Hi, I am planning to install a small DIY irrigation system in my 1000
sq. foot backyard. I have a hose spigot in the back of the house, and
have been told that for a small system I can probably connect it
directly to the spigot rather than running a new water line before the
spigot. Can anyone advise on this? The system I envision would be set
up like a drip system, but using conventional RainBird (or equivalent)
pop up heads. I would connect an anti-siphon valve to the spigot, then
a battery operated timer, then PVC pipe would run into the ground and
out to the yard. Any advice is appreciated. I don't need multiple
zones and would like to do this as simply as possible.
You sound like you have done a lot of the homework already! You might also
need a pressure regulator* and a fertilizer injector, and you'll probably
want to install a 2- to 4-way splitter at the spigot so that you don't
have to undo the connection to the PBC pipe when you want water for other
things, like to fill a bucket or wash hands.
*if the line pressure is too much higher than what your system needs.
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Your spigot is, in all likelihood, on a half inch supply line, which is
probably not sufficient for the volume of water an irrigation system
uses. Also, you will be disabling your spigot, if I read your plan
correctly, as you would have to go inside, shut off the water, go
outside and disconnect the irrigation system and shut off the spigot, go
inside and turn the water on, then go outside to use the spigot, all
just to use the spigot, then reverse the whole process to restore the
sprinkler. Also, around here where we have freezing winters, PVC isn't
the best choice for lines, as it is said to be easily cracked during
Enough of the negativity. My suggestion would be to replace the supply
line with a larger line, put a T in it outside to hang the spigot, then
continue the larger line into a buried control box. Run control wires
along with the supply line into the control box, and you can use an
indoor controller, which gives more flexibility than a timer. Depending
on your water pressure and volume and topography, having more than one
zone may be a good idea, as it takes high pressure to pop up the valves;
the reduced pressure for a drip system won't do it, and the parts for a
second or third zone cost relatively little. One other suggestion is to
get all your supplies from an irrigation supply house (I think the
Rainbird website lists those that handle their stuff) rather than from a
home center; the home centers carry the lowest grades and change
allegiances often, so getting replacement parts there, or even a good
assortment, is often problematic.
I had my back yard installed professionally, then shamelessly copied his
work to do my front yard a few years later. I think the irrigation
system is a good investment, as it seems to use less water (I set it to
go off at 5 in the morning, since it uses all our water pressure but we
aren't up then, and for shorter and more frequent periods. The water
soaks in rather than being evaporated by the sun, and our lawn and
flowers and garden all are in much better shape than before we had it.
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You don't need multiple zones only if your water supply can operate the entire
setup and all of it's heads simultaniously. I doubt a 10 x 100 or 25 x 40' area
can be effectively watered using only one "zone" of popup spray heads with a
1/2" supply pipe unless you have really high water pressure.
Your best bet is to purchase the piping and fittings and spray heads and
whatever cheap-o mock-up plastic fittings you'll need to build the system and
connect it to the spigot before digging or burying anything. Then run it above
ground and see if it works before you commit yourself to one zone.
Also, as others suggested, it's easy enough to convert a single spigot to a 2
or 3 spigot in case you need more than one zone and timer and still want to use
a hose occasionally w/o having to disconnect anything.
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