A sprinkler system can be installed any time of the year, but the best time to install one is in the fall. Dialing in the watering schedule is easier, the ground is softer, and landscape contractors are typically less busy.
These aren’t the only reasons fall is the best installation time, but certainly some of the most important considerations. Fall installation also lets you get used to the sprinkler system before the water-intensive summer months; you immediately become familiar with winterization, and the grass has more time to recover post-installation.
Easier to Set Up the Program and Watering Schedule
It doesn’t matter if you’re learning a new system at work, a new sport, or how to use your irrigation system—it’s always more challenging when you’re smack dab in the middle of the busy season, or it’s game time. Installing a new sprinkler system in the fall makes it much easier to get it up and running and dial in your programs and watering schedule than if you try to do it in the middle of the summer heat.
When the temperatures are scorching and your lawn is under considerable heat stress, it’s all-hands-on-deck. There’s less room for error or playing around with the irrigation system settings during the year's hottest months. Your grass needs the correct amount of water given to it at the appropriate time.
During the fall, there’s less chance of drought, and temperatures are typically more temperate. Sprinkler installation in the cooler months—but while the grass is still actively growing—allows you to make all of the minor tweaks and adjustments to perfect your sprinkler head zone maps, start times, days to water, and watering duration.
You’ll have the luxury of finding the optimal settings for your lawn irrigation system before you face the more water-intensive months in the following year.
The Ground is Easier to Dig Into
If you’re taking on sprinkler installation as a DIY project, you’ll want to save yourself some back-breaking labor and dig trenches when the ground is moist and softer. It’s naturally easier to dig during the fall when there’s more rainfall and cooler temperatures aren’t drying the soil out as quickly.
During the summer, you’re likely facing high heat and drought, which makes the ground hard and dry. You’ll spend much more time digging, or you may pay more in labor costs for professional installation.
Plus, it goes without saying that winter is a less-than-ideal time to install a home irrigation system. When the ground is cold and possibly frozen, trenching will be miserable, if not impossible.
Let’s be honest, too. Working outside in the yard on a fall afternoon versus a Saturday in July when the sun is beating down on you is much more enjoyable.
Less Lead Time With Professional Installation
If you’re not the DIY type and are hiring a landscape contractor to install a residential irrigation system, you’ll see a much quicker turnaround time with fall installation. Installation companies are typically busiest early in the season, with system turn-ons and repairs fixing problems arising after winter conditions.
When spring rolls around, many people focus on having a luscious, green lawn as quickly as possible. They want their system turned on as soon as possible. So, there will be considerable competition to book a contractor and long lead times, especially if you’re a new customer. Scheduling priority will often go to pre-existing customers.
Become Familiar with the System During a Slower Watering Period
Beyond being easier to perfect the system settings, during this slower watering period, you can spend time tinkering around in the Irrigreen app, learning how to adjust the settings, and seeing how your lawn responds to changes in the watering programs.
Come the following spring and summer, you’ll be a pro at using the app and can easily change the zone maps or watering schedules as needed.
Practice with Winterization and Spring Start-Up
Homeowners who opt for fall sprinkler system installation are also quickly introduced to winterizing and the spring start-up processes during the less busy time. They’re more knowledgeable about their system overall and its operation before the more water-intensive months when “go time” hits.
Allows Your Lawn More Time to Recover
What’s more? Completing a sprinkler system install during the fall gives the turf more time to recover from the stress of the installation process itself.
It’s also perfect timing if you need to reseed bare spots created when trenching. Your grass will have time to recover before it goes into winter dormancy; it would much rather go into winter dormancy just after recovering than face the heat of summer.
When spring rolls around, your lawn won’t hesitate at all and will green up quickly and take off growing.