How to Program Sprinkler System

how to program sprinkler system

Few things are more impressive and help maintain the value of your property like growing a lush green lawn. Automated sprinkler systems ensure impressive landscaping for the right reasons. However, incorrect sprinkler programming risks damaging the lawn and obstructs healthy grass growth. 

 If you are wondering how to program your sprinkler to ensure a lush green and carpeted lawn, keep reading. This article covers all you need for healthy and flourishing green grass in your lawn.

How To Program Sprinkler System: The Basics

Before jumping into the best technique for programming your automatic sprinkler system, it will be useful to familiarize yourself with the basics of the controller system you will be using to program your sprinkler. Regardless of experience, learning the foundation of automated sprinkler systems is valuable for everyone.

To learn more about how your automatic sprinkler system works, you will want to first understand the different components making it up. Familiarize yourself with the following sprinkler terms:


The valve is the place on your property where water flows into your sprinkler system. Water flows through the sprinkler as the valve opens, and the flow ceases when it closes. It is important to know where all the valves are located on the exterior of your property. Drawing a map of this information can be quite useful if you are having trouble covering your entire property. You might choose to add information to your valve diagram of the different types of plants and their watering needs. This simple step can save a lot of time and effort in the future.


You can use a station to control valves on your property. Very large properties could have a single station responsible for controlling two or more valves. Contractors usually allocate one valve for each zone of a property. Programming your sprinkler requires activating the stations that cover all zones in your lawn that need watering. You will likely find that not every area of your lawn needs to be watered as much as other sections. Understanding plants’ needs for growth is crucial for cultivating a healthy lawn with beautiful plants, which takes time to learn.


When you think of the area of your home that is being used to water a section of your lawn it is known as a station, however, when you consider the space receiving the water, this is known as a zone. A bed used to grow vegetables could be one zone and another section of grass could make up another. When you create a map of your lawn’s watering needs, be sure to think in terms of different zones. Creating a map makes a great visual reference of what different plants need to succeed.


Many automatic sprinklers will come with three different programs available. These programs manage when and for how long each station operates. You could choose to set program A to cover a zone containing vegetables, you might choose program b to cover a large section of grass, and so on. Remember that depending on how large your property is, you might need to deploy multiple sprinklers to cover all the different areas and watering needs of your property.

Understanding Automatic Sprinkler Timer Features

close up sprinkler watering the grass

Now that you understand the different terms connected to setting your sprinkler system, you will want to shift your focus towards understanding the unique features of your device.

When in doubt, be sure to refer to the owner’s manual and documentation provided by your sprinkler system’s manufacturer. There is a chance that your sprinkler system could use different terms or come with additional features. The best way to understand your product is to read specific information about how to use it.

Start Time

Your sprinkler system allows you to choose a specific time of day for each of the programs available to start. Once a program starts, your lawn is being watered according to the conditions set in that program. After your system works through all program settings, the watering will stop.

Run Time

The run time refers to the amount of time that each station on your sprinkler remains in operation. If you set a run time of 45 minutes, the valves will close after time has passed by.


When your sprinkler is set to run, it will go through all the programs that you have set in order and then stop.


If you need to stop your sprinkler program from running, simply select the off or stop functions. Knowing the watered areas of the lawn will be helpful in avoiding getting wet while moving across them.


The semi-auto feature is useful if you want to run a particular program for longer than usual. This can be helpful during times when your area might be experiencing a drought or excessive heatwave which makes your plants require extra water to stay healthy and vibrant.

Preparing to Set Your Automatic Sprinkler System

Before actually setting up your automatic sprinkler and letting it run while you are away from home, we recommend setting it up and just checking to make sure that everything goes according to plan.

Having a sprinkler set up to start on the wrong day or time can ruin a great lawn. Precision is key to growing a lush and green carpeted lawn that you can proudly share with friends and family.

Putting it All Together

Once you’ve worked out which days and times you would like your sprinkler to start to optimize the growth of all the unique plants on your property, use the following steps to program your sprinkler according to their needs:

  1. Choose the Program you want to use. For each program, you will need to set up the Water Schedule or, Start Time, and Station Run Times.
  2. Select the “schedule” function (Days to Water). Use it to select the specific days that you want your sprinkler system to run.
  3. Select “start-time” and specify the time that you’d like the watering to start.
  4. Select the “run time” or related function. Select the station of your choice and enter the run time for that valve. Continue selecting stations and entering run times until you have entered a run time for all the stations you will be watering on this Program. Important: do not set a run time for the stations that will not be watered using this Program.
  5. Program setup is complete once you have entered in the Water Schedule or “Days to Water”, Start Time, and Station Run Times.

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