The Homeowner’s Guide to Irrigation Systems in Idaho Falls: Installation, Maintenance and Efficiency

Maybe we caught you right after you dragged three heavy, wet hoses around your yard, and before we can ask, “So, do you need a lawn sprinkler sys…” you holler “YES!!!!”

Or maybe you still need some convincing.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

What are the benefits of an automated irrigation system? Once you have one, then what? Do they need much maintenance? How does a drip irrigation system work? What’s the best way to use less water? How do you winterize an irrigation system? 

We can answer all these questions in less time than it takes for you to sit around waiting to turn off those hoses.

Table of Contents

Six Great Reasons to Get a Lawn Sprinkler System

This is exciting, so we’ll get right to it:

1. Your Lawn and Landscaping Will Thrive  

You’ve probably invested a lot in your precious lawn and landscaping. 

That gorgeous ‘Spring Snow’ crabapple. Those eight ‘Gold Mound’ spirea shrubs. That new sod lawn that definitely wasn’t cheap. (Let’s not talk about the flock of plastic flamingos.)

healthy lawn in front of home

It all adds up to a big investment in both time and money. Irrigation system installation protects it all with dependable watering in exactly the right amount. Your pretty lawn and impressive landscaping will stay alive. That’s huge.

2. Say Bye to Bulky Hoses and Sprinklers

You know there’s better ways to get your steps in than dragging wet and bulky hoses and sprinklers around your yard, right? What a pain. Remember that time you forgot to turn your sprinkler off, and it sprayed away for hours? Ugh. What a huge waste of water. 

Start planning how you’ll fill the free time you’ll have once you don’t have to hang around to turn off the sprinklers.

3. More Money in Your Pocket

An automated irrigation system puts just the right amount of water exactly where it needs to go, with no waste. That means more money in your pocket.

4. Impressive Curb Appeal

You want your home to look impressive from the street. That means healthy, thriving green grass, and a lawn sprinkler system is key. You might just sit in the driveway for a while after you pull in to happily gaze at the view.

home with healthy lawn

5. You’ll Be Helping the Environment

Chances are, you’re wasting a lot of water, for no good reason.

Experts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate as much as 50 percent of water used for landscape irrigation is wasted.

Hoses and sprinklers spray water all over the place — not just where it’s needed. It’s like they don’t even care. If you forget to turn your sprinklers off, (everybody does it) they chug away for hours, or they water in the rain. Old, outdated sprinkler heads spray up to four times more water than your landscaping really needs.

An automated irrigation system puts a stop to all that nonsense.

6. Three Sweet Words: Peace of Mind

No more worrying about dry brown spots in your lawn, ugly wilted flowers, or losing a whole crop of juicy heirloom tomatoes. 

Suddenly, you’ll be the only one around here who’s thirsty.

Understanding Irrigation Systems

When you stand on your deck and watch your lawn sprinkler system at work (don’t be embarrassed — it’s pretty fun to watch) it looks like water magically sprays out of the ground to perfectly water your lawn and landscaping. 

It’s not exactly magic. A lot of thought goes into a skillfully installed irrigation system — including what type of sprinkler heads to use and where to place them. 

How does an irrigation system work? Let’s start with those hard-working heads. There are two main types of sprinkler heads, with variations of each to water in specific ways: 

Irrigation system head

Rotary sprinkler heads spray the farthest and are meant for larger, open areas, covering 30 feet or more. 

Once your lawn sprinkler system turns on and the rotary head pops up, it rotates, adjusted to perfectly cover every inch of your lawn. 

Spray sprinkler heads are designed to reach smaller areas of lawn, covering five, 10, or 15 feet. 

Spray heads are typically stationary, spraying water in a specific pattern, depending on what type of nozzle is attached.

Drip irrigation uses considerably less water than traditional sprinklers and puts that precious water right at the roots of your plants, where it’s actually needed. 

How does a drip irrigation system work? Just like it sounds, this type of irrigation system drips water slowly from holes in tubing — which is either installed below ground or on the soil surface.

Instead of spraying large areas like sprinklers, drip irrigation allows you to really target plants, instead of covering a wide space all at once. 

You already have irrigation heads in your plant beds? Don’t worry — no need to dig it all up. We can update your current system to drip irrigation.

In the (Irrigation) Zone

Those hard-working sprinkler heads are arranged in sections called zones, set up with perfect spacing so that every part of your landscaping gets the perfect amount of water, with no wasted overspray. Most irrigation systems have 6-9 zones.

irrigation zones water grass

Behind the Scenes: Your Irrigation Controller

Your irrigation controller is the brains of the operation, telling the rest of the lawn sprinkler system when and how long to water. 

Maybe you remember your dad trudging out to the garage to operate it. That’s so yesterday. Now you can operate it from your smartphone, from anywhere. No more stepping on a stray nail in your bare feet. That’s a huge plus. 

Then, sit back and let your sprinkler system do its thing.

Do You Need Smart Irrigation? (Spoiler Alert: Yes)

How smart are today’s smart irrigation controllers? You decide. Here’s what they can do for you:

  • You can handle everything from your phone, tablet, or computer at your convenience. Set up, monitor and adjust your sprinkler system from anywhere, anytime.
  • Set up customized zones, adding your yard’s exact sun exposure, plants and soil types.
  • It keeps you posted. Handy notifications alert you when your sprinkler system turns on, or if it skipped watering that morning because it rained.
  • Your smart irrigation system calculates watering cycles to deliver just the right amount of water. 
    You can save thousands of gallons of water a season with a smart irrigation controller when used correctly. That means you save money.
  • No more realizing your sprinklers are chugging away during a rainstorm. That looks ridiculous. Your reputation is at stake here. Smart irrigation systems reference local weather stations to automatically adjust your watering schedule based on the latest local forecasts.
  • You can give your irrigation company remote access, too, so we can fix lots of irrigation problems from our office. No need to leave work to meet us at your house for irrigation system repair. We’re got you covered. 
  • Smart irrigation systems also tell us when something goes wrong. If a part breaks or a zone doesn't start up, we receive a notification. Then, our irrigation techs can jump right on it — before your landscape dries out.

    Impressed yet? 

Don’t Waste Water: Some Handy Tips

There are plenty of things you can do to use less water — and save money. Don’t be that water-wasting neighbor everybody’s whispering about. 

sprinkler heads water flowers

Lots of water-saving strategies are pretty easy, too, like using mulch and opting for easy-care native plants

When Do You Water? It Matters

Want to save water? Be strategic about when you use your lawn sprinkler system. 

The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning before you lose water to evaporation from the sun.

An automated irrigation system can be set to run in the very early morning — while you’re still cozy in bed — so your property gets the watering it needs without unnecessary waste. By the time you’re at the kitchen counter munching the last chocolate donut before the kids wake up, the watering is done. You can cross something off your list while you’re still in your slippers.

Don’t Water Every Day

We know, it’s tempting. Now that watering is so easy, why not give your precious lawn a good drink every day? 

sprinkler head waters grass

Here’s why: If you water too often, it encourages shallow, needy roots. You’re making it way too easy. You want your grass to have to search for water, sending its roots deeper into the soil.

Water less often but deeply, and roots will grow deeper, for a stronger, healthier lawn.

Don’t Forget To Adjust Your Timer

Life gets busy. Once you set your lawn sprinkler system timer, it’s easy to just forget it. 

Big mistake. If you want to save water, 
you need to adjust your timer as the seasons change.

Here in Idaho, your lawn and landscaping have different water needs in May than they do in July. 

Once the cool weather of fall sets in, your landscaping doesn’t need as much water as it does in the heat of summer. And less water evaporates when it’s cooler— another reason you need less.

Why water like it’s summer year round? That’s a big waste of water. Stay on top of those seasonal timer changes.

sprinkler head waters grass

Make sure your lawn sprinkler system installer does their part to help you save water, too. 

A few things we do here at Outback:

  • Sprinkler misters deliver the right amount of water to annual flower beds, without overwatering. The water droplets are larger, which means more water gets to your plants — not carried away by the wind.
  • Tight spaces are a challenge, like that skinny 20-inch mow strip next to the street. No sprinkler heads are designed for such a tight space. They would overspray, wasting water. So, we bury a soaker hose underground. It delivers the exact amount of water needed with no waste. Bonus: cars parked along the curb don’t get sprayed with excess water.
  • High-efficiency rotator sprinkler heads are water-saving wonders, using much less water and water pressure than traditional fan-shaped sprinkler heads. While a typical 10-foot fan nozzle uses 4 or more gallons of water a minute, a high-efficiency rotator uses just 1/2 gallon of water a minute. If your heads are outdated, we’ll suggest you upgrade.

Irrigation System Maintenance: What’s Going on Out There?

Sometimes, things don’t look quite right out there. And we’re not talking about that early-morning neighbor on his deck who never seems to close up his robe. 

Maybe you see puddles in your lawn. Or your lawn sprinkler system heads barely spray any water, or don’t even pop up. Or they spray so wildly people are lining up to pay admission. 

Hmmm. Time for some troubleshooting. How do you know if a sprinkler head is broken? How to find a leak in your irrigation system? 

sprinklers watering grass

You could poke around a bit and take your best guess. A better idea? Invest in a professional irrigation maintenance program so the pros can spot potentially damaging or expensive problems before things break down and your lawn dies of thirst.
Lawn sprinkler systems are pretty amazing. But they can’t take care of themselves — especially when it’s time for big deal servicing when the seasons change.

Irrigation System Maintenance: What’s Up with Spring Startup?

Spring sprinkler system startup makes sure everything is working properly after the long and lazy winter. 

Irrigation technicians will turn on your water, check each zone of your system, and take care of any necessary fixing, replacing or adjusting. Then your lawn sprinkler system will be ready for the busy watering season ahead.

Next Up: Winter Shut Down

Anybody notice it gets cold here in Idaho in the winter?

Your lawn sprinkler system will notice. Freezing temperatures can quickly destroy an irrigation system that wasn’t properly winterized. It’s crucial to remove all the water from the pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads.

If pooling water freezes and expands, your pipes break. That’s a huge, expensive problem.

How to winterize a sprinkler system? It’s a whole big thing. Don’t try to do it with that old air compressor in the garage. 

cracked irrigation valve

Irrigation professionals have the right equipment and skills to remove all the water from your irrigation system.

It’s a good idea to have irrigation technicians inspect your irrigation system one last time before winter, anyway. If it needs any minor repairs, we can take care of it now. Then your system will be ready to roll once spring arrives. 

Does Your Sprinkler System Need an Update?

If you’re planning new irrigation system installation, you can skip this section and go grab a snack.

If your lawn sprinkler system is a few years old, you might want to hear about some smart upgrades. 

old sprinkler watering grass

Sprinkler system upgrades will make sure your lawn only gets water when it’s needed, monitor how much water you’re using, and reduce waste. For the cost of a few hundred dollars, you get some great convenient features.  

What's available? All kinds of cool stuff:

  • More efficient sprinkler heads use much less water and water pressure than the outdated sprinkler heads your system might be using.
  • Weather stations detect moisture, wind and temperature to keep your lawn sprinkler system from running in the rain, high wind or freezing temperatures. This is a popular upgrade for irrigation system installation in Idaho Falls, where we can have pretty crazy shifts in weather conditions.
  • Your irrigation controller is the brains of the whole operation, so shouldn’t it be as smart as possible? Set up, monitor and adjust your sprinkler system from anywhere, anytime once you have a smart system. Program customized zones, adding your yard’s exact sun exposure, plants and soil type. Give your Idaho Falls irrigation service remote access, so they can fix some irrigation problems from their office. You’ll love it.

Installation Day Tips

Maybe you’ve already ordered the celebratory balloons and cake, but a couple more practical tips before irrigation system installation day will make things go smoothly:

Take a Minute to Ponder Future Plans

Do you think you might expand your landscaping in the future? Add a garden bed? Plant a few new trees? Install an intricate hedge maze or topiary shrubs trimmed in the shape of llamas?

sprinkler head waters flowers

Chat with your irrigation installers about any future plans. We can install the valves and pipes for future planting areas now, then cap them to activate later. That means we won’t have to tear up your yard later in order to add on.

Hmm, Where to Put the Controller?

Decide where you want the controller before your installers show up. 
We typically install them outside the house or in the garage. Be aware it needs to be within three feet of an electrical outlet.

And if you decide to put it in your garage, it has to be on an outside wall with dirt access so we can bury the wire — not a concrete pad or sidewalk.

You Have a New Lawn Sprinkler System: Now What?

First, you probably happily stare at it in wonder as perfect arcs of water do the work you used to have to do, dragging hoses and sprinklers around your yard and swearing.

Enjoy it! 

But once your irrigation system installation is done, one important habit will make sure you really get your money’s worth.

Call on the Pros for Regular Inspections

As beautiful and perfect as your new lawn sprinkler system is, it’ll be working hard out there. Over time, stuff happens. 

Leaks. Broken sprinkler heads. Controller issues. Water spraying where it shouldn’t.


Regular lawn irrigation system inspections bring irrigation specialists on board to inspect your whole system to make sure all the parts are working correctly, and your Idaho landscaping is getting exactly the right amount of water, with no waste. 

Ignore irrigation system maintenance and the repair costs you face could be way more expensive than the cost to pay for maintenance. 

The big bonus for you: peace of mind. You have enough other stuff to worry about, right?

How to Choose the Best Irrigation Services in Idaho Falls

You want expert, experienced lawn irrigation system installers who do the job right, then stick around for reliable maintenance when you need it. 

Where to begin? Start with the easy stuff:

  • Check their Google reviews. How many stars? How many reviews?
  • Get some references and talk to a few customers. Are they happy? Would they hire this company again?
  • Visit their website. Is it packed with good information, including helpful blog articles about irrigation system maintenance?

Then, on to some important questions:

How Well Will They Communicate?

When you call a prospective irrigation system installation company with questions, you should get a prompt reply. If they don’t get back to you quickly, what happens when you try to contact them later about a problem? 

crew meeting at shop

When you have an irrigation emergency, water could be spurting all over the place. Or your lawn could be dying. You’re kind of freaking out. You need quick attention.

Are They Helpful?

At Outback Landscape, not only will we install your new lawn sprinkler system, but we'll also help you decipher that pesky controller. Those instructions sometimes seem made for mechanical engineering majors. 

We’ll also offer you helpful tips along the way to help you get the most from your new lawn sprinkler system, save water and money, and finally get that healthy, thriving landscaping that efficient watering helps achieve.

After your irrigation system installation, we'll partner with you to maintain your irrigation system, from winter shutdown to spring startup and any repairs and upgrades along the way.

Ask Why You Should Hire Them

They should have lots of good reasons, from skilled, experienced technicians who know exactly what they’re doing to friendly customer service that makes things easy for you

Will they repair or renovate older systems that other companies installed? 

Do they recommend irrigation audits and tune-ups at least once a year to ensure your sprinkler system is working properly so you can keep your property looking its best all year long? 

At Outback Landscape, we have the latest lawn sprinkler system technology, techniques and tools to make sure your lawn and landscaping thrive — and the reliable, friendly service that means you can relax and enjoy your beautiful lawn. 

We’d love to hear from you.

Located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, we serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties. Call us at 208-656-3220, or fill out the form here to schedule an onsite consultation.

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