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Sprinklers are a yard and garden essential. They keep grass, produce, and plants looking green and plentiful, especially during the warmer months of the year. The tool seems self-explanatory, overall: You set it up and it automatically waters the area to your liking. However, there's a bit more to the story—and timed sprinklers in particular tend to be more intricate. They're worth it, though. While spraying your yard or garden manually with a watering hose can help you introduce some quick moisture to a dry spot, a correctly set-up timed sprinkler automates this process and eliminates an item on your to-do list. Ahead, discover a few expert-approved ways to get it right.

Sprinkler Technology

According to Hippos' Smart Home Expert Dave Wechsler, sprinklers are worthwhile investments because they automate a previously manual task—and there's a spectrum of technology available, he says. At this point in time, you can use WiFi to control your hose. "So, if you just have a single hose, which goes into the yard, you can put a controller onto it and have your phone or a website control when it goes on and off," he adds. "Fuller irrigation systems would typically be installed when you are laying your sod or planting your yard originally, but these controllers, which used to be those clunky boxes that you would try and turn switches and flip all kinds of knobs, are now Internet controlled and also have add-ons." Some of these additional timed sprinkler features include moisture sensors and local weather trackers—the Rachio R3 Smart Sprinkler Controller ($279.99, does this—that automatically "know" when your hydration system should be running in the first place.

automatic lawn sprinkler
Credit: toddarbini / Getty Images

Timer Setup

Getting your timed sprinkler up and running is typically simple, depending on the make. "Usually, a timed sprinkler will go in before the hose (this is a pretty basic retrofit)," Wechsler shares. "Some are digital, so they can be programmed to go off at different times with a phone or keypad." From there, you simply enter the run time and length; the RAINPOINT Sprinkler Timer ($34.99, allows for this customization. Standard models won't read outside conditions, like moisture or seasonality, so you will need to keep an eye on the weather and adjust accordingly.

So Many Pros

Ultimately, a timed sprinkler—even a basic one—is effective for a number of reasons: "For instance, you really shouldn't be watering your yard in the day because water sprays out the hose and it just evaporates quickly," adds Wechsler. "With a timed sprinkler, you can actually create the right pattern when you water [preferably at night] and waste less water in the process." If you choose an option with a moisture sensor, like the Rainmachine PRO-16: 16 Zone Smart Wi-Fi Ethernet Irrigation Sprinkler Controller ($240.79,, you'll be able to tend to your yard's ultra-specific needs, too, by zoning. "Say you have a big, sloping yard, where water might collect at the bottom, but might not do as well on the top. You can actually program zones so the top will be more irrigated," the expert notes. "You'll not only have efficiency and convenience, but you'll also have optimization. You'll target where it should water, when it should water, and how much to water, which I think results in less stress, as well."

After all, says Wechsler: If you're spending a lot of money on your yard, you want to make sure it is taken care of correctly. Another pro? The incredible flexibility. "When you're out of town, you know everything is going to run correctly and you're not going to come back to a burnt-up yard," he adds.


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