Sprinkler systems are one of the most common irrigation systems used on both commercial and residential properties, and for a good reason. Their wide variety of sprayer heads and styles means that they can be easily customized for specific areas and plant types. Understanding the differences between portable sprinklers which are hooked up to a normal hose, and permanently installed sprinkler heads that are actually put in place in the landscape can help you decide which type of sprinkler system is the right choice for your needs.
Portable sprinklers are one of the most common types of irrigation systems used for residential properties, due to their low price point and ease of use. They simply hook up to a regular garden hose and then spray water in a predetermined pattern. Different types of sprinklers will cover different sized areas, but in general, the range of portable sprinklers is somewhat limited, meaning that you will have to move it occasionally to ensure complete coverage of your yard.
Most homes will only have a few hose hookups, which means that larger yards will have to rely on just one or two sprinklers for irrigation. However, care must be taken with portable sprinklers since it becomes possible to forget and leave them on for a long period of time, wasting water. Further, since you have to adjust their location yourself, you also run the risk of over watering some areas of your landscape while under watering others.
Permanent sprinkler heads come in a wide variety of different forms, but the most common are simple black tubes or sprinkler heads that are installed in the ground of your yard. They will pop up and spray the surrounding area when you turn them on. The main advantage of using a permanent sprinkler system is the fact that they can be programmed to turn on at certain times of the day, and do not require constant adjusting or set up to water your lawn. Further, they provide an even coverage of your yard, reducing the risk of drying or flooding out certain areas.
However, permanent sprinklers are significantly more expensive, since they do require the installation of dedicated plumbing underneath your yard's soil. Furthermore, permanent sprinklers can make lawn maintenance and mowing more difficult, as running over a sprinkler head can cause a great deal of damage not only to your lawn tools but your sprinkler system -- and a leak can be hard and expensive to fix.
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