Does installing a sprinkler system ruin your lawn in New Zealand?

Water-saving lawn sprinkler available at ThinkWater.co.nz

Maintaining a beautiful lawn in New Zealand takes effort and time and not all homeowners have the time available to maintain their lawn properly. Typically, problems arise when a lawn is not properly irrigated, particularly so in the warmer, drier, summer months in New Zealand. Even the winters in New Zealand have fluctuating rainfall which creates challenges when watering the lawn. While hand watering and small lawn sprinklers can work well, they only work well if the homeowner has the time to keep moving the sprinkler around. If a proper watering schedule is not adhered to, problems start to appear in the lawn and homeowners start to think about installing a lawn sprinkler irrigation system, usually with a timer or other automation features which are aimed to save time and provide greater convenience.

So, what are the steps to installing a lawn sprinkler system in New Zealand?

Your lawn sprinkler system contractor will conduct a site inspection and come up with an irrigation system design before they even break ground. This process is extremely important to ensure the sprinkler system achieves your desired outcomes. Crucial to the design process will be a flow calculation to determine if the existing water pressure will be sufficient to operate your planned irrigation system. If not, you may need to consider splitting up the system into different areas called zones. Obviously, it will depend on the size of the area you wish to irrigate. For example large gardens may need an extra pump to boost pressure.

Once your design is finalised your lawn sprinkler system contractor will dig the trenches for the irrigation pipe, lay out the pipe, connect all the pipes, fittings and sprinkler heads and install any necessary water pumps and valves. If you use a rainwater harvesting system and have your own rainwater tanks, it is possible to connect your lawn irrigation system to your rainwater harvesting system as well. Once everything is connected, the whole system is tested by your contractor for leaks and flow. In New Zealand, your lawn sprinkler system contractor will also set up the timer and any other automation features. If you wish, your sprinkler system contractor will also advise you about a watering schedule and set up an automated irrigation system accordingly.

Will digging trenches ruin my lawn?

It is inevitable that there will be some short-term trauma to your lawn. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to mitigate this. These are:

Choose the time of the year wisely

It is best to install sprinkler irrigation systems at times when there is high moisture content in the soil. This makes digging easier for your contractor and is less stressful for your lawn. In New Zealand, the best times of the year are in spring and autumn, although this varies immensely depending on your geographic location.

Use less invasive equipment for your lawn sprinkler system installation

Your irrigation system contractor may use a trench digger. These probably leave the biggest scar on your lawn, although not a permanent one. Talk to your contractor about using a pipe puller to install the pipes. They are less intrusive as they only make a narrow slit into the ground.

Hand dig/remove sod carefully

Use a shovel to hand dig and remove the existing sod carefully and save it for replanting once the trenches have been dug, pipes laid, and trenches filled back in. Replanting/replacing the sod is a great way to quickly restore the look of your lawn. Likewise, you can buy new turf and lay it over the trenched areas. Obviously, some TLC for a few weeks will be required while the roots establish.

Soak the lawn after sprinkler system installation

There is no doubt your lawn will feel a little shocked or traumatised after the sprinkler system is installed. Over the next few days after installation, make sure your lawn is well soaked and watered. You can also gently fertilise the area to help reduce stress.

Use a specialist lawn sprinkler system contractor

Lawn sprinkler system contractors in New Zealand understand the New Zealand climate and soil conditions and will be able to install your lawn sprinkler system with minimum disturbance to your lawn. The very best contractors leave hardly any imprint and clean up after themselves so you would barely know they were there.  

It is clearly very possible to install a lawn sprinkler system without any long-term damage to your lawn. In fact, your lawn will most likely thrive and benefit from the new watering system, watering schedule and automation features of your system.

If you are thinking of installing a lawn sprinkler system in New Zealand, talk to our friendly team at Think Water about the many options available to you.

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