To keep your lawn looking green is to maintain its health. You already know that watering is critical, which is why you have a sprinkler system. Unfortunately, sprinkler systems aren’t something you just program to run and never have to worry about.
Sprinkler systems can break, creating big messes and harming your grass, until you can fix them. By being aware of the signs of needed maintenance, you can catch problems early, before they get completely out of control.
You know that concrete, pavers, brick, sheds, etc. don’t need watering to grow. After your sprinklers run, these items shouldn’t be wet. If they are, a sprinkler head either needs to be adjusted so it’s not spraying the wrong areas, or something is broken and leaking.
Look for dirt sediment spread onto hard surfaces at the edge of the lawn, especially if the sediment is fanned out. This can indicate that too much water is accumulating in that area, flowing off the lawn like a river.
Also, note if water has pooled or is flowing down the gutter from your property after a watering. This can indicate a broken sprinkler head, a broken water line, or improper drainage.
The only way to tell for sure what’s going on is to turn on that portion of the sprinkler system. Closely observe the area where your hardscaping is getting doused in water to pinpoint the source of this problem.
Your lawn shouldn’t have spots that are soggy or muddy. Sometimes those problem areas are the result of poor drainage from your roof gutters or elsewhere, so consider that as a possible source. But, if you notice certain portions of your lawn are wet when it hasn’t rained recently, or stay perpetually muddy and soggy, that’s a possible sign that something in the sprinkler system is broken.
Also, look for portions of your grass where it’s unusually tall and green. If these are around sprinkler heads, the head might be broken and providing additional water, fueling the situation.
The whole point of the sprinkler system is to keep the soil moist, which is vital to grass health. Brown spots could indicate that your sprinklers aren’t reaching that portion of the lawn. Feel the ground to see if the soil is dry. If it is, misaligned sprinklers could be the source. There is a chance brown spots are from disease, but the presence of dry soil should indicate otherwise.
If your sprinkler system has its own meter or sub-meter, watch the dial when the system isn’t running. You’ll need to open the box that protects the meter, then watch the red or black triangle or dial for movement, which would indicate a leak in the sprinkler system.