Top 3 Irrigation System Upgrades

Ben Collinsworth

top 3 irrigation system upgradesJust like your mobile devices, irrigation systems also need to be updated periodically to maximize efficiency.

Well-maintained and upgraded irrigation systems will help save you money and water, which are especially important benefits with Texas’s drought season.

In some areas, you can even earn rebates for upgrading your irrigation system. So, that’s an additional savings if you qualify.

There are a few different types of upgrades you can add to your system, and the price for each can vary widely depending on the amount of stations needed and the state of the current system on the property.

To give you an idea of what’s available, here are the top 3 upgrades to add to your irrigation system.


Irrigation Controllers

irrigation upgrade irrigation controllerAdding an irrigation controller to your system will allow you to set start/stop irrigation times, adjust the duration of watering and target specific zones on the property.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, you can tailor your watering schedules to your landscapes needs without having to make the adjustments manually each time — making the system more efficient.

So, you’ll be able to set the system to water your grass more often than shrubs, or water clay soils in shorter intervals than other areas to help the water soak in and avoid runoff.

There are a wide range of controllers available for both drip and spray irrigation systems.


Irrigation Sensors

To expand your controller’s capabilities, you can also add sensors to your system, including rain/freeze, soil moisture, weather data and remote operation sensors.

Sensors that detect rainfall and cold temperatures have a fairly quick installation time. These will shut the irrigation system off when it rains or reaches freezing temps, which helps prevent overwatering and damage.

If you have a Wi-Fi, cellular or cable connection, you can use a sensor with weather station data, instead of the rain and freeze sensors. It will pull data from the closest weather station. That helps make your system proactive to changing weather, instead of just reacting to the current conditions.

You can also use a remote operation sensor to cut back on water consumption. One of the main selling points with this type of system is its reporting capabilities.

With it, clients and suppliers can receive alerts when a valve is stuck on or if a station isn’t responding. That allows for a quicker repair and creates a better environment for healthy plant material.


Remote Monitoring for Your Irrigation System

There are also some new wireless remote-controlled systems that work on sites that have consistent Wi-Fi. This gives you the capability to control the system from any location.

Each controller needs to have access or use cellular cards for each controller and pay a monthly fee, typically $19 a month per controller (prices range). Or, if a site is CAT 5 cable accessible to the controllers, it will also work with the remote monitoring.


Time To Upgrade

Once your property’s irrigation system is in the ground and out of sight, don’t forget about it.

Adding upgrades — like controllers, sensors and remote monitoring — can improve your system and enhance its benefits and accessibility.

Instead of just wondering if it’s working, you can use these upgrades to monitor and control the system — plus receive notifications if something is wrong. The upgrades allow you to schedule water times, base schedules off your local weather, water by zones and more.

Contact Native Land Design to see which irrigation system upgrades will work best on your property.


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Image Credit: Rain Bird

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Ben Collinsworth


Before Ben founded Native Land Design in 2001, he earned a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. He’s an active member of ASLA, HBA of Austin, NHBA, PLANET, and BOMA. Ben, his wife and their three children reside in the Cedar Park area.

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