How to determine how many sprinkler heads per zone?

Everyone wants to have a lush lawn until they realize how much work goes into maintaining it. It requires time, effort, and most importantly, money!

This is especially the case when watering the lawn. Smaller lawns are easier to water with a hose. However, the bigger the lawn gets, the more impractical it gets to water it physically. In such scenarios, installing a sprinkler system proves to be beneficial.

Not only is it an easy way to water the lawn, but it also ensures adequate water is provided only to areas that need it. This way, it saves water and reduces the chances of a high water bill. But the next big question is – how many sprinkler heads per zone are needed in any lawn?

If you’re in two minds about sprinklers and questions like this are keeping you up at night, then fret not because we are here to help. After some in-depth research, we have put together this guide to help clarify your doubts.

Now, the clock is ticking, so let’s begin!

What Type Of Sprinkler Should You Install?

If you have finally decided to install a sprinkler system, it is vital to pick one that suits your needs. There are two types to choose from – traditional and drip. The traditional sprinkler system is the most common one that’s visible in most lawns. Water is sprinkled over large areas at regular intervals.

Drip sprinklers are better for people looking to water specific areas. Say you’re looking to water just the flower beds in the lawn, then this is the system to choose. While it’s possible to pick one of the two, the ideal situation is a mixture of both systems to ensure proper irrigation in the lawn. This way, you can get the best of both worlds!

Getting The Right Measurements

The first thing to do, while deciding how many sprinkler heads per zone you need to install, is figuring out the water pressure and flow. Varying water pressure will lead to varying amounts of water consumption, so having a clear idea of the pressure can reduce water wastage.

Flow Rate

When it comes to calculations, this is the easier part. Calculating the flow rate is simple since it has to be measured in gallons per minute, and you only need a bucket and an accurate timer. That said, the one thing you need to be sure of is the size of the bucket before starting.

Doing the math is not a complex task either. Switch off all the faucets in and out of the house and place the bucket under one. Turn it on entirely and time how long it takes for the bucket to fill. Then multiply the size of the bucket by 60 and divide that with the time taken to get the gallons per minute (GPM) result.

Here is an example: say the bucket has a 5-gallon capacity, and it took 20 seconds to fill up. Then the calculation will be 5 x 60/20 = 15 GPM.

Water Pressure

The easiest way to know how much pressure the water has is by hiring a professional to do it. Since this process is a little complicated, people tend to avoid doing it themselves. Hiring a professional will take the stress of doing the task off your shoulders, and they will also be able to advise you on which sprinkler head is best.

Alternatively, you can do it yourself by attaching a pressure gauge to any faucet. Make sure all the faucets in and out of the house are shut. The pressure reading should be in pounds per square inch and will reflect in the gauge when you turn the water on.

Marking The Zones

Now that you have the calculations, you can move on to the zones. Before picking out the number of sprinklers per zone, try to figure out how many you need in total. Measure the whole lawn and draw it out on graph paper, with each square representing a square inch of the lawn.

Next, you will want to calculate each sprinkler head’s distance, direction, and flow rate. If each has a flow rate of about 2 GPM and your lawn has a total GPM of 15, it all boils down to 7 sprinkler heads. You can divide the lawn into two zones and split it accordingly to cover the whole area.


Sprinkler heads are made so they can 100% overlap each other to reduce the chances of dry areas. So, do not be worried about overwatering, but be sure to use heads with the same flow rate.

Remember not to overcrowd any zone with too many sprinklers as that can take away the pressure from the other zone. It is crucial to maintain a balance when it comes to placement. If you feel one zone is not receiving adequate water compared to another, consider moving the sprinkler around to find the balance.

Moreover, sprinklers work best when plants with similar water needs are together. While marking a zone, ensure plants with similar needs are kept in one zone, so the sprinklers are effective.

Also, we advise running the sprinklers first thing in the morning so that the lawn has a full day to soak in the water. This gives the lawn adequate time for evaporation and reduces the chances of overwatering. Watering at night is not advisable.

Final Words

If you wondered how many sprinkler heads per zone are needed for a while, we hope this guide has been helpful.

Before we leave, we would like to recommend one last thing. Just because you have a sprinkler system does not mean it needs to come on every day. For best results, we urge you to only water the lawn 2-3 times a week as daily watering will do more harm than good.

Need professional help when it comes to irrigation sprinkler services in Flower Mound TX? Contact us and get a quote now.