Sprinklmate Sprinkler Shield

That green thingy there
Because I was President of a local garden club, someone offered to send me a free Sprinklmate gadet to try out.  It's been a while since I got it back in April.  Sorry!  I meant to blog it before now, but April, May and June were months of intensive gardening and summer was two months of misery, so now I finally get around to blogging about this thing.  
Why we water
 Anyway the Sprinklmate is intended to keep sprinkler output from going places where it shouldn't--streets, walkways, gutters, and suchlike.  Given an ideal situation, it works, to an extent.  While the idea was sound, real-world issues interfered with total success. 

Sprinkler heads are typically installed right at the edge of curbs, walkways and other instances of pavement to maximize sprinkler coverage.   However with that placement, what invariably happens are leaks and overspray, because sprinklers always end up leaking, and because water pressure varies.  Overspray happens even with scrupulous adjustment and regular readjustment of spray heads.  

When placed behind a sprinkler, the Sprinklmate is intended to block overspray.   Seems simple enough.  When I got it placed just right, it did indeed block overspray.  
 However, it wasn't always possible to get the dingus placed just right.  First, sprinkler heights vary.  Although the dingus came with a height extender, it wasn't quite high enough for most of my sprinklers.  
It would be great to keep the stucco wall dry, but the spinkler is several inches too tall for Sprinklemate. 

Second,  a lot of the sprinklers were installed so close to the edge of paving, the Spinklemate stake would not fit between the paving and the sprinkler head.   Third, concrete guys don't always make concrete walkway edges perfectly vertical, so you can't always shove a stake vertically at the edge of pavement.  If there is space to a Sprinklemate stake between the sprinkler head and the pavement, there may be a big chunk of concrete just under the surface adjacent to an edge, and the stake won't go.   
Sprinkler a bit too tall combined with chunk-of-concrete situation
 Another issue crops up with lawns (which I don't have).  Do you remove these things to mow?   If you don't, will your mow-blow guy (or you, or whoever mows your lawn) accidentally crush the dingus (it is plastic) with the mower or edger or weed-whipper?  Will a child or squirrel pull it out, play with it, and drop it somewhere you'll never find?  Will a dog eat it?  
Chew on stuff?  Me?  Oh, yeah!
  There is the side issue of plastic--when the plastic Sprinklemate eventually starts to crumble, or a mower shatters it--plastic goes into the environment if you don't pick up the pieces.  Plastic pollution is a growing and serious problem. 
 A bottle of water consumed in ten minutes and bottle tossed means a thousand years or more of the bottle
Besides overspray, what about leaks?  Leaks usually occur at the base of the sprinkler.  The Sprinklemate can't control those very well if the water makes its way past the shield, or if the sprinkler height leaves space at the base of the sprinkler.  
Overspray prevented, but leaks happen
What is a perfectly reasonable idea for controlling sprinkler overspray, you see, meets many problems in the real world of a garden.   A lot of garden gadgets are like that.  
No overspray, no leaks.  Just right.  Doesn't always happen
I must mention a different solution to the sprinkler overspray/leak issue. (And it is an issue--on any morning on our walks we see wet streets and gutters streaming water.)   My solution is not nearly as easy as shoving a Sprinklmate behind sprinkler.  It involves more work--but it is effective.  
 Move the sprinkler heads far enough away from pavement so that overspray does not hit pavement no matter how much the water pressure or sprinkler adjustment varies, and so that leaking water leaks into the soil, not into the gutter. 
"X" marks the former spot.  No more wasted water!  The sprinkler head need not be moved this much--two or three inches usually does it.  This particular sprinkler is placed leaning backwards for best coverage of the slope above it, so more space from the wall was needed:
For lawns this sprinkler placement might mean the edges of lawn might not get sufficient water--it's a trade-off.  Sprinkler heads may also be more vulnerable to mower damage if they are placed away from pavement edges (Though less vulnerable to edgers or string trimmers?)

Sprinklmate had a shopify store at the time they sent me the dingus, but it isn't there anymore.  There were some for sale on Ebay when I looked.  They were $15 apiece.  Or...move your sprinklers in away from pavement a few inches.  Do it one sprinkler head at at time, when you have the patience and energy.  If you are having sprinklers installed,  think about having the guys install them two or three inches from the pavement, instead of right up against it.  
More water for flowers, less water for the gutter


  1. All watering here is done by recycled soaker hose , so no spray . The water just percolates into the ground, and I do it once a week in summer and back off more when the ETO diminishes-I can go 10 days now.

    1. Sounds good to me! Here, soaker hose rapidly clogs up due to the high carbonate content of the water. Your water good?

      What is ETO?

    2. Evapo-transpiration-the rate at which water is lost through ground evap. and leaf transpiration. Our extension service publishes it here to aid vineyard managers in handling their irrigation efficiently. Landscapers who actually know something will use it as a scheduling aid for landscape irrigation systems.

  2. The idea behind the sprinklmate is a good one but, as you pointed out, the reality of application is not advantageous. Not having a sprinkler system, I still drag hoses and sprinklers around the garden.

    1. You also have that magic water that falls from the sky, a million times better than any sprinkler system!

    2. I haven't heard anyone use the word "dingus" since I last watched The Maltese Falcon! I use soaker hoses and do a lot of dragging of garden hoses too. Amazing/devastating to know we got under 4 inches this last season!

    3. I've read that book about a hundred times. The movie is great, too.

      3.75". We had a respite from dead/dying trees last year, but they've been plentiful again here this summer.

  3. As I'd expect, you applied your great analytical skills to evaluating the product - businesses like this need people like you in their product development areas. Irrigation-related issues are never-ending. We're always on the watch for snafus. My husband's been working on problems at the gatehouse to our neighborhood (the one with the non-existent gate) - it seems the city cemented over some key pipes when it performed work on the adjacent road area.

    1. My nerdiness surfaces now and again. Was out meditating on the sprinklers again this morning. Nice to finally be out in the garden again, in the morning at least. Afternoon still too toasty.

      Good luck to your community-minded husband. Sounds like a mess.


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