Making a Splash

The best sprinklers deliver water evenly and efficiently.

By Doug Hall


Water-wise gardeners opt for soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems whenever possible, because these methods apply water directly over the root zone of plants and minimize water loss from evaporation and runoff. But sometimes gardeners wish to distribute water over a lawn or throughout a planting bed in a way that mimics rainfall, and that’s when sprinklers are useful. Select sprinklers that apply water in a uniform pattern at any water pressure; avoid those, like impulse sprinklers, that break water into fine mist that drifts away on the breeze. The sprinklers shown are the ones we rely on in the Organic Gardening test garden.


The device at the center of this sprinkler spins and bounces, sending coarse water droplets flying in all directions—up to a 50-foot diameter. It works well at all water pressures. Also available on a 30-inch-tall base for use in flowerbeds.

  • Wobbler Sprinkler on spike base, as shown, $19; sprinkler on 5-leg base, $55; from Lee Valley Tools
Wobbler sprinkler

Wobbler Sprinkler in action