How Does an Automatic Sprinkler System Work?

No property owner likes dragging heavy hoses around their yard to water it. Plus, they get clogged and snagged way too often. That’s when we often start thinking about installing an automatic sprinkler system.


These use a timer and controller to set up an automated watering schedule which makes life so much easier and saves time and money. It’s also a great way to keep your landscaping efficiently watered while eliminating the physical labour it takes to do so.

But how does it work? Let’s find out.

Automatic Sprinkler Systems: How Do They Work? 

  1. 1. The Controller

An electrical controller is attached to a set of valves buried in a box in the ground. The primary water source is directed towards the box and separated into various zones. Each of these zones can be controlled by a valve set to release each one separately.

  1. 2. Valve System

This is attached to where the line starts and is connected to all the pipes. They can be managed with electrical impulses from a timer which signals them when to open and shut. You can shut the valve system off manually to prevent it from supplying water to the system in case of leakage.

  1. 3. Underground Piping

Most sprinkler systems come with polyurethane or PVC piping. Both materials are easy to cut into different sizes and are great at withstanding extreme environmental factors. The pipes are placed underground and connected to your main water source. Their design ensures that the supply of water remains constant throughout your landscape. Watering each section of the lawn can be controlled and scheduled with a timer.

  1. 4. Sprinkler Heads

These small devices pop out of the ground and water your landscape.  Different sprinkler zones have dedicated valves that allow you to control or close the supply of water in particular areas in case of a leak. There are mainly three types of sprinkler heads available: spray heads, rotor heads and bubblers. The perfect head for your sprinkler system depends on your lawn’s size, form and watering needs. Ensure your sprinkler heads are placed consistently throughout the lawn as mixing heads can lead to overwatering in some areas and underwatering in others.

Automatic Sprinkler System Installation

You can try to install an automatic sprinkler system yourself, but it’s best to hire a professional. They can accurately evaluate the size and structure of your landscape and determine which system best suits your requirements. They will divide your lawn into separate zones according to the vegetation and the watering needs.

Once the zones are established, the installation expert will dig trenches and lay in pipes, connecting all sprinkler heads to the main water supply lines. They then fill the trenches with dirt and lay down sod. When installed professionally, the entire process can take just one to two days. A bigger landscape with complicated features may take a few more days to complete.

Automatic sprinkler systems are designed to control over- or under-watering of lawns. Even the simplest system can significantly reduce the wastage of water. You can depend on them to better maintain your lawn. All you have to do is schedule the system according to its watering needs and you’re good to go.