3 Pro Tips For Retrofitting Existing Sprinklers With Drip Irrigation

Any pro will tell you an irrigation system will make your landscape more efficient and sustainable: That’s probably one of the reasons you had a sprinkler system installed in the first place.

But, what if you want to see if there’s a way to up your water efficiency? Then, it’s time to check out drip irrigation systems for certain areas and compare it to your current sprinkler.

What is Drip Irrigation?

As the name suggests, 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 systems provide water to specific areas on your landscape. They allow you to target plants, instead of covering a wide space all at once.

Drip irrigation is ideal for around your home. While your sprinkler sprays your lawn, it will target your plant beds. You can achieve that water efficiency by retrofitting the sprinklers that aim at your home and plant beds.

Benefits of Drip Irrigation Vs. Sprinklers

Unlike sprinklers, drip irrigation is close to or below the soil, which helps keep the water from evaporating or blowing away — and actually going where you want it.

Because of that, drip irrigation systems are water efficient, meaning lower water bills for you. And who doesn’t want that?

With sprinklers, the water will be taken wherever the wind or spray heads take it, like your windows. That can cause water stains on your windows and home, especially if you have dark siding or stucco.

If you already have irrigation heads in your plant beds and want to switch to drip irrigation, you don’t have to dig it all up and start from scratch. Luckily, you can transform your current sprinklers with some professional insight and techniques.

Here are three pro tips for retrofitting your existing sprinkler system with drip irrigation.

Where Drip Irrigation Works Best

One of the best places to install drip irrigation systems is in foundation plant beds.

One of the best places to install drip irrigation systems is in foundation plant beds.

They can be used to water your shrubs, trees, flowers or other plants and provide the exact amount of water for each.

Having them in beds (instead of through your lawn) will prevent tripping hazards if they are above ground, and you won’t run the risk of damaging them with a mower or other lawn equipment. You can also install them below ground if you want them throughout your lawn.

How To Retrofit Existing Sprinklers

Retrofitting your sprinklers isn’t rocket science, but you do need to follow certain techniques if you want your drip system to be the most efficient. That starts with picking out the right components.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when retrofitting your system.

  • Make sure you choose a drip that works best for your plants i.e. soaker style or emitters that can be added to specific areas.
  • Ensure it can be installed above or below ground (depending on what you want).

Once you have all of the components to retrofit your system, you can start switching over to having a drip irrigation system. These are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Cap off each sprinkler head with a ½-inch PVC plug, and tape it with Teflon.
  2. Pick one head, and install a ½-inch adapter after removing the head.
  3. Convert the head to a ½-inch drip line.
  4. Add emitters where needed.

You can make the retrofitted system more efficient by making it reach plants better, instead of having wasted runoff.

Why Waste Water? Read our Guide to Smart Irrigation

Find a Pro to Retrofit Your Sprinkler System

Take out the guesswork with drip irrigation and make your landscape more sustainable by turning to a professional.

We’re all about being more efficient and saving water here at Outback Landscape. We offer a full list of sprinkler services including installation, maintenance, upgrades and controllers, audits, retrofits and repairs.

Ready to start conserving water (and money on your utility bill)?

Contact us at 208-656-3220 or online to schedule a free consultation to talk about your irrigation and landscape needs.

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