Maintaining Your New Irrigation System

criss-crossing spraying lawn sprinkler irrigation system on grass yard of brick house
Even though this year has seen a good amount of rain, some years in Atlanta can be drastically different. Atlanta summers can bring dry spells that make you wonder if it will ever rain again. With a landscape irrigation system in place, you do not have to worry about where your plants will find their next drink. Landscape irrigation systems tap into the main water lines. They allow you to maintain your yard cheaply and easily. For that reason, you will want to maintain your sprinkler and irrigation system. Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces provide irrigation system maintenance tips and landscaping water tips.

Landscape Irrigation System Maintenance Tips

Occasionally, check your irrigation system to make sure there is no damage from your lawnmower. Sprinkler heads can often break when mowing the lawn. If you have drip irrigation, make sure it is still working without obstructions. Check that the plants have not outgrown the space and receive enough water. The system may need to be adjusted or retrofitted to fit the plants’ needs.
Another good irrigation system maintenance tip is to replace any backup batteries. Irrigation system controllers will have a backup battery to keep their memory during a power failure. Replacing the backup batteries will keep the correct programming during a power loss.

Sprinkler System Maintenance Tips

If you suspect a leak in your system, find out by going to the main water meter. There is a very sensitive red triangle that rotates if there is even a small amount of water leaking. Make sure all faucets in the house are shut off, and then check the water meter. Then, re-check the meter after you shut down the irrigation system. If the triangle is present, there is no water movement and no leak. There is a leak if the triangle moves when the system cycle resumes.
Once you have identified a leak, find the location of the leak. To find the leak, wait for a time free of rain and a couple of days without using the sprinkler. When the system comes on the next time, check for wet areas throughout your yard. The most likely leak location is the irrigation valves or main shut-off area. Water in a low point will need to be traced to its source, such as an underground pipe.

Watering Adjustments & Timing

When maintaining your irrigation system, make sure to evaluate how much water your lawn needs. Most lawns and landscapes only need one inch of water per week. There is an easy way to determine if your lawn receives enough water. Place sups throughout your lawn turn on your sprinkler system. Time out how long it takes for one inch of water to accumulate in the cups. We recommend marking the one-inch line on the cups before placing them on the lawn.
Adjust the system if the irrigated area produces runoff water, standing water, or mud. Certain soils and slopes increase the likelihood of water accumulation. If this is happening, then adjust your cycle to a shorter duration with more frequent cycles. One example would be a thirty (30) minute cycle that becomes two 15-minute cycles. Additionally, this could be a good time to evaluate your landscape drainage. 
Evaporation makes watering in the heat of the day inefficient. Much of the water is lost before it even hits the ground. The morning time is the best time to run your irrigation system. There will be less evaporation and wind.

Prepare Your System For Winter Weather

It is never too early to prepare for freezes! You must winterize your system. In Atlanta, the ground generally does not freeze below the first inch. However, in the case of a more serious freeze, you must be prepared or you risk significant damage. Before extreme weather comes, you need to get most of the water out of the system. The shutoff valve is located underground close to the water meter. With the water shut off, use the controller to turn OFF all the zones. Then, turn ON all your zones. Allow the system timer to run through all of its cycles in its normal manner. Much of the water in your pipes will run out of the lowest irrigation heads. The water that remains will not be under pressure. In this case, your system should be fine when you turn it on after the cold weather.
One alternative is to buy a maintenance contract from an irrigation contractor. Typically, the contractor will check the system before and after winter and between seasons. They may use compressed air to remove water from the irrigation system pipes. By doing this before a freeze, it prevents damage from pipes bursting.

Irrigation Systems & Landscaping Design

Having your sprinkler system in good condition keeps your yard healthy. As a part of landscape design, the long-term health of your yard is important. By conducting irrigation system maintenance, your landscape will be healthy for years. Creating a new landscape requires expertise. If you are looking for landscaping design, contact Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces. We will work with you to build a new custom landscape