Commercial Landscape Irrigation Systems Explained
Water is a fundamental requirement of all life. Without it, life ceases to exist or never gets a chance to start. There’s not much water to be found on Mars, and not surprisingly, life has yet to be discovered on the “Red Planet.” Water is one of those things we tend to take for granted, at least until it becomes in short supply. We’re fortunate here in the DC, MD and VA region to not have been under extended drought conditions as has been the case in Southern California and much of the U.S. Southwest. However, when it comes to water usage, we should always strive to conserve this precious resource.
This is where commercial landscape irrigation systems can play an essential role towards not only keeping exterior plants and grass looking their best, but also doing so in an efficient and economical manner. Like water, most people give little thought to irrigation systems. Most are typically not aware of the various kinds of systems, the complex calculations and decisions that go into designing and installing them, and even the modern technology behind controlling them.
We’ll begin with the basics in this post starting with the two major varieties of commercial landscape irrigation systems. We won’t count natural rainfall since that’s well beyond our pay grade and completely out of our control. We’re then left with drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation systems. It should be noted that both types of systems serve different terrain, foliage, and maintenance requirements. We’ll examine the main features of each system.
Drip commercial landscape irrigation systems
Much like a vascular system of veins, valves, and capillaries, drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to the soil surface, roots, or right to the base of plants via a system of tubing, valves, and emitters. This system gets its name from the fact that it drips water at a slow and steady pace. Drip irrigation is also technically referred to as “micro irrigation.”
Drip irrigation can be installed either on the surface or just below it in a form known as subsurface drip irrigation. The latter reduces surface evaporation and the potential for weed emergence.
The primary advantage of drip irrigation is its high-degree of water usage efficiency. Such systems can be more than 90% efficient in terms of plants’ water usage. Other features include:
- Can be installed on all terrain types from level to sloped or shaped
- Reduced soil erosion
- Less water deposited on leaves reducing disease formation
- Uniform water distribution
- Fertilizer can be added to the water flow improving targeting and reducing fertilizer runoff
- Reduced weed emergence
- A drip irrigation system requires proper filtering in order to prevent the tubing used from clogging. This is something all commercial drip irrigation systems from Inside Out Services have in place.
Sprinkler commercial landscape irrigation systems
Sprinkler systems are the most commonly recognized as irrigation systems. It only makes sense as they are so conspicuous and who hasn’t received a free shower or cooling “spritz” on a hot summer day courtesy of a sprinkler? But as common as sprinkler systems are, they are quite complex and are not a simple matter of turning on and forgetting.
A commercial-grade sprinkler system is composed of pressure-regulated spray heads and rotor heads. The head in turn is comprised of a series of nozzles that atomize the water into droplets that are then broadcast in an efficient spray pattern. The individual sprinklers are then networked into a carefully designed layout to achieve the most efficient coverage. Some of the prominent features of sprinkler irrigation systems are:
- Supplements periods of low rainfall
- Provides even water coverage
- Adjustable spray patterns
- Lend themselves to computerized automation
- Easy to upgrade
It’s important to note that it’s important that a sprinkler irrigation is correctly designed and properly installation. Regular maintenance is also important. You can rest assured that any commercial irrigation system from Inside Out Services will meet all of these important requirements.
We’ve just scratched the surface of commercial landscape irrigation systems. But you should now have a better understanding of the two types of available systems and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
In a follow up post, we’ll look at the fascination calculations used in designing irrigation systems and some of the software our Exterior Enhancement team uses to assist with this process. In the meantime, please contact us for a free, no-obligation assessment of your commercial landscape irrigation project.
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