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6 Common Questions About Sprinkler System Zones


Just talking about irrigation system zones makes you sound kind of fancy.

Remember when you were out on your lawn in your robe and slippers, dragging your sprinkler and hose to different areas of your yard?

You had to take your slippers off to figure out your “zones” — wherever the grass was dry instead of wet was your next zone.

Life is simpler now, right? Your zones are automatic.

But exactly how do sprinkler zones work?

Let’s take a look.

1. What Exactly Are Sprinkler System Zones?

Each area of your yard gets divided into sections called zones, set up with different sprinkler heads to make sure water efficiently covers the whole area.

irrigation team adjusts sprinkler head

2. How Do Sprinkler System Zones Work?

Zones are set up so the different areas of your yard get the perfect amount of water for their unique needs, using a variety of sprinkler heads and proper spacing so everything gets enough water, without waste.

irrigation expert programs sprinkler zonesBushes and shrubs need less water than grassy areas. Shady areas need less than sunny spots.

Once your irrigation system is installed, irrigation specialists will set it so each sprinkler system zone gets the right amount of water for the right amount of time.

3. Why Can’t All the Sprinkler System Zones Run at Once?

Imagine you turn on every faucet inside and outside your house, start the dishwasher, and throw a load of laundry in the washer. Then you try to take a shower.

Chances are, you’re not going to get all the conditioner out of your hair, right?

sprinklers spray lawn and treesYou can only move so much water at one time. There just isn’t enough capacity to water your entire yard at once.

4. How Many Irrigation System Zones Do I Need?

Most irrigation systems have nine zones or less. It’s pretty common to have 6-9.

Part of it boils down to your water source, and how much water it can pump out.

A lake pump puts out much more water than a city system. A one-horsepower well pump puts out more water than a half-horsepower well pump.

irrigation technician programs sprinkler zonesThe source makes a huge difference. The more horsepower you have, the fewer zones you need.

The conditions of your yard also help decide how many sprinkler system zones you need.

Some homeowners want drip irrigation on their flowers, which requires a different zone.

Some want to water their vegetable garden differently than their lawn. That means a different zone.

5. So Why Does My Neighbor Only Have Four Zones?

Unless your neighbor has a very small yard, something might not be quite right over there.

Some irrigation installation companies try to skimp on zones, so they can offer you a lower price on installation. Fewer zones, less expense.

sprinkler system waters yardBut if your yard really needs five irrigation system zones, and you only have four, there isn’t enough pressure, and your water source can’t keep up with what your zones are demanding.

Read Our Guide to Irrigation Installation & Maintenance
You can have zones added, but it’s a big mess, including digging up your yard.

It’s a lot easier to have it done right in the first place.

6. Why Does My Irrigation Controller Say 16 Zones, But I Only Have 9 Zones?

That’s because your controller has the capacity for 16 sprinkler system zones, whether or not your yard actually needs that many.

irrigation expert adjusts controllerAt RainMaster, we typically install controllers that have more capacity than you need right now, to allow room for adding more zones later if your landscaping needs change.

Trust Your Irrigation System to RainMaster in Eau Claire, WI & Minneapolis, MN

Irrigation systems can be confusing.

How do sprinkler system zones work?

How many sprinkler zones do I need?

Relax. Your irrigation maintenance company in Eau Claire, WI or Minneapolis, MN should make all of this super easy. And when irrigation specialists show up for your regular irrigation system tune-ups, they check each irrigation system zone to make sure it turns on and off and runs properly.

You deserve skilled, efficient irrigation repair; continued attentive maintenance; and friendly customer service that takes away the stress.

Choose from our three irrigation maintenance programs to make sure everything — including those important zones — is running smoothly.

When you’re ready to put your trust in us, we can’t wait to meet you — and help you make the best choice for your lawn.

Ready to make your lawn life easier? Request a quote today! We’ll review your options together so you can make a confident decision. Then, you can finally enjoy your well-watered lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Lawn Care, Irrigation

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