Smart irrigation controllers use local conditions to dictate the best time to turn your systems on. Smart irrigation controllers will not start the system while it rains. By taking the weather conditions into consideration, these controllers help prevent overwatering. These controllers are also capable of synching up to other add-ons such as soil and wind sensors. This helps to tailor the irrigation system to the landscape’s environment.
Horizon offers standard and commercial irrigation controllers for indoor and outdoor applications. These are very simple to install and program. The system setup allows you to purchase one base unit with the option to add more stations as needed.
Irrigation pumps work using three basic components: an inlet, pump system, and outlet. A pressure change in the pump system pushes the water from an area of high pressure to one of low pressure, causing the water to be dispersed through the system’s inlet into the pump and finally through the outlet.
There are two main types of irrigation pumps: displacement pumps and centrifugal pumps.
Displacement pumps are more commonly used for dispensing thicker liquids, so they are not as common in irrigation systems unless it is a fertilizer injector that works to mix and disperse fertilizer and water.
The majority of irrigation pumps are classified as centrifugal pumps. These pumps use centrifugal force to distribute water. An “impeller” spins the water, forcing it out the pump’s casing and through the outlet to water the designated area.
Some centrifugal pump systems will use a multistage approach. This is a system of multiple impellers and casings. Water migrates from one impeller to the next with pressure increasing at each stage.
Some centrifugal pumps require priming so that there is water present in the inlet pipe and the casing before starting the pump. Others are self-priming and don’t require this extra step.
Types of centrifugal pumps include the following:
- End-suction centrifugal pumps are the most common type. These pumps push water through the system instead of pulling it and operate best when its water source is no more than a few feet lower than the pump.
- Submersible pumps are fully waterproofed systems that are completely installed underwater, including the motor.
- Turbine pumps are somewhat similar to submersible pumps, but while the pump is mounted underwater, it is attached by a drive-shaft to a motor mounted above the water.
- Jet pumps are ideal for sucking up water that is significantly below the pump. There are “shallow well” and “deep well” varieties of jet pumps to reach varying water source depths.
- Booster pumps are basic centrifugal pumps simply used to boost water pressure to a higher pressure value for ideal dispersion.
- Floating pumps are submersible pumps that are attached to a float. These floats are anchored in a body of water, keeping the pump in place under the water. Pipes or tubes transport the water to the irrigation system.
Additional equipment may be needed to support your irrigation pumps. You can consult with our experts at Horizon to ensure you’ve got everything you need to guarantee your system installation is a success.
Drainage, or stormwater management, consists of detaining, retaining, or providing a discharge point for stormwater to be reused or infiltrated into the groundwater. Drainage product applications include the following: French Drain systems, basins, filters, grates, downspout adapters, pop-up emitters, channel drains and permeable pavers.
Standing water can be a landscaper’s greatest enemy. Standing water can attract pesky mosquitoes, drown plants and turf, and even cause structural damage to buildings on the property.
It’s just as important to understand the art of drainage as it is to understand irrigation. The two go hand in hand. But don’t worry, t he pros at your local Horizon store are available to answer any questions you might have.
Setting up the right irrigation system for your property is crucial to keeping it healthy and your clients happy. Our team at Horizon offers a wealth of expertise to help you select the right solutions for your projects. Contact us today !