How Do In-Ground Sprinklers Work?


Installing an in-ground sprinkler allows you to have more control of how and when you water your lawn. Besides, it also helps eliminate the presence of water pipes lying everywhere on the lawn. But have you ever asked yourself how underground sprinklers work?

Underground sprinklers are indeed a revolution in landscape management. The basis of in-ground sprinklers is a series of buried watering pipes adjoined with retractable sprinkler heads placed in strategic areas on your lawn. That way, your lawn gets watered easily without the need to have pipes lying all over or having to manual water the yard.

How this underground sprinkler system works is by leveraging pressure from the water flowing into the buried pipes. The pressure then pushes water above the ground, watering the lawn. The retractable sprinkler heads work to relieve that pressure, and if the water inside the in-ground pipes is strong enough, it pushes the sprinkler heads above the ground. When the water pressure in those buried pipes subsides, the sprinkler heads retract back to their original ground level height. 

When the underground sprinkler system is installed in a garden, raised-head sprinkler heads are used instead of the retractable ones. Raised-head sprinkler heads stay off the ground at all times to prevent water from being blocked by foliage, debris, or other material in the garden. In this system, water is controlled by an electronic control unit. It opens water and allows it to flow through the pipes, controls the opening and closing of valves.

Typically, the sprinkler system is divided into zones to ensure enough water pressure to water the garden. The electronic control unit regulates how these zones work by opening the valves on the target zones while closing the valves in the other zones. It allows pressure to build upon the target zone, allowing the sprinkler heads in that zone to water the garden well. After the set time expires, the control system closes the valves in one zone and opens the valves in the next zone. The process continues from one zone to the next until all the zones are watered down effectively. 

It is good to invest in a rain sensor when purchasing and installing an underground sprinkler system. A rain sensor detects when it is raining and works with the controller unit to prevent the sprinkler system from watering the lawn. 

How Should You Take Care of Your Sprinkler System?

It is essential to take care of your sprinkler system to ensure that it serves you better and longer. You can begin maintenance by cleaning the sprinkler heads every couple of weeks. Cleaning the sprinkler heads removes grass, dirt, and debris from the heads, allowing them to perform their tasks efficiently. 

Besides, if you live in a cold area with freezing temperatures, you should winterize your sprinkler system. It is not an easy take because it entails blowing any remnant water sitting in the pipes. If you find it hard to do, you can hire the services of a plumber or landscaper specialized in sprinkler systems. 

You will also need to take care of your control system. It is essential to ensure that the control system is well protected from anything that may harm or destroy it. Such things include water, animals, or other people. Besides, you should reset it when there is a lengthy electrical outage or use daylight saving settings on it. 


In-ground sprinkler systems leverage pressure from water flowing through underground pipes, then force the water through retractable sprinkler heads. Alternatively, an electric control system can open and close zone valves, allowing the system to water specific areas. You must maintain your sprinkler system to ensure that it serves you better and for longer. You can begin this by cleaning your sprinkler heads every couple of weeks to prevent damage from blockage. 

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