Most portable sprinklers work well if your lawn or garden is round or rectangular, but what about curved beds and oddly shaped lawns? If you're tired of watering the sidewalk and driveway instead of the lawn, there is a new sprinkler that adjusts to virtually any lawn or garden shape, distributing water evenly over its entire surface from one sprinkler head.
Gilmour Manufacturing's Pattern Master sprinklers have either impulse or rotary heads at the center of a stable plastic sled base. An adjustable track that looks, when properly adjusted, something like a little black roller coaster surrounds the sprinkler head. An arm attached to the sprinkler head follows this track as the head rotates. When the arm rises, it forces the head to reduce the throw of the water to as little as 16 feet; at its lowest position, the track affords a maximum throw of about 43 feet.
The track has 12 thumb-controlled adjustment posts; they're easily adjusted, and you can set a precise spray pattern throughout a 360 degree rotation (the minimum is a 30 degree arc). You can also adjust the rotation speed to distribute the water gradually.
Once you soak yourself and your yard while programming these sprinklers, you'll want a way to remember where to set the sprinkler and its orientation to the hose inlet for the next watering. To do that, the manufacturer supplies a golf-tee-like marker that you can set in the lawn (and even mow over without destroying).
The rotary sprinkler works effectively to 35 feet and at water pressures down to 15 psi, and it's quiet. The pulsating sprinkler version throws water a little farther (about 43 feet) but has the distinctive impulse sprinkler sound.
The ATR5PM Pattern Master Rotary Sprinkler costs about $40, the 996 Pattern Master Pulsating Sprinkler about $33. Look for them in most home centers, or call (800) 458-0107 for a dealer near you.