Installing a Sprinkler System in 6 Easy Steps

automatic sprinklers

It would be hard to find someone who does not want to keep a lush, green lawn. However, a well-kept lawn takes a lot of effort and time to maintain. Maintaining the grass requires frequent watering in the right quantity and at proper intervals; too little water and your grass will dry out, too much and the roots will begin to rot. The effort and attention required to maintain your lawn can be significantly reduced by installing a sprinkler system. However, installing one will require you to get your hands dirty. Fret not, though; this is quite a straightforward task, but only as long as you follow the correct procedure. Messing up the installation process can cause severe malfunctions that may end up in costly repairs. On that note, here are six easy steps you need to follow to properly install a sprinkler system.

Gather the Tools

Before you start with the installation process you need to make sure that you have all the necessary tools and materials to take you across the finish line. You don’t want to end up with half your garden dug up, only to realize that you can’t install the sprinkler system. Here is a likely list of tools that you would require:

  •     Metal pipes for ground connections
  •     A shovel for trenching, ideally a mattock
  •     PVC pipes and pipe cutter
  •     Broom
  •     Work gloves
  •     Pipe wrench
  •     Measuring Tape
  •     Hack saw

These are the general tools you would require; however, this list is not exhaustive. In addition to these, you may need some additional tools, so remember to consult the manual of the sprinkler system.

Plan for the Installation Process

Installing a sprinkler can be quite a complicated task and so one must begin with baby steps. The first thing that you need to do is plan how you wish to install the sprinkler system. By this, we don’t mean the procedure, but rather the layout of the system. You should identify the key point where the sprinklers will be placed. The locations of the sprinklers will depend on how far they can reach in terms of their water spray. His would in turn be based on the water pressure which you will have to measure. Once you have determined the range of each sprinkler you can map out your garden on a sheet of paper and mark the positions where you wish to install the sprinklers. To make sure that there are no dry spots in the garden, ideally, the spray of each sprinkler should reach the head of the adjacent sprinkler. Subsequently, you can mark the points physically in the lawn as well to give you a reference and so that you don’t lose track of them. Furthermore, you could use a string to map out the path of the pipes.

Make sure you are also aware of the layouts of the gas line, power lines, and cable tv lines during this phase so that you can locate the sprinklers accordingly.

Dig up Trenches

In order to install the system, you need to dig up trenches to place the pipes. This is where the string that was used to chart the layout of the pipes comes in handy. You should dig trenches along the string. The trenches should be about 12 inches deep for the main irrigation line and roughly about 8 to 12 inches deep for the lateral lines. Make sure you don’t hit any gas pipes or power lines during the process. Although this should have been taken care of during the first step itself while planning the layout, you can never be too careful. Once you have installed the pipes, cover them with mud and sprinkle water. This helps the soil settle down faster.

It would be even better if you could slice off a thin layer of sod before you dig the trenches. The sod can then be replaced on top, after covering up the trenches. This will help cover up any signs of manual labor and leave your lawn looking just as it was before.

Connect with the Home Water Supply

Once you have laid down the pipes, you need to connect the sprinkler system to the water supply of your home. Before you establish the connection though, you need to install a backflow preventer, which is compulsory if you are attaching the sprinkler to the city’s water supply. The location of the water supply connection would generally be in your basement if the region where you live experiences a low-temperature climate and temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if the climate is generally warm, the water supply connection would be in your yard.

Install the Valves and the Heads

garden watering of a spring green lawn sunny garden

The next step is to install the valves and the heads. Make sure you do not open the water supply before doing so! While fitting the sprinkler you need to assess whether drainage is an issue. If it is not an issue, you can use a 90-degree elbow to connect the sprinkler. If however, you need to provide drainage, you can install a 90-degree drain well.

Water sprinkler systems provide an effective way of watering your garden while minimizing wastage of water. The experts at recommend using rain sensors to avoid running your sprinklers during rainfall and avoid wasting water. However, if the system leaks at the joints, you will lose out on one of its biggest advantages: saving water. Thus, you need to make sure that you use Teflon tape (PTFE) to prevent any leakage when installing valves and the heads.

Install the Control System

The final step is to install the control system. There are various features that control systems offer like periodically turning off the sprinklers in different zones to preserve water. In addition, they can also ensure that the sprinklers set off at particular times of the day and can also track sunlight and temperature. One simple way of checking if your controllers are water-efficient is to see if they have a WaterSense sticker. While installing the controller, all you need to do is follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and make all the connections accordingly. Subsequent to that you can do a trial run to make sure that the system works properly and covers all the portions of the lawn.

While installing a sprinkler system may seem like a complicated task, it is actually quite straightforward if you follow the correct procedure. However, some physical labor would definitely be involved. By following these tips, you can make sure that you get the most out of your new sprinkler system.

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