Commercial Lawn Care Salt Lake City, UT

Irrigation System Design Part I: Choosing Sprinklers

Posted : October 3, 2018

There are many different elements that go into choosing an irrigation system design. One of the most important parts of setting up your irrigation system is selecting the type of sprinkler that best fits your needs. There are several types of sprinkler heads, but each serves a different purpose.

Types of Sprinklers

Sprinkler heads are generally grouped into two categories based on how they distribute water: spray type sprinklers and rotor type sprinklers. However, due to newer technology, there are now types of sprinklers that combine the two categories.

Spray Heads

Spray heads, also known as “fixed spray heads” are smaller heads that spray a fan-shaped pattern of water – similar to a shower head. Most spray heads use interchangeable nozzles installed on the sprinkler which regulate the pattern and the radius of the water throw. Some spray heads allow for specialty patterns for longer, more narrow areas. Typically, spray heads are spaced about 18 feet apart. They also need around 20 to 30 PSI of water pressure to operate correctly.

Commercial Lawn Care Salt Lake City, UT


Rotors are sprinklers that operate by rotating streams of water back and forth, or in circles over the landscape. There are a few types of rotors. The “impact” rotor is the sprinkler people are most familiar with due to the distinct sound it makes while running. It moves back and forth shooting bursts of water.

The “gear driven” rotors are another type of rotor, but are much quieter, lower maintenance, and smaller than an impact rotor. They shoot one or more streams of water across the landscape when operating.

Another type of rotor is the “multi-stream” rotor. These rotors spray several streams of water while rotating over the landscape. They can be spaced anywhere from 8 to 65 feet apart. Multi-stream rotors require a significantly more pressure to operate efficiently due to the wider spacing.

An extra tip to consider: If you want to space rotors 35 feet or more apart, you will need at least 35 PSI of pressure at the sprinkler head, but preferably closer to 45 PSI since pressure is lost in the pipes and valves as the water moves toward the sprinklers.

Rotary Nozzles & Rotators

Recently, a new type of miniature rotors has been introduced to the market and become popular. These are known as rotary nozzles or rotator nozzles. They are a small rotor that is about the same size as a standard nozzle on a spray-type sprinkler allowing them to fit onto smaller, more affordable spray head pop-up bodies. Rotary/rotator nozzles are often more efficient than traditional spray heads since they produce less mist that evaporates before reaching the ground making them the more eco-friendly option over standard spray heads. Rotary/rotator nozzles have a radius between 15 and 35 feet, however the exact distance depends on the model you select. Regardless of the model, they all use several streams of water that rotate around the nozzle.

Additional Tips

Here are a few of things to consider when deciding on a sprinkler head for your irrigation system:

  • Consider water pressure: if your water pressure is below 40 PSI, consider using spray or rotary nozzles.
  • Area that needs irrigated: if the area is long and narrow, look into rotary nozzles. If the area is larger than 30’ x 30’, rotors may work best. For areas that curved edges, consider smaller rotary nozzles or spray-type sprinklers.
  • Talk to your landscaping contractor or company if you have any other questions regarding irrigation system design.

Want to Set Up Your Irrigation System in the Salt Lake City Area?

At Aeroscape, we are ready to assist you with setting up your irrigation system. Give us a call at (801) 567-2383 or click on our Contact an Expert green arrow on any page of our website to get in touch with us today.

Check back with us next month for Part 2 on Irrigation System Design: Basic Body Styles.