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Pros and Cons of In-Ground Irrigation Systems

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If you have a large property that needs regular irrigation, you may want to consider installing an in-ground irrigation system. These buried irrigation systems are very popular and have many positive features. However, they also have some drawbacks. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of an in-ground irrigation system and some other irrigation alternatives.

Pros of in-ground irrigation

In-ground irrigation systems work well whether you have a large lawn or you have a commercial farm or orchard. Here are some of the positives about installing an in-ground irrigation system.


Once you install your system, you won't have to fuss with it much afterwards. Most systems have a central controller. All you have to do is set the time and frequency.


You can set each sprinkler or zone at different water volumes. That way, you don't over-water plants that don't need a lot of water.

Better aesthetics

In-ground systems are almost invisible, so they look better. Plus, many systems only protrude above ground when in use, so there's less tripping hazard.

Cons of in-ground irrigation

In-ground irrigation systems may not be the best for everyone. Here are some of the drawbacks to this type of irrigation system.

Installation issues

Installation often involves digging into the ground. You may need to tear up existing lawns or remove plants to install the system.

Maintenance issues

You must be careful when mowing your lawn or using heavy equipment around these pipes and sprinklers. Sometimes, sprinkler heads need redirecting to reduce runoff.

Repair issues

Animals may gnaw or dig up parts of your system requiring you to repair or replace certain equipment.

Alternatives to an in-ground irrigation

If an in-ground irrigation system sounds like too much for your situation, you have other options. Some of these options have easier installation and maintenance than an in-ground system. Here are some examples:

  • Above ground drip irrigation is excellent for agricultural and large-scare garden use.
  • Above-ground sprinklers offer some benefits of in-ground irrigation but with less digging.
  • Traditional sprinklers are easy to move around as needed but take more time to set up and take down.
  • Hand watering is efficient and easy to control, though it requires more physical effort and diligence.

No matter what irrigation system you install on your property, make sure it is efficient and benefits your plants. An in-ground irrigation system has many benefits based on how and when you like to water. Consider your budget and property size when determining the best irrigation system for you. An irrigation installation company or agricultural supply company can give you some ideas on how to proceed with a new system.