A healthy garden needs water to survive and flourish, but relying entirely on natural rainfall is not always a good way to provide water. A garden sprinkler offers you the opportunity to automate your watering schedule according to your plant’s needs and also the convenience of spraying water directly where it needs to go. But, before you install your garden sprinkler, it is essential to do your research to make informed decisions. Then, the question remains, do you need a license for a garden sprinkler?
Most states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Texas, require some form of irrigation contractor licensing or certification to install a turf or landscape irrigation system legally. For example, Texas signed the law HB2507 on June 17, 2011, to make it a class C misdemeanor for a person to install an irrigation system without a license.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about a garden sprinkler, its pros and cons, how much it costs, and excellent for hiring a reliable irrigation systems contractor.
Do You Need A License For A Garden Sprinkler?
A license is required to install a sprinkler system inside a building. Installing a garden sprinkler requires building an irrigation system requiring a decent amount of plumbing and wiring. Therefore, your city may require you to get a permit or meet other local regulations before you can start installing your garden sprinkler system.
According to the Housing and Community Investment Department, in Los Angeles, installing a new sprinkler valve for yard watering, except for the valves, yard-sprinkler piping does not require a permit. However, depending on the state or local regulations, a lawn sprinkler permit is not required when you make repairs to the piping of an existing lawn irrigation system unless you are replacing the backflow prevention assembly.
Certain states, including Texas, adopted laws that make it a criminal offense to operate without a license to protect gardeners and homeowners. For example, the HB2507 law in Texas aims to protect gardeners and homeowners, just like you, from violations.
How Much Does a Garden Irrigation System Cost?
A garden irrigation system costs $2,150 per acre on average and is commonly between $1,800 and $2,500, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
In addition, several factors affect the final cost of a garden irrigation system, including the size of your yard, the quality of materials, and the difficulty of the project factor. However, installing a small home garden sprinkler may cost you as little as $50.
Garden Sprinkler Pros and Cons
The table below shows the pros and cons of a garden sprinkler.
|Advantages of Garden Sprinkler
|Disadvantages of Garden Sprinkler
|– You can set your garden sprinkler to automatically stop and start within your preferred time frame for the highest effectiveness and save time.
– With a professionally designed garden sprinkler, you can strategically position it to direct the water depending on your timing and location.
– It offers you freedom, and you don’t need to make your plans around your watering schedule
– Garden Sprinklers are eco-friendly because they reduce the amount of water you use to water your garden with your irrigation system’s strategic timing and placement.
|– You must monitor your garden sprinkler consistently to ensure optimal performance.
– Also, you will need to perform seasonal maintenance each spring and fall to prevent freezing and water leakage damage.
– It requires repairs because your garden sprinkler heads may become damaged, and their components can deteriorate or malfunction over time.
– Also, wind can reduce the effectiveness of your garden sprinkler by blowing the water in an unintended direction, resulting in areas that receive too little water or too much.
Is it Better to Hand Water or Use a Sprinkler?
Even though there are high initial costs associated with installing a garden sprinkler; however, the benefits could certainly be worth the investment.
Both hand watering and garden sprinkler offer tremendous benefits, and both have disadvantages. Here is a snapshot of the pros and cons of hand watering or garden sprinkler compared side by side.
|Benefits of hand watering
|Benefits of Garden Sprinkler
|– Allows you to spend time with your plants – Gardening has tremendous benefits. While you hand water your garden, you can enjoy all the health benefits of gardening.
– Allows you to detect plant-specific issues in a timely way. Aphids on your kale? Early blossoms on the tomatoes? Does your broccoli plant need a stake? When hand watering your garden, you will notice these things; you would have missed them if you only used a sprinkler.
– Hand watering gives you lots of time to inspect each plant daily. By catching any issue early, you have time to remedy the situation before getting out of control. Hand watering lets you adjust the amount of water depending on each plant’s conditions and helps reduce fungal diseases. For instance, soil-borne fungal diseases can also be an issue when growing tomatoes, and fungi usually thrive in moist, humid conditions, primarily on leaves that remain wet for long periods.
– Hand watering directs the water low to the ground, keeping the foliage dry, and the water is applied lightly so it doesn’t bounce up and wet the lower foliage.
|– Garden irrigation is an art. If you water your plants too little, they may begin wilting. If you overwater them, you could accidentally drown their roots.
– Adequate garden watering is all about timing. Did you know early morning is the best time to water? Watering throughout the day leads to improved evaporation, and watering in the evening can result in poor water absorption. For example, if you don’t like waking up at 5 a.m., you would love having a garden sprinkler system that does the job for you.
– With a garden sprinkler, you don’t need to worry about watering your garden while you are out of town or if you have a day job or taking care of your loved ones. With an automatic garden sprinkler, you can set the timer, turn on the sensors, and know your garden will be watered.
Most Common Mistakes People Make Before Installing Their First Sprinkler
- Failure to have a license and insurance and provide a warranty
- Failure to do their due diligence before digging
- Throwing water across walkways, driveways, or sidewalks
- Failure to install a backflow and have that backflow inspected
- Failing to install a rain sensor
- Failure to present an as-built drawing of the sprinkler system once it is installed
- And failure to pull permits and present a year-round watering schedule
You can avoid all these mistakes by hiring a reliable irrigation systems contractor, and below are a few tips to help you succeed.
Best Tips for Hiring An Irrigation Systems Contractor
- Make sure your contractor is licensed
- Discuss his warranty upfront
- Ensure that permits are being pulled, especially if you live within a city
- Ask to inspect the sprinkler system design before installation starts
- Ensure a backflow device is installed, thoroughly inspected, and insulated
- Ensure a cut-off valve is well installed and know its exact location
- Ensure you have a rain sensor installed in your garden.
- Make sure you learn how to use the controller and read and keep the owner’s manual.
- Ensure a backup battery is installed in your controller so you don’t lose your settings.
- Get a detailed watering schedule describing your watering times for every zone for all seasons.
- Make sure that you are not throwing water across a walkway or sidewalk.
- Obtain an as-built drawing showing you where the pipe, heads, and valves are located.
- And finally, before you make the final payment to the irrigation systems contractor, they meet all the abovementioned requirements.
Often, a reputable contractor will know these issues and take care of any permits, but it is still prudent to ask questions and double-check that they have practiced due diligence.
Do You Really Need a License to Install Irrigation Systems in Florida?
You are required to have an irrigation contractor’s license if you are planning to install lawn sprinkler systems, especially for-profit businesses in the state of Florida, or if you want to put a new system on your property without requiring the help of outside contractors. Also, Florida has regulations on irrigation contractors by county.
Before embarking on installing your sprinklers by yourself, make sure to do extensive research. And here is a link to a great source to learn more about what work requires and does not require a license in Florida.
Is an Irrigation System The Same as a Sprinkler System?
There is no difference between lawn irrigation systems and lawn sprinkler systems. Irrigation is what a sprinkler system does, meaning a sprinkler irrigates your lawn.
An irrigation system is usually below the ground; therefore, you can’t see it. And, it is easy for poor work to remain hidden until you have to break the bank for repairs or upgrades. That is why it might seem essential to require a garden or irrigation system license.
Depending on your location, you will need a license for a garden sprinkler. And a few states have regulations to protect gardeners against bad contractors’ malpractices.
If you decide to install a garden sprinkler, call your local authorities to discuss all your responsibilities and requirements, including licensing. And if you are hiring a contractor, ensure they meet all the requirements outlined in this article.