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St George Landscaping, Masonry and Excavation

What Is The Difference Between Drip Irrigation And A Sprinkler System?

As you consider what you would like your local landscaping experts to do to your yard, an important consideration will be what type of watering system you will have placed. As St. George, UT is a desert community, watering your landscaped yard is critical if you want to maintain even a xeriscaped yard.

Two of the most common landscaping watering systems are drip irrigation and sprinkler systems. If you aren’t sure what the difference is between these two systems, we will define what they are and help you determine which is right for your landscaping needs.

Defining Drip Irrigation And Sprinkler System

While there are several variations of drip irrigation and sprinkler systems, we want to cover the basic kind that is commonly used when it comes to landscaping residential and commercial properties.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation systems dispense water in a controlled manner. Using a series of long plastic pipes, drip irrigation is usually low to the ground, so less water is lost to runoff and evaporation. At regular intervals, or depending on the yard design, there are openings in the irrigation pipes to allow water to come out.

As the name implies, the drip irrigation system allows water to drip directly onto the soil surrounding the plant where the opening is located. Generally, the ground around the drip irrigation pipe is bare earth or non-living matter like stones or pavers. That way, no plantings are crushed under the drip system.

Sprinkler System

In contrast, a sprinkler system spreads water in more widespread, controlled ranges. While a drip irrigation system is above ground, when it comes to sprinklers, the pipes are underground with only the sprinkler heads visible above ground.

When activated, sprinkler systems spray out significant amounts of water to cover a large amount of ground. Sprinklers laid out by our team of professional landscapers can be placed so that your yard will receive the right amount of water coverage with no areas left unwatered.

Pros And Cons Of Drip Irrigation VS Sprinkler System

Based on the differences between a drip irrigation system and sprinklers, you may have a pretty good idea of what you need in your yard. But if you still aren’t sure, you may want to check the pros and cons of both watering systems.

Drip Irrigation Pros and Cons


  • Reduces water waste
  • More cost-effective for individual plant watering
  • Prevents significant soil erosion
  • Simple to have installed
  • Cuts down on weeds
  • Prevents disease due to overwatering


  • Can only provide a small amount of water at a time
  • Visible pipe system is not overly attractive
  • Exposed pipes can become damaged
  • Need to check to ensure no clogs

Sprinkler System Pros and Cons


  • Good for all different types of soil
  • Can program to run on a timer
  • Pipes safe underground
  • Covers large areas easily
  • Can add additives like pesticides and fertilizers to some systems
  • Less likely to become plugged


  • Can lose significant water to runoff and evaporation
  • Sprinkler heads can become damaged
  • May lead to major soil erosion


Combine Drip Irrigation and Sprinklers For Healthy Landscaping

As you might suspect, depending on your landscaping, you can combine these two types of water delivery systems to ensure that your lawn and border plants receive the perfect amount of water.

For example, say you want to have a lush new lawn and a border of young trees as well as a flowerbed by the front of your home. To keep your lawn healthy in our hot climate, you will definitely want a sprinkler system. However, you will need a drip irrigation system for the trees to ensure that the roots have enough water penetration. Water from a sprinkler is more likely to wash away the soil at the roots of your trees and pound your poor flowers rather than water them.

But with a drip irrigation system around the tree roots, your trees can receive steady, slow water penetration with little water lost and minimal soil erosion. Also, your flower bed can enjoy a gentle dripping of water that won’t drown them or tear their foliage.

While you may not have everything in this example, hopefully it is clear how these two different watering systems can help your landscaping stay beautiful.

Stonetree Can Help Make The Most Of Your Landscaping

Our landscaping experts here at Stonetree can help you make the most of your yard. Whether you want to create a lush pocket of paradise or reflect the xeriscaped desert beauty of Southern Utah, we can help.

This work extends to also the less visible work of whether you need a watering system installed or a retaining wall constructed, all you need to do is contact us. Our team of licensed and insured contractors can make your Southern Utah landscaping bloom into the yard of your dreams.