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Here’s How to Choose the Right Hose and Sprinkler for Your Lawn

Here’s How to Choose the Right Hose and Sprinkler for Your Lawn

Regular watering is essential to maintaining your lawn and garden. Depending on the type of lawn or garden you have, a sprinkler or garden hose (or both) can make the job a lot easier.  

This guide outlines the various types of hoses, sprinklers, nozzles and related watering accessories to help you make informed choices that meet all your watering needs.

When to Use a Garden Hose

As the name suggests, a garden hose is your best choice for watering a garden. Unlike a sprinkler, it lets you precisely direct the spray, watering only plants that need it and avoiding those that don’t. And if you have a lot of potted plants outside, watering them from a garden hose is easier than lugging around a heavy watering can.

When to Use a Sprinkler

A sprinkler is best for watering your lawn because it can cover a wide area with a diffused spray of water. Small sprinklers can be a good choice for gardens as well if you have an area that’s hard to reach or requires a steady stream of water.

Different Types of Hoses

Hoses come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are designed for different uses. The one you choose depends on the size of your garden and your watering needs.
Classic Garden Hose 
A standard garden hose is your most versatile option. You can use it for watering, as well as outdoor cleaning and chores, making it a handy tool for any household. It’s an essential component of running a sprinkler. 
Coiled Garden Hose 
A coiled garden hose is unique. It’s resting shape is a small coil, but it will stretch out and retract as you move about watering different areas of your garden. This makes for neat, compact storage, and it eliminates the need to wind the hose back up when finished.  
Contractor or Farm Hose 
This type of hose is well-suited to commercial work like industrial farming, landscaping, or other activities that require a high volume of water. The heavy-duty design features a larger diameter and weight compared to standard garden hoses. 
Expandable Hose 
An expandable garden hose scrunches up when not in use, and expands up to three times in length when water flows through it. This type of hose is lightweight and easy to store, making it the perfect choice for small homes and gardens. 
Flat Hose 
A flat hose only becomes round when water flows through it. This type of hose is lightweight, self-draining, and easy to roll up and store. However, because of its shape a flat hose can be difficult to move around corners and prone to puncture due to the flexible material.  
Soaker Hose
A soaker hose has a perforated surface that allows water to slowly seep through. It’s best used for flower beds and vegetable gardens. Since the hose lies flat on the ground, it helps prevent disease and infection from affecting the foliage of your plants. It also allows the water to flow directly to plant roots for more effective watering.

Features to Consider When Buying a Garden Hose

From overall hose length to nozzle type, there are a number of different features and components to consider when purchasing a garden hose. Here’s a quick rundown.

Nozzles

Your nozzle attaches to the end of your hose and directs the water spray. The type of nozzle you choose should depend on your specific watering needs. Here are the most common hose nozzles: 

A dial nozzle, also known as a pattern nozzle, offers the most versatility. It has different spray patterns to cover a variety of watering needs whether you’re watering plants and flowers or using the hose for everyday cleaning jobs like washing a car or rinsing off decks and patios. 

A fan nozzle has a wide mouth which disperses a wide spray of fan-shaped water. It offers the kind of gentle touch necessary for watering delicate flowers and plants.  

A firefighter’s nozzle has a high-pressure water stream that produces a water flow that’s too powerful for flowers, young plants and delicate foliage, so it should be used for outdoor cleaning chores more than watering. 

Pistol grip nozzles are the most common design for a garden hose nozzle. The handle gives you control over the water pressure and spray when you squeeze down. 

Fan nozzles are for garden or lawn irrigation. Water drips out slowly, watering deeply into the soil and preventing soil or nutrient runoff. 

This type of garden hose nozzle is usually made from brass or metal, and you can control the water pressure by twisting the handle. There are no spray settings, but the stream pressure can be adjusted to anywhere between a jet of water and a mist. 

A water wand has an extended reach, making it your best choice if your garden has a lot of large plants or hard to reach areas. Some models come with adjustable spray settings or a telescopic handle for an extra-long reach.

Length

Garden hoses come in a wide range of lengths running from 25 to 100 feet. It’s important to get the right length because the longer the hose is, the harder it is to maneuver. Measure how far you need to reach from the water supply or spigot, and add a couple of feet for good measure: you want to give yourself room enough room to avoid tugging on the hose.

Hose Size

The hose size refers to its diameter, which ranges from 3/8-inch to ¾-inch. The larger the size, or diameter, the heavier the water flow. Standard garden hoses are 5/8-inches in diameter. You may want to choose a larger size if you have landscaping or contract work that requires a heavy flow of water.

Couplings

Your coupling is the hose connector that attaches your hose to the water supply, sprinkler heads, nozzles or even other hoses. Plastic couplings with ergonomic grips are the easiest to use, and are more comfortable for people with limited hand strength. Metal and brass couplings are more durable and leak-proof, but can be more difficult to loosen and tighten.

Material

Most hoses are made from rubber and vinyl or a combination of both. Vinyl is the most lightweight and the least expensive, but can get damaged and degrade from sun exposure or harsh weather. A rubber hose is usually heavier and more expensive, but is also long-lasting, durable and can carry hot water. Reinforced hoses are also available, with mesh linings to prevent kinking and splitting.

The Different Types of Sprinklers

There are a number of different types of sprinklers available to help you with all your watering needs, whether it’s for your lawn or garden. Here are the most popular sprinkler head options:
Fixed Sprinklers 
A fixed, stationary or spiked sprinkler sprays a water pattern over a fixed area. It can have a single water pattern or rotating pattern and is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. This sprinkler is best used for small yards and gardens or when you need to water a very specific area.  
Impact Sprinklers 
An impact sprinkler sprays a powerful jet of water in a circular pattern. The spray is high-pressure so it doesn’t get blown away in the wind and can cover a large area, making it perfect for watering large lawns and low-hanging trees. Impact sprinklers can be adjusted in terms of water pressure, length of spray and pattern. 
In-Ground Sprinkler 
In-ground sprinklers are a type of lawn sprinkler system that’s installed in the ground and pops out at a scheduled time. It is usually set on a cycle that covers the entire yard, making it the best choice for landscaping and for very large backyards. 
Oscillating Sprinkler 
An oscillating sprinkler has a rotating barrel or tube with a number of small nozzles. It sprays water as it moves back and forth, creating a fan-shaped waterfall. It works well for large lawns and gardens. 
Rotating Sprinkler 
Rotating sprinklers have a base with two or more arms that spin to spray out water in a circle. It has a gentle and steady stream of water, so it’s a great choice for large flowerbeds, shrubs and open lawns. 
Travelling Sprinkler 
A travelling sprinkler has a base on wheels that can travel over your lawn in pre-set patterns to disperse water. It is the best choice for covering flat, large areas like front yards and backyards.

Sprinkler Features and Components to Consider

Sprinklers come with a lot of different features—some standard, some optional. It’s important to know how they work when you’re choosing and using your sprinkler.

Automatic Timer

An automatic timer lets you set a time for your sprinkler to turn on. It’s most commonly found on lawn irrigation units or as part of a lawn sprinkler system. It makes it easy to control and monitor your watering schedule.

Automatic Shutoff Valve

This feature turns the sprinkler system off when it completes a pre-set pattern. It protects your lawn and garden from over-watering and helps save on your utility costs.

Backflow Preventer

A backflow preventer stops irrigation water from going back into your main water supply. This helps to prevent your drinking water from becoming contaminated.

Flow Timer

A flow timer lets you set the amount of water your sprinkler emits, so you can control and monitor the water flow effectively.

Manifolds

A manifold is found in sprinkler irrigation systems and refers to the sprinkler valves grouped together that control the water flow.

Sprinkler Tubing

Sprinkler tubing is used to repair or install water sprinkler systems.

Valve

The main valve controls the water flow rate and is the most essential part of a sprinkler system.

Valve Box

A valve box holds the manifolds and valves together in irrigation sprinkler systems.

Storing Your Hose and Sprinkler

Ensuring your sprinkler and hose are stored safely helps prevents kinks and other damage. Proper storage also helps prevent injuries as it’s easy to get tangled up or trip over long hoses if they’re not wrapped up.  

A hose reel is the best way to store your garden hose. It can be a wall-mounted or stand-alone unit, and it usually features a handle that wraps the hose around a centre hub for effective storage and easy use. 

Some hose reels come in a storage box to protect the hose from sun damage and other elements. There are also types of hoses, like coiled hoses, that can’t be reeled effectively. In that case, a storage bin or even a large pot would be a better storage option than a hose reel. 

Remove the nozzle from the hose after reeling it in to ensure it drains to prevent damage. You can keep sprinkler heads and nozzles neatly organized on shelves or in storage bins in your garage, basement or shed.

Watering Tips

Sprinklers and hoses make watering your lawn and garden much easier, but careful oversight is required. Overwatering can cause plants to develop fungal infections, while poor or infrequent watering can damage plant roots and cause your lawn to dry out. 

The type of plants, lawn and soil you have should dictate your watering habits, but you can also keep these general tips in mind to get started:  
  • Morning watering helps prevent midday-sun evaporation while still allowing time for grass and plants to dry  
  • Avoid night watering as it can promote insect infestations, fungus growth and disease 
  • Keep water flowing at the base of the plant near the roots to prevent shallow root growth 
  • Light watering over several hours vs concentrated all at once helps ensure the water penetrates the soil and reaches deep roots 
  • Lawns only need about one inch of water per week during hot or dry spells 
  • Test if your potted plants need watering by sticking your finger in the soil: if dry up to your second knuckle it’s time to water
You’re now on your way to growing a lush lawn and healthy garden. Take the next step and browse our selection of sprinklers and hoses to find what best suits your needs. Happy watering!
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