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Building the Right Irrigation System for Your Commercial Landscape

As a busy property manager, you understand the importance of a beautiful, well-maintained landscape, but creating the right irrigation system can be a daunting task. With so many options available and various factors to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Whether you are looking to upgrade to a smart irrigation system or need a completely new installation, let’s explore the different types of commercial irrigation systems and how they can benefit your Boulder, CO property. 

Types of Commercial Irrigation Systems

Efficient and effective irrigation is crucial for maintaining healthy landscapes in commercial settings. From office parks and shopping centers to sports fields and public parks, the right irrigation system ensures lush greenery while conserving water and reducing landscaping costs. Let’s look at the three types of commercial irrigation systems to consider at your Boulder, CO property. 

Traditional Commercial Watering Systems

Traditional sprinkler systems are a staple in commercial landscaping. They are designed to cover large areas and are ideal for lawns, gardens, and expansive landscapes. These systems consist of a network of underground pipes and various sprinkler heads strategically placed to provide even coverage. The heads can be stationary or rotating, depending on the needs of your landscape.

Traditional irrigation systems have controllers that operate on pre-set schedules. They rely on manual adjustments to this timer to control watering times and durations. 

commercial maintenance irrigation system crew making adjustments

“Smart” Commercial Irrigation Systems

Smart irrigation systems are designed in the same way as traditional ones, with additional features including pressure regulating heads, rain and freeze sensors, leak detection, and the system’s controller. Smart irrigation systems utilize advanced technology to help optimize water use. They integrate sensors, weather data, and automated controls to adjust watering schedules as conditions change. For example, smart irrigation systems will automatically adjust based on rainfall, temperature, or humidity. In addition, grounds crew or property owners can view, manage, and update the watering schedule from a phone or desktop app without even being physically near the controller.  

Smart irrigation systems significantly reduce water wastage, allow for more customization for different areas and plant types, and lead to long-term savings on water bills and maintenance costs due to efficient water use and early leak detection. 

Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to the plant roots through a network of tubes, pipes, and emitters. This method is highly efficient, as it minimizes water loss due to evaporation and runoff. This type of irrigation is ideal for landscaped areas with trees, shrubs, and flower beds and works hand in hand with standard sprinkler systems that take care of turf areas.

Here in Colorado, we recommend that all planting beds have drip irrigation. We advise strongly against using microjets within your planting beds, which are small emitters designed to distribute water ina fine mist over a specified area. You can usually see these installed on stakes or risers. Microjets are not only extremely inefficient, but they can actually contribute to an increase in weed growth and can lead to foliage damage. 

Assessing Your Commercial Lawn and Irrigation Needs

Evaluating your commercial lawn and irrigation needs involves careful consideration of the type of plants, the layout of your property, and the specifics of your water supply. By selecting the right sprinkler heads, ensuring proper coverage, and tailoring your irrigation zones and schedules, you can achieve a beautiful, well-maintained landscape while optimizing water use and minimizing waste. Here’s a detailed guide on key considerations for your commercial irrigation system. 

commercial maintenance irrigation system controls

Considerations for Turf Irrigation

When it comes to irrigation turf, the type of sprinkler head you choose is crucial:

  • Spray Heads: Ideal for shorter distances, spray heads deliver water in a fan-like pattern and are best suited for small to medium-sized areas. They provide even coverage over a shorter range.
  • Rotor Heads: Designed for longer distances, rotor heads rotate to distribute water over a larger area. They are more efficient for expansive lawns due to their ability to cover greater distances with adjustable spray patterns. 

Remember: Avoid mixing spray heads and rotor heads within the same irrigation zone. These heads have different water application rates, which can lead to uneven watering and inefficiencies in your irrigation system. 

Considering Coverage, Programming, and Zone Management

In turf zones, achieving head-to-head coverage is essential for uniform watering. Ensure that the spray from each sprinkler head reaches the adjacent heads. This overlap prevents dry spots and ensures that every part of the lawn receives adequate water. Properly spaced heads and overlapping sprays reduce water waste and promote consistent growth across the entire turf area.

Effective programming and management of your irrigation zones is critical. It’s important that only one irrigation zone runs at a time. Running multiple zones simultaneously can lead to reduced water pressure and inefficient watering, resulting in inadequate coverage and potential water waste. Adjusting the watering schedule for each zone based on plant type, sun exposure, and soil conditions ensures that each area receives the right amount of water.

The most crucial factor in sizing your irrigation zones is water pressure, which is measured in gallons per minute. This information helps experts determine how many sprinkler heads can operate simultaneously within a zone, thereby informing the number of zones required and the number of heads per zone. 

Residential landscape design landscape beds with drip irrigation

Considering Environmental Factors of Commercial Watering Systems

When designing and implementing commercial watering systems, it’s essential to consider various environmental factors to ensure sustainability and efficiency. The climate here in Boulder plays a significant role, as our local weather patterns and seasonal variations directly influence the water needs of your landscape. Since our region is prone to drought, prioritizing water conservation is crucial. Consider using drought-resistant plants and incorporating smart irrigation system technology to help reduce excess water consumption. 

The environmental impact of watering systems also extends to runoff and water usage. This means it is important to select the system that best minimizes water waste. Enhancing the overall efficiency of your irrigation system by regularly maintaining equipment, optimizing watering schedules, and using targeted watering methods like drip irrigation can significantly reduce the ecological footprint, promoting a greener and more sustainable commercial landscape.

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Selecting the Right Commercial Irrigation System for Your Property 

Choosing the right irrigation system for your commercial property can be challenging, but with experts by your side, the process becomes much more manageable. Our team at LID Landscapes is ready to meet with you to discuss the best options for your property, ensuring a beautiful and sustainable landscape. 

Whether you’re considering an upgrade to a smart or WiFi irrigation system or need an entire system installed, our experts will guide you through the process. For smart or WiFi systems, you can typically budget around $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the number of zones. For a complete commercial irrigation system installation, pricing will be determined by the number of zones required to adequately cover your landscape. 

After your irrigation system is installed, regular maintenance is essential to keep it operating efficiently. Our maintenance services include system activations and winterizations, repairs from winter operations, full system inspections and adjustments, and any necessary repairs during the growing season. Bundling landscape maintenance and/or snow removal services  services with irrigation services can help reduce the labor costs of irrigation repairs and installations, offering you a comprehensive solution that ensures your landscape remains healthy and vibrant year-round. 

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Ready to partner with the experts at LID Landscapes for commercial irrigation systems in Boulder, CO? Fill out our contact form today

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Andrew Holler

Andrew Holler

Andrew Holler graduated from CU Boulder in 2015 and began working on an installation crew at LID Landscapes shortly after. While working in the field, Andrew was able to broaden his knowledge of the landscape industry and was promoted to Operations Manager in 2018. In this role, Andrew helps to run our Design-Build and Snow Management departments, inventory and purchasing, fleet and facilities management, marketing and information technology, and accounts payable. Andrew is a Certified Snow Professional (CSP) and his contributions have led to various process improvements for the company.