How To Set Up A Lawn Sprinkler System

Setting up a lawn sprinkler system is not easy. It takes a lot of work and also costs quite a bit of money. Personally, I would recommend hiring a professional sprinkler system installer to take care of it for you. It will cost a bit more, but will save you a lot of hassle. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s a good chance you might screw something up and that would end up costing you a lot more money.

lawn sprinkler system

If you do decide to install your own lawn sprinkler system, I will try to help you as best I can. I wll list the steps and give you a short description of each. Hopefully this will help you get your sprinkler system up and running.

Plan out your sprinkler system

Before you begin installing anything, you need to have a complete plan for your sprinkler system. The first step is to contact your utility company and figure out where all existing cables are buried in your yard. You want to make sure you don’t hit any of them when you start digging.

You also need to know the exact size of the yard, so go ahead and measure that out. Then you need to figure out the water pressure and the range of each individual sprinkler head. You need to know exactly how much area they cover. When you install the sprinklers, you want to make sure that the water from one head reaches the next one in each direction. This ensures that there are no dry spots in your yard.

Next, make a diagram of your yard on paper and add in all the locations of the sprinkler heads, including the type of head. Once you have your diagram, mark your yard with some yard paint or some little flags. Put one in the location of each sprinkler head.


Get access to water

The easiest way to get access to water is to tap into your existing main water line. You can also connect to an existing spigot, but it is more professional to connect to the mainline. Either of those two methods do require an anti-siphon valve. This prevents various lawn chemicals and fertilizers and plain brackish water from entering your sprinkler system.

Dig your trench

Next you want to dig a trench that will be about 6 to 8 inches deep. First, remove the sod and place it to one side. This makes it much easier to replace later. If you have access to a vibratory plow, this will make the job much easier. These are also sometimes known as a trenching device.

Install the valve manifold

You need to get the whole valve manifold box into the ground, so you need to dig a hole that is slightly larger than the box itself. One end of this needs to be attached to the main water line. Make sure to tighten all clamps securely, so no water leaks.

Lay the PVC piping

You want to use three-quarter inch PVC pipes for this. Attach the piping to the open end of the valve manifold. Then lay pipe all along the trench you dug previously. Anywhere where the pipe branches off from the main trench, used “t” connectors. Attach them to the line using 90° connectors.

Install the sprinkler heads

lawn sprinkler headBefore you install the sprinkler heads, run water through the line to make sure there is no debris. You also want to make sure all sprinkler heads are level with the soil.

Once you got them installed, fill-in all the dirt round the sprinklers and all of the trenches you dug. Replace the sod. Hopefully you won;t even be able to tell that you dug up your yard.

Install the controller

The sprinkler system controller includes a timer that will regulate when the sprinklers turn on and for how long they stay on. Controllers differ a lot among manufacturers, so follow the manufacturer instructions carefully when installing yours. The final connection you make should be to the main water line. Once everything is set up, test your system completely and make sure all the sprinkler heads are even.

As you can see, the work is not overly difficult, but it involves a lot of time. There’s a lot of digging and a lot of work laying all the piping and connecting everything. If you have children, this could be a good project to do together. It could be a learning experience for them and a fun thing to do with your family. You also need to make plans to protect everything during the winter freeze.

If you are busy, however, I definitely suggest you hire a professional. It will cost you more money, but the time savings more than make up for that. If you want to avoid the time and work, maybe just move your entire garden indoors.

For more detailed instructions, check out Lowe’s Hardware.

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