One of the things that attracts people to a condo or HOA are the beautiful grounds and lush landscaping that surrounds the property. Because of the topography of Florida, depending on where a home is located, water could be plentiful or the area could be drought-stricken. It's almost always necessary for properties to use irrigation technology to keep their lawns, trees and shrubs healthy and green.
Anyone who has ever lived in a condo has probably seen the sprinklers go on and off, and while you may not think it’s that big of a deal, using the proper system and controlling water levels for all areas of the property can be a challenge. In the past, associations may have relied strictly on sprinkler systems or gardeners who would water the property with hoses, but irrigation systems have come a long way and today’s watering technology is cheaper, greener and much more sophisticated. Long gone are the days when installers would drop pipe haphazardly into the ground figuring that spraying around large volumes of water would make up for a hit-or-miss installation.
“Fifteen, twenty years ago, your typical residential irrigation installation didn't require more or less a design or simple methods of being able to institute what's called for as an efficient irrigation system,” Gary Gleichman, project manager at Treasure Coast Irrigation and Landscape in Hobe Sound, says. “That pretty much allowed anybody to just throw pipe in the ground, not calculate their water supply, how much water is available and at what pressure, the type of material they're using, the sprinkler heads and their performance rates, and then just simply throw a sprinkler head out in the lawn and expecting it to be looking green evenly throughout the property.”
New and Improved
Irrigation controllers have become extremely sophisticated, going as far as adding computer technology to improve its timing and diagnostics. Unfortunately for landscapers, this doesn’t end the need to connect the controller to every valve with a bundle of dedicated buried wire.
The programmable valve is another innovation that uses no electricity and is being sampled by some area landscapers. The valve can be programmed to open and close in any combination of settings based on a cycle of every seven times the water is turned on. It is small enough to be installed under a sprinkler head, or in another version, can be used in a water line. This innovation means that each sprinkler head can be programmed to open at different times than the others in the same zone.