Hand Watering vs. Irrigation – Which is Better?

If you run in landscaping or lawn crafting circles like we do, you probably already know the heavy back and forth, tennis-match-type debate that goes on when referring to hand watering versus irrigation. The questions are endless – what makes the most sense for you? What’s your landscape like? Do you have a newly crafted landscape, or do you have an older lawn that’s already settled in?

The questions can seem endless, but it’s a relatively unavoidable subject. Though you might think, living in Florida, we could rely on rainfall to be the sole watering factor for our plants, the truth is, we can’t (we know, you’re thinking of our crazy summers where it rains every afternoon, but nature isn’t clockwork). That being said, you’ll need to develop one of these systems in order to make sure you’re caring for your lawn and landscape properly.

We’ve put together a few pros and cons for each strategy to help you make the most concise, informed decision possible. We care about your time, your methods, and most importantly, your landscape! Check out our list below to see which strategy will work best for your and be most fitting for your lawn.

Hands on Hand Watering

Lauded as the more hands-on strategy for keeping your lawn refreshed, hand watering is a practice that requires you to be present, ready-to-go, and knowledgeable about what you’re watering and how much you’re watering.

Typically, hand watering works best for landscapes that contain a lot of plant beds, pots, and other similar bloom structures. One of the best parts of hand watering is that it keeps you in tune with how your lawn, flowers, and other plants are progressing. You get a daily view of what’s going on, what needs attention, and where you can add new pieces to your landscape. Another great aspects about hand watering your plants is that it allows you to closely monitor the amount of water being used. Because you’re the one handling it (no pun intended), you’ll be up and close and personal with your water usage, so you can get a better idea if you’re overwater or underwatering your plants and keep an eye on your water bill while you’re at it. Older landscapes typically will do better with hand watering because they don’t require as much maintenance and attention – the lawns are already settled into a routine and set to grow where they are, whereas, new landscapes will need a lot more attention to get to this point.

Unfortunately, like with most things in life, hand watering has some fall backs. While some people might see the time spent hand watering as a way to be present and close to your lawn or garden, others view it as a time-consuming, unnecessary act – rather, they’d rather not waste their days holding a hose for their plants. This is simply a matter of opinion, as well as a value of convenience. This will also require you to monitor seasons and weather specifics much more closely. While you might be watering your plants two or three times a week in the Florida winter, the long, hot summers might require a daily watering. There’s a lot of trial and error with this method. Additionally, no matter how often you water your plants, you’ll need to dedicate a fair amount of time to your watering routine. You can’t simply spray a bush with water and expect it to work – you’ll have to water, let the water soak, and then water again, repeating the process any number of times.

Irrigation Ease

One of the greatest things about irrigation systems is that they’re incredibly convenient. There are tons of irrigation systems available to you that can work as generally or as specific as you’d like! When you think about irrigation you can think about things as simple as hand-held sprinklers to self-cleaning smart irrigation controls. It’s a wide variety, and they could be the right pick for you.

Irrigation options are great for new landscapes that require lots of attention and can’t rely on rain to get their growing going. With newer landscapes, frequently watering is going to be key, and irrigation systems, typically, work on a timer, allowing you to set how often and when you want your lawn to be watered. Irrigation systems are also perfect for giant properties, large expanses of lawn, and huge amounts of flowers beds. Put simply, irrigation systems can cover the areas you can in a matter of moments and can also typically get to the areas you can’t to ensure nothing is missed. Smart irrigation controls allow you an efficiency that you simply can’t get with hand watering. They can adjust automatically for changes in weather and seasonability, as well as keeping you to a conservative amount of water usage. As upgrades in irrigation systems are made, you can also typically switch new heads to help you save water and hydrate your landscape more efficiently.

Some of the negatives, though? Irrigation systems can be pricey. That being said, it’s worth doing the math to figure in installation, maintenance and other associated costs next to the amount of water you’d use to hand water your lawn. The other tricky part about irrigation systems is that the sprinklers heads are easily clogged and dirtied with grass clippings and other lawn particles. If you’re not keeping up with this, it can render your irrigation system pretty useless. If you don’t routinely check the valves and mechanical components, too, you might face leaky issues that increase your water bill dramatically.

If you’re working with a landscaping crew and you know you don’t want to dedicate time to hand watering, we suggest adding in an irrigation system while they’re already digging up and replanting your lawn. This is much easier and more convenient than adding it into an existing landscape.


Did you enjoy our tips about irrigation and hand-watering? We thought you might! At Landcrafters, we’re here to bring you quality services, but also a ton of quality information. For more informative blogs, check out our site here. If you’d like to schedule some time with us, give our office a call at (727)-201-3947. We can’t wait to hear from you!