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How To Install Lawn Watering System

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Pros And Cons Of Installing A Sprinkler System For Your New Home

How to Install In-Ground Sprinklers | This Old House

When youre building a new home, one important landscaping question you may face is whether to install a permanent irrigation/sprinkler system in your yard. While certainly a convenient and potentially cost-saving option for caring for your lawn, having an irrigation system professionally installed can come with steep upfront costs, and its best done before any landscaping is completed as the soil will need to be dug out and replaced for installation to occur.

In short, there is quite a bit to consider when it comes to adding a residential irrigation system to your yard. Heres what to think about:

Lawn And Landscaping Repair

Installing a sprinkler system in an existing lawn or planter bed requires repairing lawn damage. Hire lawn care or landscaping services to help with:

  • Grass seeding costs $0.10 to $0.25 per square foot and can repair minor lawn damage.
  • Sod prices are $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot for materials or $0.90 to $1.80 per square foot with installation, and repairs areas damaged by trenching or pipe-pulling.
  • Landscaping costs$50 to $100 per hour or $4 to $12 per square foot to repair damaged planter beds.

Cons: Possible Irrigation System Deterrents

In addition to sizeable upfront installation costs, another major factor to consider is ongoing maintenance and repairs and those associated costs. Irrigation systems include a fair amount of moving parts that require periodic adjustment and replacement over time. Sprinkler heads can shift out of alignment and may require manual readjustment to ensure proper coverage of the zones they were designed to water. They may also become damaged during routine yard maintenance, such as mowing, and require complete replacement.

You should also be aware of potential underground damage to water pipes and the need to winterize the system during colder months. Pests and intrusive tree roots have been known to damage underground sections of irrigation systems resulting in costly repairs and damage to the lawn since portions will need to be dug out to access and repair cracked pipes. Irrigation systems installed in colder areas of the country that experience hard freezes will require winterizing to avoid permanent damage since residual water is stored within the underground delivery pipes. Depending on the system installed, winterizing may require more than minimal effort from a homeowner to ensure their system is properly prepared for a potential freeze, so if youre seeking a maintenance-free experience, you should keep this factor in mind.

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How To Decide If You Need An Underground Irrigation System:

  • The type of grass in your lawn affects irrigation needs.

  • Some turfgrass varieties have higher water requirements than others.

  • Your soil type also affects the efficiency of irrigation. For example, sandy soils absorb water more quickly than clay.

  • An irrigation system gives you better control of your soils moisture content, but if you supply more water than the soil can absorb, runoff is the result.

Planning and purchasing the correct components are the keys to success. But dont be discouraged. Most manufacturers of home irrigation systems have design and planning guides that simplify the job considerably.

Plan The Drip Irrigation System

How To Install An Irrigation System

If this is your first venture into micro irrigation, start small and experiment to get a feel for how the system works. Choose one or two flowerbeds or a garden and install a simple one-zone garden drip system.

The basic planning strategy is to pick the best watering device to serve each type of plant. Then determine a flow rate that supplies adequate water to every plant in the watering zone.

  • Start by measuring your garden and making a simple sketch.
  • Choose the type and flow rate of the watering devices based on your soil and the plants water needs. Mark these on the drip irrigation system plan and draw in the tubing route to connect them. This will involve a little guesswork.
  • Try to cover all the root zones of your plants. Dont worry about getting everything perfect at first.
  • Add a few extra of each type of watering device and buy the watering devices, tubing and the basic parts shown in Figure B for the faucet hookup. Once you see how the drip irrigation system works, youll find its easy to relocate or add emitters to get a more balanced water flow or better coverage.
  • Set up the system to run between one and two hours at a time, two or three times a week.

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Sprinkler System Installation Guide

Okay, the planning’s done, you’ve bought all the parts, now you’re in the yard, shovel in hand, ready to start. In this helpful video, we’ll show you the steps to a perfect sprinkler system installation, including trenching, connecting the water source, installing shut-off valves, working with PVC pipe, building a valve manifold, connecting wires, installing sprinklers and flushing your system.


  • Place a stake or flag at every sprinkler location as indicated on your layout. Use string to show where the pipe will run. STOP! Make sure you know where all gas lines, power lines and cable TV lines are before you start to dig. Be sure to call your utility companies if you need help.



  • Hook up your water supply. Did you check with your Rain Bird Dealer to find out which connections are right for your local codes and conditions?



  • Place lengths of pipe along the string after laying out the right sprinklers and connectors at each stake.Note: Using swing joints or EZ Pipe makes positioning sprinklers easier.


  • Start assembling moving from one sprinkler location to the next. Don’t connect the sprinkler until everything is assembled so that you can flush the system with water to clear out any dirt that got in the pipes.



  • Attach the sprinklers after flushing the system with water.


Before Installing A Permanent Irrigation System Youll Need To:

  • See if your locality requires a building permit.

  • Check for underground utilities before digging. Before you begin any excavation , youve got to call and check for underground utilities.

  • Research your local municipal watering ordinances.

  • Find out if your state/local regulations require a licensed professional installation.

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Check The Water Flow Rate

Your system will only be as good as your water pressure. So the first thing is to measure the flow in litres per second from the garden tap. You need to know this to tell how many and what type of sprays can be serviced at any one time. This is easy to find out. First, turn off all taps. Then turn one garden tap on full into a 9-litre bucket, but not through the hose. With your watch ready, time how long it takes to fill the bucket in seconds.

Then divide the bucket size by the time to fill in seconds, and multiply by 60. This will give you your flow rate in litres per minute. For example:

9 litre bucket ÷ 20 seconds x 60 = 27 litres per minute

The types and number of sprays you can use at any one time varies according to the brand. So use your flow rate and check the manufacturers brochure in planning your system.

How Do You Lay A Lawn Irrigation System

How To Install Irrigation For Your Lawn
  • plot types and locations of sprinkler heads. Plan the System.
  • install an anti siphon valve. Access the Water Line.
  • dig the trench for system.
  • attach one end of valve manifold assembly to water.
  • attach risers using 90 degree connectors.
  • level sprinkler heads with soil level.
  • timer controls length and frequency of waterings.
  • Accordingly, how do you make an irrigation system?

    How to Build a Drip Irrigation System

  • Step 1 â Install Timers, Valves and Hardware. You can connect a drip system directly to a hose faucet and turn it on and off manually as needed, but automated valves make life easier.
  • Step 2 â Install the Tubing and Emitters.
  • Fine-Tuning and Customization.
  • One may also ask, how do you install automatic sprinklers?

  • plot types and locations of sprinkler heads. Plan the System.
  • install an anti siphon valve. Access the Water Line.
  • dig the trench for system.
  • attach one end of valve manifold assembly to water.
  • attach risers using 90 degree connectors.
  • level sprinkler heads with soil level.
  • timer controls length and frequency of waterings.
  • Likewise, how many zones do I need for my sprinkler system?

    The resulting number will equal how many zones you need. If, for example, each sprinkler head will require a flow rate of 1.31 GPM and you have 20 of them, then you will need 26.2 GPM total. If your system can only handle 16.67, you will need to use two zones to cover that same area of your yard.

    Can you use 1/2 inch sprinkler pipe?

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    Elements Of The Irrigation System

    Your automatic sprinkler irrigation system will consist of the following main elements, which you will need to assemble:

    The programmer is the brain, the control unit that manages the irrigation times of each irrigation sector.

    Solenoid valves are connected by cables to the programmer, and are in charge of opening and closing the different irrigation sectors depending on what it indicates, operating each area or irrigation phase independently.

    Polyethylene pipe in different measures, water will flow through it towards the emitters. The pipe you use must be manageable, flexible and easy to cut.

    Irrigation emitters are the elements that project water throughout the surface, those responsible for carrying out irrigation. They are chosen based on what is going to be watered and the extension of the surface. Each type of emitter has a utility, scope and angle of irrigation, for small and large areas of grass.

    Polyethylene irrigation accessories. Depending on the type and characteristics of your installation, you will need other additional accessories, which you will see later when you explain the steps to carry out the assembly. Suffice it to say for now that the most frequent are collars, manifolds for solenoid valves, and elbows of different sizes.

    How To Dewinterize A Sprinkler System Locate The Vacuum Breaker Which Is Usually Near The Manifold Outside

    How to turn on sprinkler system water. The issue comes when you have a sprinkler system, and you find that it wont turn on. Thankfully, no matter the type of sprinkler head you have, you can read the products user manual to have a detailed list of steps on how to remove the head and clean it. The time required to turn on the irrigation system may be as little as 30 mins up to a couple of hours depending on the size and complexity of the system.

    Its found at the main water supply that comes into your house from the street, often in your basement or garage. Often tree roots have grown into the pipes causing them to have holes or to break. There are generally two types of sprinkler system valves:

    One indicator is if there are potholes or sink holes in the yard. How to turn on your sprinkler system 30 plus years in the business has given us a phd in sprinkler system service and repair. Close the valve and go turn the water back on.

    The best time to turn your sprinkler system back on is when the temperature outside is past the point of freezing overnight. Turning your sprinkler system back on in the spring requires expertise and patience, to avoid damaging the system. First, turn on the water supply to identify which sprinkler is causing your sprinkler system to malfunction.

    Turn off the water and go look for any sign of water spraying. Typically, this valve will be blue and located on the side or back of your home. This is the fully open position.

    Pin on sprinkler

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    Begin At The Outside Faucet

    The Y-splitter with shutoffs allows you to keep the drip system on all the time and still use your regular garden hose. You dont have to use a controller, but you must use a backflow preventer.

    • Mount a ‘Y’ with shutoff valves to your faucet.
    • Then attach the optional timer, backflow preventer, filter, pressure regulator and adapter.
    • Pro tip: Some of these components are available with hose thread or pipe thread, so make sure to match the thread type when you buy parts. Joining hose thread to pipe thread will result in leaks.

    Dig The Trenches And Connect The Pipe

    A Step

    Use the string as a guideline as you dig your trench. It should be 4 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches deep.

    Then lay the pipe into the trench to ensure you have enough for your entire yard. Using an adhesive and primer, connect the ends of the PVC pipe to the zone valve. For each sprinkler, use a tee connection to keep it in place.

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    Thinking Of Hiring A Pro Heres How Much It Costs To Have A Sprinkler System Installed

    As you can tell from the overview above, installing your own lawn sprinkler system is a labor-intensive process. If youre not up for it, dont feel bad. Its better to hire a professional that can complete the job without any hassle or costly mistakes.

    Hiring a professional contractor to build your system will cost you between $3,000 to $4,000 for a 1/4-acre lot. While more costly than doing it yourself, a contractor will likely be able to design your system in an efficient way that conserves water over time. Vet them carefully. Request an on-site estimate and ask for their professional certifications and references.

    Connect The Timer Wires

    • Mount the programmable timer on the house wall.
    • Strip the insulation from the ends of the 24-volt wires that lead from the zone valves to the timer.
    • Attach the wires to the timer terminals, as shown in the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Hire a licensed electrician to run power to the timer, if necessary.
    • Set the timer and run a test to make sure that each zone and all the sprinklers are operating properly.
    • Finally, adjust any nozzles that are spraying off course.

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    Why Choose Wheats Landscape

    Wheats Landscape is a full-service company serving McLean, Great Falls, Vienna, Tysons, Oakton, Arlington, Northwest and Southwest DC, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, and Potomac. Our highly trained, professional team will create a custom design and layout for your new sprinkler system based on your unique landscaping needs.

    We take pride in the high-quality services we offer and are committed to earning your repeat business. Reliability and efficiency are the fundamentals of our business, and our certified team of professionals can handle services for all types of sprinkler systems, regardless of manufacturer.

    Craft An Irrigation Map

    Installing an Underground lawn irrigation system

    Map out your property including any shrubs, trees, and flower beds. Be sure to mark out where the sprinkler heads, pipes, and control valves will go. Space them out nicely so that they provide adequate coverage.

    Manufacturers can also provide templates for this. Once you send them a sketch, they will send back a detailed plan, including specific instructions as well as a list of what youll need to buy at the hardware store.

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    Home Irrigation System Cost Per Square Foot

    Home sprinkler systems cost $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot or $2,000 to $4,000 for an average 10,000 square foot lawn. Prices per square foot decrease as the yard size increases. Yards with multiple zones or complex installations are priced at the higher end of the range.

    Irrigation system cost calculator per square foot

    Square feet

    *Price includes materials and professional installation.

    • In-ground sprinkler systems are the most common and feature sprinkler heads connected to underground pipes.
    • Drip irrigation distributes water directly to plants through tubing on the surface.
    • Above-ground irrigation uses sprinklers connected to hoses on the surface and is typically a DIY project.

    Getting Sprinkler System Installation Quotes

    Before hiring a sprinkler installer, be sure to:

    • Get at least three in-person quotes to compare.
    • Select companies with experience installing and maintaining sprinkler systems.
    • Look for installers certified by the Irrigation Association.
    • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau .
    • Choose a company that is licensed, bonded, and insured.
    • Request a sprinkler system design plan detailing the water pressure, zones, type and placement of sprinkler heads, and head-to-head water coverage.
    • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
    • Avoid companies with the cheapest quotes as quality may suffer.
    • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.

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    Connect Sprinkler Heads And An Automatic Timer

    Connect a sprinkler head to each riser. Ensure they are facing the right direction and that they are ground level or just above the soil level for best results. To hold them in place, pack soil firmly around the heads.

    Mount the timer on the house wall and use a waterproof pipe to wire it to the control valve. Use the manufacturers instructions to attach the wires correctly, or hire a licensed electrician to help you with this step.

    Be sure to test each zone to control the valves using the timer.

    And remember: rather than overextend a single zone, it’s better to add another line to keep your yard from getting overwatered.

    Learn More About Your Water Supply

    How to Install an Irrigation System in 11 Easy Steps ...

    You need to gather information about your water supply to ensure you purchase the right components and tools.

    Luckily, manufacturers often design custom systems that are specific to your yard and region. They provide instructions on how to check your water pressure and flow to find the right sprinkler system.

    Heres what you need to know about your water:

    • Size of the water service line
    • Water pressure in PSI using a pressure gauge you can attach to the outside faucet
    • Size of the water service line
    • Flow rate measured in gallons per minute

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