The valves.

Valves leading to underground pipes that provide separate sprinkler locations with water.

Note: "sprinkler system" may also refer to a fire repression system. The plant watering systems are also used in commercial or public spaces. This article is about residential systems.

A sprinkler system is one way to keep a lawn or special plants watered during the summer months. Some sprinklers are a temporary framework or just a water hose with a sprayer at the end, but a sprinkler system more commonly refers to a built in, permanent system, often with underground pipes or water feeds, sometimes with separate water sources or metering.

Sprinkling Rainbow

A sprinkler system providing two jets of water to a tree and green grass lawn.

If you live in an area where the ground freezes, the pipes should be "blown out" before the cold weather. That is, air is used to force the water out of the pipes, so it won't freeze in the pipes and burst them. Then the water to those pipes is turned off. When this is done, the water to those pipes will need to be turned back on in the spring.

Most sprinkler systems have timers that regulate when and how long to water the lawn. Some also have moisture sensors so that the systems will not water the yard during or right after there is enough naturally provided water through rain.


Sprinkler system aimed at the lawn instead of the street.

Some sprinkler heads are designed to spray in a circle; others spray only part of the way. For instance, watering the pavement is a waste of water. And watering the side of your house or a shed may cause water damage. At least once a year, it is good to check that the different sprinkler heads are still in good shape and aimed in the right directions -- for instance, not watering sidewalks or driveways. A good time to do this check is when a water system that was turned off for the winter is turned back on in the spring. Even if you do not live in a climate where the water needed to be turned off, spring, when you're likely to start doing more watering, is a good time to inspect the system.

Sometimes there are regulations governing when a sprinkler system may be used or the lawn may be watered. Municipalities restrict water use during drought or when water sources are low. Some will also restrict which hours the systems may be used. Less water is lost to evaporation, and in some cases it's better for the plants, to water during the night (when dew would naturally usually occur). However, this can sometimes conflict with neighborhood regulations that restrict the use of sprinklers or other forms of automated noise makers during the night.

A crazy place to call home

The sprinkler head of an underground, built-in system.

Sprinklers can be used to water plants.

Sprinklers can be used for fun if the children need a cool down during the summer, they'll be able to run through it giving relief from the heat.

Sprinkler fun

Playing in the water.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.