What is the difference between rotor and spray heads?


Gear-driven (rotor) heads have a water powered turbine that makes the upper part of the head rotate. They are either oil or water lubricated. These heads are used for large areas, capable of watering 15 to 85 feet. They are adjustable not only in the precipitation rate but the arc and distance as well.


Spray heads are generally used for smaller or oddly shaped turf areas. Spray heads have no moving parts and emit a spray of a particular pattern. The nozzles are interchangeable, and come in circular, rectangular, and square patterns, and can water 4 to 15 feet.

The precipitation rates of these two types of heads are dramatically different, and should never be mixed on the same zone.

Will you put different types of sprinklers on the same zone?


Mixing sprinklers with different application rates on the same line causes one area to be over watered in order to sufficiently water another.

This is sometimes done to reduce the cost of the sprinkler system, but can easily result in areas receiving four times more water than other areas.

This should never be done.

What is a 'master valve'?


A master valve is an addition valve that is installed at the start of your system to stop the flow of water through your mainline. This ensures that if any valves fail open or any leaks develop in the mainline of your system they will not leak indefinitely.

When your controller turns on a zone, it will turn on the master valve as well. This allows water to flow through the main line and to the zone valve that has opened and then on to the sprinklers.

This is an additional layer of security and is required by law by many municipalities. 

What is a 'zone'?


A zone or station is a specific area of your landscape that waters independently from other areas.

Zones are used to separate the different areas of your property that have different watering requirements.

For example, gardens separate from lawns, shady areas separate from sunny.

Can I get by with fewer zones?


If you do not separate your zones properly, you will usually have sections of your property that are too wet or too dry.

When you try to apply more water to the dry areas, you flood other areas on the same zone because they operate at the same time.

Conversely, when you reduce the amount of water in a wet area, the other areas on that zone turn yellow because they are too dry.

What is 'drip' irrigation?


Drip irrigation is a method where small amounts of water are placed directly on the root ball of plants, therefore using the water more efficiently.

This is done with a network of small tubing that is all tied together and provides water to many plants at once.

A drip zone will usually run for several hours, not twenty or thirty minutes. It is generally considered to be better for most planting beds than topical watering, and also more water conservative.

Your particular situation would dictate whether it was right for you.

What is 'micro' irrigation?


Micro-irrigation is a method of using very small sprinklers to water in the gardens and flowerbeds.

These sprinklers are fixed and do not retract down out of site when they are finished watering. They either spray a small mist of water, much like a spray head or they drip directly at the root ball of the plant.

It is a mix of spray and drip on a smaller scale.

What is a 'smart' controller?


A “Smart” controller makes adjustments to the controller programming based on actual weather conditions.

It does not take into account actual rainfall.


Where a convention system waters for a set amount of time regardless of the temperature or weather.

It is up to someone to change and modify the program throughout the season.

See: FAQ Smart Controller

See: Smart Controller

What is an 'ET' controller?


An “ET” controller waters based on actual weather conditions and moisture level in the ground.

It takes into account actual rainfall and subtracts the amount of water received from precipitation from the amount it was going to irrigate.

All of these calculations are based on the water requirements of your plants and lawn.


Where a convention system waters for a set amount of time regardless of the temperature or weather.

It is up to someone to change and modify the program throughout the season.

See: FAQ Smart Controller

See: Smart Controller

Can an 'ET' controller be used on any system?



An “ET” controller bases how long to water according to the precipitation rate programmed into the controller.

If the system does not have an even distribution of water, then the planted material is not really getting what the computer thinks it is.


If the computer is told that the system puts 0.6 inches of water an hour, but the system actually puts 0.2 inches in some areas and 0.8 in others. You will have areas that are over and under watered and the controller will not know this.

Do I need to know what my water pressure is?


We need to know the static water pressure.

Knowing what water pressure we have will dictate how much water we have to work with and whether it has to be regulated because it is too high or boosted because it is too low.

What does 'head to head' coverage mean, and can I get by without it?


On any system, one of the fundamentals of design is that each head hit the one to the left and right of it, and any other heads within its throw. This provides even water coverage, referred to as “Matched Precipitation”.

Really what you are trying to achieve is artificial rainfall.

Areas with only single coverage might fare well in cool conditions, but will be the first to brown up in very hot weather.

You are far better off to design and install the system properly to begin with, as it is much harder and expensive after the fact to add or move heads to compensate for dry areas.

You can always run zones with single coverage heads longer, but now you are over-watering the double/triple coverage areas to compensate for the single coverage areas.

Head to head coverage is paramount for a lush, green lawn.