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Starting Member


Saturday, September 29th 2007, 12:58pm

Quotes and Opinions


I received multiple quotes for my lawn sprinkler system. Two of them included Hunter parts and one included Rainbird parts. I read thru some reviews and am currently suffering from buyer's dilemma. I would appreciate your input and comments for my current situation.


Backyard is about 14000 sq.ft
Left and Right side yard of about 500 sq.ft each
Front yard has about flower bed and landscaping, divided by concreted walkway

Contractor A (Hunter Parts)
ZONE Qty Type
Front Landscape 6 12" pop up spray head
Front Yard 6 Rotor Heads
Left Side 6 Rotor Heads
Right Side 6 Rotor Heads

Backyard 5 Rotor Heads
backyard 5 Rotor Heads
backyard 4 Rotor Heads
driveway 5 4" pop up spray heads
1 Pro C Controller
1 Mini Click Rain Sensor
1 RPZ Backflow Preventer
2yr Warranty

Price: 4970
# of heads: 43
Price/head: 115.58

Contractor B (Hunter Parts)
26 Hunter PGP gear drive heads
7 4" Pop Up Pro-Series Spray Heads
12 12" shrub Pro-Series Spray heads
1 Proc C Controller
1 Rain Sensor
1 RPZ backflow preventer
2yr Warranty

Total # of Heads 45
Total System Price 4715
$/head 104.78

Contractor C (Rainbird parts)
29 Pop-Up Rainbird 5000 Series Rotary Sprinkler Heads
11 Pop-up Rainbird 1800 Series Rotary Sprinkler Heads
1 Rainbird Electronic Controller
1 Rain Sensor
1 Wilkens RPZ Backflow Preventer
3 Warranty
125 Annual Maintenance

Total # of Heads 40
Total System Price 3900
$/head 97.50

a) I heard that the warranty on hunter and rainbird is more than 2 years. Then why do I get contractors issuing only 2 year warranty ? (3 years in place of riverbird)

b) How long do the sprinkler heads/equip last ? Should I expect to replace the heads in a few years (even after winterization etc) ?

c) I have couple of trees in the backyard that are not specifically addressed by any contractor. Should I be worried ? Do sprinkler systems cater to trees ? If I plan on planting more trees next year, should I pre-design for them now ?

d) Is there any best practice average on head/sq.ft ? All contractors have a 8 zone system but the # of heads vary. So what trade-offs are they making ?

Many *MANY* thanks for your input. I want to do right by my yard :)



Posts: 29

Location: USA


Monday, October 1st 2007, 4:37am

First things first....

You should not compare irrigation companies by how much the job will cost per head...that measurement is meaningless.

The important things to consider are as follows:

1. Does the design of the sprinkler system take into account the different hydrozones you have that makes up your property. What do I mean by this? There are areas of your yard that have similar water requirements. The plants or grass in an area that can be watered together (at the same time) make up what is called a hydrozone. Your yard should be divided up into areas that have plants that can be watered together since they have the same watering needs.
Examples are as follows: water the front flowerbeds together as 1 zone, water the front lawn as zone 2, water the stripe down the left side of the home as zone 3, water the stripe down the right side of the home as zone 4, water the back flowerbeds as zone 5, water the back lawn as zone 6. This example divides the areas of the yard into areas that have similar watering needs and takes into account that the flowerbeds may need more water than the lawn per week so you would want to be able to water them more often without watering the lawn. It also takes into account that the sides of your home typically need less water than the front or back yard areas since there tends to be a natural drain line between homes and the area is much more shaded between two homes than it is in the open front or back yard areas.

2. What equipment is being used and how much of each? This is important to consider. Flowerbeds tend to need 12" pop up sprinkler spray heads coving the front side of the beds and shorter spray heads covering from the back of the flowerbeds. This helps give even water coverage even when the plant and flowers get bigger and fill the areas in. If one contractor is only providing coverage from behind the flowerbeds you will not have good coverage and it will get worse as the plants grow. Insist on front and back coverage and insist on 12" pop up spray heads (use Hunter 12" Pro-spray head or Rain Bird 12" 1800 series spray head).
The lawn areas need to be covered using Head-To-Head coverage. What is Head-To-Head Coverage? What that means is each sprinkler head should spray a distance that allows it to hit the adjacent sprinkler heads. Every sprinkler head in the grass areas should hit the sprinkler heads next to it with it's stream of water (the head to the left of it, the head to the right of it, and the head across from it). This will provide water coverage as close to that as provided by rain. It helps prevent dry spots and areas of puddling. I recommend Hunter I-20 or PGP rotor heads or Rain Bird 5004plus series rotor heads. The Hunter heads are built heavier and are the standard in the irrigation industry. The Rain Bird heads are built lighter but are still a pretty good head.
The main thing to remember is no matter whether it is an area of Rotors or Pop-Up Spray heads, you need Head-To-Head coverage. Once you draw in the heads on paper to achieve Head-To-Head coverage for each area of you yard, that will tell you how many heads are actually needed to do the job right. If anyone ever tells you that you do not need Head-To-Head coverage, they are either trying to do the job cheap, or they do not understand how to design a sprinkler system correctly!

Insist that the sprinkler heads be installed using swing joints (either Hunter pre-made swing joints or swing joints made from funny pipe and funny pipe fittings). This will make your life much easier in the future as the need to raise or lower a head comes up. Head will need raised or lowered in the future due to:
- settling of the ground
- the grass gets healthy and full and the head tends to not pop up high enough to clear the top of the grass
- Flowerbeds get mulched up over the years requiring the heads to be raised
- heavy lawn mower or car runs over the head and smashes it down and requires the head to be re-leveled or raised

Always insist on a Rain Shut Off Device (Rain Senso


Wednesday, October 3rd 2007, 11:17am

You are wise to consider that your trees could be watered as part of the lawn irrigation. I disagree with the previous comment that "Trees will get watered with the grass and that tends to be good enough". It may be true for some trees under some conditions, but at best is less-than-optimum and worst case will kill your tree from overwatering. Citrus trees are notorious for not liking the amount of water that comes with a typical lawn and will die from overwatering. Deciduous fruit trees will probably survive, but the fruit will be less than ideal, again from overwatering.

In general, trees want to be watered deeply every week or two, or not at all when they have grown deep roots and the lawn nearby is watered. Your best bet is to entirely separate the watering of the trees from watering your lawn. This will mean going out of your way to install sprinklers in a pattern that doesn't water the trees. This means grass won't grow near the tree from lack of water, but it is preferable not to have grass growing to close to the trunk anyway.
- Lifespeed

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