Like many people, I have a drip line system that waters my garden, but I was thinking about also adding a sprinkler system. Obviously, I wanted to avoid adding more tubing, so I was wondering: Can you put sprinklers on a drip line system? Here is what I found out:
Although it is possible for sprinklers to be added to a drip line system, it is inefficient and unnecessary. Drip line irrigation systems provide enough water for lawns and flower beds that will last for 1-3 weeks, so sprinklers don’t need to be used alongside a drip line.
Now that you know that it is possible to add sprinkler heads to a drip line, but it isn’t necessary. One system works fine on its own and there’s no real reason to combine them in this way. But if you are wondering how to add sprinklers to drip lines or just want to know which watering system is more efficient, we’ll discuss it below.
Should You Put Sprinklers on a Drip Line?
Although it is possible to add a sprinkler head to a drip line system, you shouldn’t add one because the systems aren’t compatible. Sprinklers need a bit more pressure to build up within the pipes to work properly (around 30 psi), while drip lines don’t need as much (around 25 psi). The most crucial aspect is, that drip lines will still work with a lower pressure while sprinklers will stop working properly at some point.
Drip line systems slowly provide a large amount of water underground that will last for at least 1-3 weeks, so they don’t need to be used daily. Sprinkler systems are often used daily and spray water above the ground.
As the sprinkler system tries to build up pressure and the sprinkler works, the drip line tubing will also be providing water to your plants and grass at the same time, and more water than normal will escape from the hose because of the pressure that the sprinkler system is trying to build up so it can work properly. This means that your water bill will increase and your plants will become overwatered.
It may be tempting to add a sprinkler head to a drip line because you won’t have to empty the water out of the pipes before winter. Because the drip line would let the water flow out without you having to do anything, you shouldn’t add a sprinkler head to a drip line. Better use automatic drain valves or king drains. You can find more information about them in my article here.
Now that you know why you shouldn’t put a sprinkler on a drip line, you are likely wondering if you can use drip tubing with a sprinkler system.
Can You Use Drip Tubing for Sprinklers?
Although you can use drip tubing with a sprinkler system, it can also be inefficient. Drip tubing allows water to flow out throughout the tubing, and sprinkler systems need pressure to build up in order to work correctly. If you extend the sprinkler system with a drip line at the wrong place, the additional lost pressure might lead to the remaining sprinklers not working properly.
If you use drip tubing with sprinklers, you also won’t be able to control the amount of water that is going to your lawn and plants because you won’t be able to see most of the water that is going to them. You will only be able to see the water that comes through the sprinklers.
What you can do, though is to convert an existing sprinkler system to a drip line system. Just read this article here.
Should I Use Drip Irrigation or a Sprinkler System?
Sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are both great and will provide water for your lawn and flower beds. The specific system you should use depends on where you live, the slope of your lawn, and which one you personally prefer to use.
Drip irrigations systems are great because they provide water directly to the roots of the grass and flowers that are on your lawn. Drip irrigation systems are commonly found near flowerbeds, and the water doesn’t evaporate quickly because it is underground rather than on top of the soil. (Source)
If you live in an area where it is consistently very hot, then a drip irrigation system will work well for you because the low evaporation rate means you can conserve water better than with a sprinkler system. Drip lines slowly use water so you can use less overall to help your plants and lawn thrive. However, if your lawn is slanted towards your house, then you don’t want to use a drip irrigation system and should use a sprinkler system instead. (Source)
According to a former sprinkler and drip line system installer, if you use a drip line and your lawn is slanted towards your house, the foundation of your house will eventually become compromised because the water will flow towards your house, even if the drip line system is level and well-designed. It is expensive to repair the foundation of a house, so be very careful.
Sprinklers need to be used almost daily, while drip line systems only need to be used every few weeks because of the slow evaporation rate and because of how slowly the water is distributed to the plants.
Overall, both sprinklers and drip line systems are great and will provide plenty of water to your plants and grass to help them thrive and grow so you can be proud of your lawn and enjoy seeing beautiful flowers. The one you choose to use is ultimately up to you, but you shouldn’t use both systems at the same time.