Clients Designers Contractors Property Managers

Garth Ruffner Landscape Architect


Initial and long-term costs, efficiency and future maintenance levels are all major factors in determining what types of irrigation systems are appropriate for your project.

Narrow Planters (1’-7’):


Drip and bubblers are very efficient and comparable in cost.

Spray irrigation in narrow areas tends to be inefficient, expensive and can damage glass.


Bubblers and spray are simpler to maintain but more likely to wet pavement or create a tripping hazard.  Bubblers are not suitable for sloping ground or turf.

Probably the most qualified bidder. Regular oversight from a knowledgeable representative of the Owner.

Not necessarily the low bidder. Oversight from a  representative of the Owner.

Probably the low bidder.  The maintenance company will determine methods and operations unless there are complaints.

Drip Irrigation

Bubbler Irrigation

Spray Irrigation

No Preference

Tractor Supply Parking Lot Landscaping, Dixon, CA

Medium Planters (8’-19’):


Spray irrigation is a more cost-effective alternative in medium width planters, although its efficiency is not comparable to drip or bubblers.


Bubblers should be installed 2’-4’ apart for adequate coverage (creating a cluttered appearance) but can be appropriate where maintenance will be very poor.


Large Planters (20’+):


Rotor systems tend to be inexpensive and sturdy. Efficiency is better than spray but significant over-spray can occur, particularly in windy areas.


Drip is comparatively expensive, but still a realistic option for its efficiency. Bubblers and spray are rarely used in large areas.

Civic Park Landscape, Oakley, CA
Landscape at Granite Bay Pavilions Offices, Roseville, CA
Landscaping for Granite Regional Park Offices, Sacramento, CA

Granite Park Offices

Irrigation Preferences