Bio Green Outdoor Services, LLC Lawn Care & Sprinkler Learning Center (703) 450-0034

After your sprinkler system is installed, the next step in completely automating your lawn watering tasks is programming your sprinkler controller. Properly programming your sprinkler controller can save you thousands of gallons of water and help to ensure the health of your lawn. Although at first programming your controller may seem like a daunting task, sprinkler controllers are relatively simple. Some controllers (“smart” controllers) decide when to water automatically (based on weather data), while others (“traditional” controllers) rely on set schedules. Traditional controllers must have their schedules periodically adjusted as plants become established, with the changing seasons, and when it rains. A good irrigation contractor will walk you through your new system, your lawn’s needs, and how you should program your controller. For complete instructions, see your sprinkler controller manual.

“Traditional” Controller Features


  • Date and time: all controllers require the current time and date to be set so that they can run on schedules.
  • Programs: the controller uses programs to determine when and where water is necessary.
  • Start times: this refers to times programs should start to run.
  • Run times: this refers to the duration of a program.
  • Water days: this refers to days on which programs should or should not run. You can usually set certain days of the week to be “water days” or “non-water days” or program your controller to run programs on an interval (for example, every five days).
  • Seasonal adjustment: applying a seasonal adjustment allows you to quickly change the duration of all programs as conditions change. Changing the duration of programs will ultimately change the amount of water that your system outputs.
  • Manual Mode: allows you to run a zone on-demand.
  • System Off: suspends all irrigation.
  • Solar Sync™: this feature, available on Hunter controllers, allows for the installation of a retrofitted weather monitor. This monitor measures moisture and temperature, and adjusts irrigation to appropriate levels in different weather conditions automatically.


The following controllers are typically used and installed by Bio Green. Videos from the manufacturer are included below for your reference. For complete instructions, consult the manual that came with your controller.

Programming a Hunter X-Core Controller

Hunter X-Core Controller (Photo courtesy of Hunter Industries Incorporated)

Photo courtesy of Hunter Industries Incorporated

Programming a Hunter Pro-C Controller

Hunter Pro-C Controller (Photo courtesy Hunter Industries Incorporated)

Photo courtesy Hunter Industries Incorporated

Programming a Rainbird ESP-SMTe Controller

Rainbird ESP-SMTe Controller (photo courtesy Rainbird Corporation)

Photo courtesy Rainbird Corporation

Bio Green is happy to help you in programming your new irrigation system controller. Call our office in Sterling, Virginia at (703) 450-0034 or visit our website at

  • Was this article helpful?
  • Yes!   No

Article Tags