Sprinkler System: Planning and Installation

Al Ardh Alkhadra > Blog > Gardening > Sprinkler System: Planning and Installation

sprinkler system

A Sprinkler system is an important part of your gardening needs. In order for your lawn to look verdant and lush you need to water your plant.

When you get a professionally installed ground irrigation system, they provide total coverage, however, you will need to dig and spend time, and money.

Although loose hoses and sprinklers tend to be a low-cost alternative, the sprinklers need to move constantly and unwatered patches are inevitable.

You can get a sprinkler system installed by a professional.

While you can also plan it and do it in a few weeks, depending on the size of your yard and the system.

Getting the right parts, preparing, and the sprinkler system that pop’s at the right time will be advantageous to your yard or garden.

Keep on reading to learn more about the sprinkler system.

DIY or Professional Sprinkler System?

Deciding to get a professional installation or doing it yourself is a process where you have to weigh a lot of important factors.

A professional installation will be carefree and it may be due to the fact that in your area there will be certain state and local regulations.

However, DIY installation is something you can enjoy, both installation and upkeep will be doable for you.

Some of the pros and cons of professional lawn sprinklers are:

Pros: Some pros of getting professional work are:

When you get a sprinkler system from a professional they will add a warranty to your system. Moreover, they will come and fix the system at no cost to you.

Cons: When you are getting a such system from the system the cost will depend on factors like:

  • size of the yard
  • materials
  • company you use

sprinkler system 1

On the other hand, some pros and cons of a lawn sprinkler you install yourself are:

Pros: First you will save money, the purchase of parts will be different and less than professional installation, and there will be no labor charge.

Cons: However, it will be labor intensive, you can find and fix malfunctions yourself, you’ll pay for the repairs yourself, and need to rent equipment to do the work.

Learn more about Water Irrigation: And Its Importance here.

Planning the Sprinkler System

Before you begin the process and start digging holes, and laying pipes to install the system, you will need to do some planning beforehand.

Some important steps are:

Local Ordinance: First, research your local ordinance on water usage, as it can vary from one location to another.

Local County Office: Check with the local county office if you need a permit to install a sprinkler system.

Moreover, you will also need to find out if you can install the system yourself or if you need to hire a professional as per state and local regulations.

Local Companies: Contact them to mark your underground line a few days before you begin.

This is because you will not want to damage the utility line and lose power, telephone service, cable, and internet when doing the work.

Learn more about Manual Irrigation: Its Importance here.

Irrigation Plan

Next, you need to plant out your lawn sprinkler system using a sketch of the area where you will be installing the system.

Assign zones according to the water requirements for certain vegetation growing at that certain part.

One important thing you need to find is the turd when configuring the zones of the sprinkler system.

This is because the turf has different water requirements from trees and shrubs.

Although you can use a standard sprinkler head for turfgrass, it is better to use lower spray heads for zones where there are trees and shrubs.

Moreover, drip irrigation tends to work better where you have a vegetable garden.


Some quick tips to draw your sprinkler system plan are:

Stay Close to the Scale: This step involves the following:

  • draw the layout of your lawn, note the location of trees, flower beds, or other vegetation
  • not turfgrass area for varying watering patterns
  • mark hardscapes like retaining walls, walkways, or driveway

Mark a Plan: During this step, you will need to mark the plan where you will be placing the PVC pipe and control box

Placement of Sprinkler Heads: In this step, you need to take into account slopes and note the proposed placement of sprinkler heads.

  • for proper irrigation, you want the spray pattern of each head to overlap its nearby pattern by 50%
  • the spray should overlap all the areas of your yard

Learn more about Greenhouse Irrigation: Best Watering System here.

Water Pressure and Flow Rate

Before you rush out to make a purchase for all your DIY irrigation supplies, you will need to find a number of important aspects about the flow of water through the system.

After figuring these out, you will be able to buy the right parts.

Water Pressure: You will need to find the working measurement of the water pressure.

It is the pressure when you turn on the water.

To do this, attach a pressure gauge to an outside faucet and turn on the water.

Make sure that all other water valves are off both inside and outside your home.

The gauge will show the water pressure per square inch, psi.

Water Meter Size or Well Size: If you are receiving water from a municipal water system you will be able to find the size of the water meter on the box.

However, if you are unable to locate it in the box, you can call the water company for the information.

On the other hand, if the water is coming from a well, the size of the well pump will be on the outside of the pump or its owner’s manual.

Size of Service Lane: In order to make the right purchase of the pipe that matches the existing water service line, make sure to measure it before your purchase the PVC pipe for your sprinkler system.

Flow Rate: It tells you how many gallons of water per minute, and the GPM you are receiving.

The steps to find the flow rate are:

  • take a five-gallon container to your outside spigot
  • turn the water on fully and use your phone or stopwatch to record the time it will take to fill the container
  • divide the size of the container by the number of seconds it takes to fill the container
  • multiply the result by 60 and you will get the flow rate, i.e. gallons per minute
  • to find the gallons per house, multiply the flow rate by 60

Pro Tips: Many experts recommend that you should know the flow rate before installing a lawn sprinkler system.

Moreover, you need to find the amount of water each sprinkler head will use to install the right amount of sprinkler heads.

This is because installing a lot of heads in a zone with an inadequate flow rate may result in the area not getting water properly.

Learn more about Sub Irrigation Farming: How Does it Work? here.

Sprinkler System Kit

Different irrigation companies tend to offer ways to install sprinkler system kits.

These are good options for both small and medium-sized lanes of 1,000 to 3,000 square kits.

Moreover, the kits come with all the basic instructions and parts you will install.

However, for large areas, these kits may not be the best choice and you may need a number of kits to water the entire area.

It is important to note that kits have certain limitations.

You cannot expand the system without effect the quality and the amount of water they will spray.

Furthermore, when you are purchasing the kit, you need to consider the elevation of the yard.

If it is more than 6 feet from the sprinkler head to the hose bib, it can be problematic.

While one benefit of a kit is that you will not have to worry about the main water line and can hook it up to the outdoor faucet.

Additionally, these kits con with easily programmed controllers and have rain delay features.

These will suspend the irrigation for a number of days without losing your program.

DIY System

Below are the important parts you will need to install the lawn sprinkler system:

PVC Pipe: If you are installing an underground sprinkler system, it will be made out of PVC pipe.

It is a good idea to have a little extra on hand if you make a bad cut.

PVC Fittings: You will need elbows and tees that will allow for direction changes you need to lay the PVC piping.

Controller and Timer: With an automatic system, you will need a controller and timer you need to set.

These units will know the time and determine how long you can water.

Moreover, you can also purchase “smart” or manual controllers, Smart controllers tend to save water by automatically adjusting according to the weather conditions.

However, manual controllers will water your yard according to the program you set.

Sprinkler heads: These are the working parts that will spray water onto the landscape.

The style of the sprinkler head depends on the:

  • the direction of the spray
  • the amount of space you intend to spray
  • style of the spray pattern

Tubing or Risers: You will need either of these to connect the sprinkler head or drip line to the PVC pipe to make the system work.

Valves: These control the flow of water through the system and these open and close.

This will allow the water to enter the sprinkler system.

Valve Box: This will provide access and protection for the valves.

Wiring: You will need wiring to connect to the control center as it opens and closes the valves as needed.

Drains: These will help keep water out of pipes when there is no pressure in them.

Both manual and automatic drains are present at the end of the sprinkler lines and low points.

Backflow Preventer: A lot of municipalities will need the installation of a backflow preventer.

This will keep the water in the system from going back into the water supply of your home.

It is important to note that this list does not include basic tools like shovels, PVC glue, a pipe cutter, landscape flags, stakes, or string.

You can either rent a power trencher or a pipe puller at your local rental store.

Learn more about The Role of Sprinkler Irrigation in Crop Yield here.

Selecting Sprinkler Heads

After mapping out your area, you will need to select the sprinkler head for zones depending on the plant that is growing there.

Variations of turf, trees, and vegetation will need varying head styles.

Some Types of Sprinkler heads are:

Fixed Spray: This one works best on smaller lawns or in beds with ground covers or shrubs.

They tend to produce a tight, constant fan of watering that spans about 5 to 15 ft.

Bubble/Flood: These will work well around:

  • tres,
  • in planter boxes
  • at the base of the shrubs

sprinkler heads

Moreover, these will work by flooding water on the ground and the root zones of the vegetation. instead of spraying the foliage.

These will water small areas of five feet or less.

Gear-Driven: These sprinkler heads tend to work for large to medium-sized lawns.

The heads tend to have a smooth operating style and you can also adjust the spray patterns.

Multiple Stream: These work well on uneven yards, sloped areas, medium-sized yards, or in beds with ground covers.

Moreover, they slowly rotate in an 18-27 foot span, thus producing a thin stream of water.

Pop-Up: These sprinkler heads work well in yards and garden areas.

It pops up from the ground level and evenly distributes water at a low angle when you turn the system on.

Furthermore, the units disappear back into the ground when you turn them off.

Rotary: Rotary heads tend to work well in all sizes of yards.

The heads will rotate in a circle and deliver a slower, single stream of water.

Shrub: These tend to work well in flower beds that have shrubs or planters.

Moreover, they have special, adjustable pattern nozzles that create a more flexible watering pattern.

Both risers or extensions will let them rise above the vegetation.

Installing the Sprinkler System

After performing all the steps above, you can get to work and install the irrigation system. Follow the steps below:

Mark Sprinkler Heads and Pipes: With the help of your plan, place the landscape flags or stakes in every location where you want to install the sprinkler heads.

You can also use a string to mark where the pipes will go.

Dig Trenches: After performing the above step, flow the string, and dig your trenches for pipes that are 6 to 12 inches deep.

One important thing to note is that you should place the heads properly for 100% coverage, and dig the trenches deep enough.

In case they are too shallow, it can lead to damage to the pipe and become exposed.

Lay the trench soil to one side and place sod on the other.

Moreover, you can rent a power trencher that will make digging more easier than by hand.

You can use a pipe puller to install PVC piping to keep you from digging the lawn.

Water Supply: Then hook up the water supply.

You can do it either by attaching it to s spigot or trapping it into the main water line.

Attaching the sprinkler system to a spigot with enough water pressure is the easiest method, however, it is suitable only without extreme winters.

Hooking up to the main line can be a bit confusing and if you are not comfortable, you can call a plumber.

Valve Manifold Assembly: Install the manifold by digging a hole that is a little bigger than the valve manifold box.

Attach the main water supply to one end of the assembly and tighten the clamps.

Running Pipe: then lay your PVC pipe in the trenches and lay the right sprinkler head and connectors at each flag or stake.

Assembly Parts: Beginning at one sprinkler spot, assemble all the parts except the sprinkler heads.

Then move on to the neck spot and repeat the process.

You will need to flush dirt and debris that makes its way to the pipes before your install them, as these can clog.

sprinkler system installion

Flush System: You will need this system by turning the water back on.

For this, you will need to manually open each valve and allow the water to clear the pipe, and close it, moving to the next valve.

Installing Sprinkler Heads: After flushing the debris from the system, attach the sprinkler heads to an irrigation system.

Wiring Control Box: This one is the brain that you will wire the controller box according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Test and Adjust: After accomplishing your goals, it is time to test things out and program the control box, according to the instructions.

Moreover, conduct a water audit to make sure enough water reaches all parts of the grass.

Turn on the stem, and check the sprinkler heads and spray patterns. Adjust them and program the control box to the days and hours you want.

Fill the Trench: After testing the lawn sprinkler system, whether everything is working properly or not.

Backfill the trenches with dirt and replant the sod.

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