Our new house has a strange, in-ground irrigation system. It's totally manual, no wires anywhere. There are a couple of hoses sticking out just below the outside faucet, but not long enough to reach by themselves. I've connected a short (6 foot) garden hose to them, just to verify that the system works.
The perennial garden has sprayers on fixed risers of varying height that seem to work fine. However, the lawn just seems to have a handful of valve boxes, each with a short riser ending in a quick-connect piece. Judging by the leftovers in the shed, I think the previous owners used impact sprayer heads with the matching quick-connect piece. That means whenever they wanted to water, they'd have to go out, take off the box covers, connect the heads, open the valve in each box, then turn on the water at the faucet - I'm guessing.
I'll probably add a cheap anti-backflow valve at the faucet, and maybe a battery powered timer. Still, using a six foot hose to bridge the short gap between the faucet and the hoses coming out of the ground seems hokey, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something?
Second question is whether using impact heads (or other heads) with quick connectors makes sense? It hardly makes the system seem worthwhile, but I can't think of anything else. Because of the valve boxes, I can't see installing permanent sprinkler heads. The ball valves seem to be an integral part of the control system, not merely for maintenance.
Finally, is there an easy way to tell if there are drainage valves, or other steps needed for winterization? The system has obviously survived several New England winters. I can't imagine doing this sort of inexpensive system only to require hiring someone at the end of each season to blow out the pipes.