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okstate

lawn in ground sprinklers?

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What are some costs for them?

any advantages or disadvantages?

And who are some good installers. we live in the ankoka area

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There is a very broad range for the responses. It depends on the size of your yard, how many zones you will need, are you using domestic water or a well, etc.

I think they are great. You get even, well-planned watering with little human input. Its very predictable and with the new systems and digital technology they are almost one-who-thinks-I-am-silly-proof.

Disadvantages are of course the cost. A couple of hoses and sprinklers can do almost the same job for way less money, but it would be time-consuming and you have to keep dragging the hose.

If you already water consistently than you may actually SAVE water with a sprinkler system because the use is so metered and accurate.

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so are we talking thousands of dollars. our lot is just under an acre. so are there some names of companies that someone could recommend or is that against board rules?

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okstate

A fair estimate for your yard would probably be anywhere from 1500 to 3000 depending on what heads you use, how you configure your zones, and who you have do it for you.

I would decide exactly what you want and then get three estimates.

Not sure off the top of my head if there are any irrigation sponsors here on board, but yes it against forum policy to post any contact info of non-sponsors.

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Dont waste your money. Let your lawn go dormant during the summer months. That way you dont have to mow or fertilize. Save your money and your time.

If you want a really green lawn during the summer months without the hassle of mowing, fertilizing and irrigating check out no-mow fescue lawns. Its cheaper to convert your lawn to no-mow than it it to install and irrigation system. No-mow saves you huge sums of money over the long run by reducing inputs (no fertilizer and no irrigation required) and you will SAVE GAS by only mowing 2-3 times per year.

Think about all the money you will save on lawn mower gas you will be putting into your boat instead. You wont be mowing on hot summer weekends and you will have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood. You'll be spending your summer weekends fishing instead of mowing.

Irrigation systems are very costly. Also the rain sensors must be attached and working properly to get your system in compliance will MN state law. You irrigation companies dont tell you that those sensors only last 2-3 years before they need complete replacement. Also there is annual maintenance required with irrigation systems. (another way the companies hit you up for more cash) Then if you damage any of the heads doing anything on your lawn the replacement cost of the head is sky high.

Also check with your city about irrigation regulations. Many municipalities are getting tight with water conservation and greatly limiting the use of irrigation. I am shocked at the number of irrigation systems that are in violation of current city, county and state laws. Some areas are banning the use of irrigation systems altogether due to concerns over limited freshwater.

Irrigation systems are great for the companies that install them. They are completely wrong for the residential homeowner. They are even worse for the environment. Irrigation systems waste our limited fresh water resources. Its time we all step up to the present and realize the days of expensive environmental bad irrigation systems has past.

But seriously check out all the alternatives before you spend $10k+ on something you may regret. I had a client this weekend wishing she had gone with no-mow instead of her $15K+ irrigation system. It would have saved her nearly $15k over the next 10 years. Check your options the cost long term comparisons may scare you.

I cant hide it but this is something I have very strong feelings about. I apologize for the rant.

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Go to the Minnesota Landscape association (MNLA) web site. They will have licensed contractors and you can choose by area as they are listed by their home city. It is a .biz site.

An Acre yard wont be cheap, probably looking around 4 beans on the low side depending on how dense you want the coverage of the heads.

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It's all about convenience. I've had an in-ground system for 20 years and I love it. I have several neighbors tell me they wished they had one installed to.

Advantages:

It gets the watering done without having to be home.

You don't have to chase the hose around.

You can water around the local restriction times by just setting the zone timers.

New systems must have "Rain detection sensors" that shut the system off when it rains while it's running.

You can add on an automated furtilizing system to apply when the system runs.(I don't want it)

Disadvantages:

You will eventually have repairs. (Usually heads/valves, but they are not expensive)

You need to blow the system out in the fall (I rent and 8 horse compressor and do it myself for half of what you pay to have it done). Be careful with hiring a someone to blowout your system. The first year the guy that did mine blew out two heads. I didn't know it until spring and he denied it and said the spring ground thawing did it. Since then I've done it myself the thawing ground has never pushed a head out.

As for letting a yard go dormant as suggested I had to in 1987 or 1988 when the city banned watering (This is the only time an in-ground system is usless) my entire yard died and thats when I had the system installed and re-seeded. They used Toro heads and valves but I'm changing to Orbit heads and valves as the Toro's go bad. (I just like them better) Learn to do these things and watch as they do the install if you can. The hourly charges to repair can be $70 per hour plus double the cost of parts you can get at Menards or Home Depot. Earlier this summer I repaired a leak in the 1 1/4" main line (caused by a tree root) it was a easy repair and cost $.72 for the needed part. Example: A $18 valve will be billed at $50 by some services. If you do need to hire for a repair do the digging yourself ahead of time as $70 per hour is too much to pay to dig.

Get about 4 bids from long established contractors and let each one know what the other is bidding and ask about large bid differences. This is an industry where new companies are started by installers who have worked just long enough to learn a basic install and then start their own company and will give a obvious low bid to get started. If they go out of business, thats the end of your warranty. Ask for references from customers who are not related to the contractor, contact them and ask if they needed repairs during the warrant period and did the contractor do it in a timely fashion. You will want a 100% overlap from one zone to another where possible.

Cost: Mine has 6 zones (30 heads) and was $3,200.00 in the late 80's and it covers 1/3 acre, so I can't help you with todays costs. I can't help you with installers as I live in the South metro.

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Quetico:

I have to reply to the "no mow lawn" option you suggested. My neighbor has one, it's about 1 foot tall, it's brown and it's full of weeds and it looks like c@@p! For most of us our homes are still our best investment and when the time comes to sell it needs to be presented at it's best and not look like an abandoned 1880's farm yard. That lawn I'm afraid, will affect my home value.

I can't hide it but it something I have very strong feelings about, but I don't apologize for the opinion.

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I paid about $2200 to have one installed last year. As far as I'm concerned, its some of the best $2200 I've ever spent. It seems like spending $100 on hoses and a sprinkler is a smarter idea, but after you move them around for a year or two it gets old.

If it is something you wanted to do yourself, it would be about 1/3-1/2 of the bid amount. I did all the figuring last year, but decided not to. It would have taken me 2 or 3 full weekends to do what these guys did in an afternoon.

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When you get bids, maybe try asking the companies for a bid to just pull in the pipe, get you water supply hooked up, and maybe show you how to install a zone (connect pipes, hook up valves, install heads). That way maybe you can save a few bucks. If some one tells you a bid of $10,000, definately find another company. It should not cost more than around $4,500 totally installed.

As far as "no mow lawns", I would like to see pictures of some that look good enough for the entire lawn. A lot of people, including me, like a well manicured lawn and the no mow thing would not work. I do have an area of my lawn that is seeded with native grass and wildflowers which is low maintenace, but would not do it to the entire lawn.

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Echotrail- check out East River side park in Minneapolis for a good example of no-mow. I know the Landscape Architect that designed the park.

The current no-mow varieties used have a maximum height of 4". Most of us mow our lawns between 3-3.5". Also make sure your no-mow is done properly so it doesnt look like cr*p.

No-mow turf varieties have a deeper (5-6 times deeper) root system allowing them access to more water and nutrient resource, hence why you will never get it as sod. The current no-mow varieties are fairly wear tolerant and will stay green during hot dry spells without your costly irrigation.

The bottom line with no-mow is that it pays for itself in 5 years with just the mowing cost savings. That simply compares the cost of mowing a traditional lawn to the costs of converting a lawn to no-mow and the 2-3 times per year of mowing the no-mow.

That cost comparison does not factor in fertilizer cost savings, and irrigation install and maintenance cost savings. These are two things some use on their lawns, some dont. Those numbers were also left out of the cost comparison because of their variability between sites. Some sites have extensive irrigation systems and require more irrigation. Also some sites put down more fertilizer then others. No-mow lawns need no fertilizer or irrigation.

One more adding thing to consider- Toronto last year past a complete ban on the use of gas lawn mowers by I think 2009 or 2011. There was widespread talk of similar bans becoming common in the states. With this in mind is an alternative lawn still something people don't want to consider?

As a landscape professional I fully understand how people take pride in their property and want it to look amazing all the time. A properly done no-mow lawn will give you that look without the cost of irrigation and consistent maintenance of a traditional lawn.

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