Sprinkler System 101

Sprinkler System Basics from Lee Engineering – Dallas, Fort Worth

Despite the recent erratic temperature fluctuations, Dallas area homeowners are beginning to plan for warmer weather. Before planting new landscaping this spring, it is wise to perform a check-up on your irrigation. Use the following information as a guideline to prep your irrigation system for summer’s increase in water demands.

Types of Sprinkler Heads

There are many variations of sprinkler head designs. Depending on your specific needs, your irrigation system may have a combination of the following sprinkler heads:

  • Fixed spray heads
  • Rotary spray heads
  • Pop-up sprinkler heads
  • Multiple stream spray heads


Fixed Sprinkler Spray Head

This type of nozzle produces a tight, constant fan of water. Fixed sprinkler heads can be stationary or pop-up and are typically used for smaller lawns, shrubs, and near ground cover.

rotating sprinkler head repair

Rotating Irrigation Head

Rotary heads generally have one powerful stream of water that rotates in a full or partial circle to irrigate the surrounding turf. These spray nozzles are commonly found in medium to large yards and are often used on side lawns. Most rotary heads are also pop-up heads.

pop up sprinkler head

Pop-up Sprinkler Head

Nowadays, most sprinkler systems are designed with pop-up heads that retract at the end of the watering cycle. Even so, spray heads are commonly damaged by lawnmower blades or other landscaping tools. These easily concealed heads provide a low, even distribution of water for all size lawns and gardens.

Multiple Stream Sprinkler Head

This spray head is similar to the old-school sprinklers that many of us(in the South) played in during our childhood on scorching hot summer days. The only difference is multiple stream sprinkler heads aren’t portable. Instead of hooking up to the water hose, these rotating sprays connect to underground irrigation pipes.

You may notice these types of sprinkler heads on sloping or uneven landscapes. Our Licensed Irrigators usually recommend replacing multiple stream heads with a more efficient, pressure-regulating head to reduce irrigation water waste.


Broken Sprinkler Heads

Before running your sprinkler system, perform a visual inspection for broken heads. Since most irrigation systems are scheduled to run in the wee morning hours, damaged sprinkler heads often go unnoticed. In fact, many homeowners aren’t aware of the issue until they get an outrageous water bill in the mail.

To replace damaged heads, simply unscrew the head(also called a stem) and bring it to your local hardware store for a replacement.

Misaligned Spray Patterns

Systematically run each zone, making note of obstructed and misaligned spray patterns. Prevent dry, dead patches in your landscaping by trimming back any shrubs that interfere with spray heads. Adjust spray heads to avoid excessive over-spray on sidewalks, driveways, and areas that are prone to rot(such as window seals).

Adjusting Your Sprinkler Heads

Depending on the manufacturer, you will need a couple of tools to adjust the direction of spray on your rotor heads. Here are a few helpful tutorial videos for common brands:

How to Adjust a Hunter Rotor Sprinkler Head

How to Adjust a Rain Bird  Rotating Sprinkler Head

Other Helpful Sprinkler Repair DIY Tutorials

Seasonal Watering Schedule

Unless you have a Wi-Fi enabled smart controller, you should be manually adjusting your watering schedule throughout the year. Follow the schedule below for best results.

seasonal water adjustments for sprinkler systems in north Texas

Traditional irrigation controllers require seasonal adjustments.

Consult with a Licensed Irrigator from Lee Engineering if you have questions or concerns about your irrigation system. Find out why we’ve been serving Dallas Ft. Worth and surrounding since 1971.

What is included in a Lee Engineering check-up?

• Inspection for leaks and broken/misaligned heads
• Cleaning and adjustment of clogged spray nozzles
• Evaluation of controller settings and seasonal adjustments
• Testing the rain/freeze sensor for proper function
• Efficiency evaluation of entire system (one per year)
• Recommendations for watering efficiencies
• Visual inspection of backflow preventer (if accessible) and instructions on proper operation

Complete the request form below to schedule your check-up.











Kristina GautreauxSprinkler System 101

Comments 1

  1. Mark Murphy

    I really appreciate your tip on how rotating heads are usually found in medium to large yards. My wife and I have been thinking of getting a new yard that is bigger so our dogs can run around outside. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should try and get rotating heads since our yard is so big!

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