I have one area of around 100' x 100' that I'd like to start watering
automatically. How hard is it to put n those little popup mist
sprayers? Or is it a pro job? Do those things have pumps or work off
regular pressure? (BTW I have a well system, if that makes a
Definitely pick up some brochures. It's a job you can do yourself. The
sprinklers should work on just the water pressure, but you may need to break
up the watering into several "zones" - probably 3 or 4 zones for 100sf.
This is a calculation that you will need to make and it depends on the
sprinkler placement and the types of sprinklers used. Draw up a scale
diagram of your lawn complete with sprinkler locations, etc. Make sure that
each sprinkler's spray can reach adjacent sprinklers. Use sched 40 and bury
them 8-10" deep. I'm sure a google search will provide you with endless
lawn watering system design info.
No, when it does not rain, the grass does not grow. I'm not upset when
nature happens like that.
The trenches are about 8" but may differ in some climates. The system is
supposed to be drained at the end of the season if it could freeze.
Depending on your experience and patience, it is doable. There a alot
of DIY books on the subject. The designs I have seen work off regular
pressure. I have also heard of systems that use a cistern and pump.
The cistern can be filled with either rain water or house water. A
cistern would take a lot of the work off of the well pump and tank.
You can do your own trenching but be aware that there is more than one
style of trencher. A large trencher in your yard can make a big
mess. You don't really need a big trench, just a continuous slit in
the ground to accept the pipe.
The pros may have some guys who will dig by hand a slit style trench
which disturbs the existing sod very little. A tool called a
vibratory plow also does this job. You should be able to rent a
machine that makes these low impact trenches. Look for a brand:
Ditch Witch. They can be rented where I live.
It's not rocket surgery. :-) Did my own sprinklers in the back yard -
twice. First time after we bought the house, second time after we had
the pool built which ripped up the first set of sprinklers. I'm a
software engineer, so planning the system was the big fun for me, the
execution of the plan was kind of an afterthought.
Should work off normal house water pressure, around 40 psi minimum I
think. The little brochures that Toro and Rainbird leave in the racks
at the Borgs will give you all the design details. There will be a
chart in there that tells you how many GPM can be supplied through a
3/4 inch PVC pipe at a given supply pressure. You add up the GPM for
each sprinkler head you use, and the total should not exceed the
supply GPM in order for the pop-up heads to work well. Make sure the
coverage fully overlaps from one head to the next - if the head has a
15 ft radius, the heads should be 15 ft apart. So, you figure how many
circuits you need by dividing stuff up so you don't exceed the maximum
recommended flow at your supply pressure. Since you said you're on a
well, you need to make sure your well pump can keep up.
You can use manual valves for each circuit, or electric valves with a
timer/controller - not very difficult to set that up.
Your trenches should be 6 to 8 inches deep to accommodate the height
of the sprinkler head plus room for connecting to the supply pipe. The
sprinkler heads connect to the supply pipe with a threaded tee fitting
and a cutoff riser. Renting a trencher makes life a lot easier.
The piping work itself is dead simple. Cut the pipe to length - you
can use a hacksaw, or you can buy a sprinkler pipe cutting tool for $8
or so. Slap some primer and glue on the inside of the fitting and the
outside of the pipe. Push and twist a little until the pipe bottoms
out in the fitting. Move on to the next joint.
When you have everything together, take the heads off each sprinkler
circuit and run the water for 5 or 10 seconds, flushes the dirt out of
the pipes, keeps your sprinkler heads from clogging.
Throw the dirt back in the trenches and have a beer, you're done.
Oh, almost forgot. You don't say what part of the country you're in.
If winter freezing is a concern, it might be a good idea to include a
fitting where you can hook up a compressor and blow the water out of
Another thought - if you have any landscape plants in the vicinity
that you'd like to put on drip irrigation, it's a good idea to do that
while you have the trenches open. Just one more circuit on your
Save yourself that first trip to Home Depot, go here instead:
They also have a free design service - you download a form, sketch the
area you want to water, answer a few questions, and fax the form back.
When they finish you download their design, complete with materials
Also, the pros generally don't do trenches, which make a big mess.
They use a machine to pull
flexible pipe. You can probably rent one of those as well.
However, I'm not sure I'd do this myself. Like everything, there is
a learning process and experience
counts. With a good sprinkler company, you may come out with a more
effective system, because
they know what works well for a particular situateion.
On Apr 13, 10:02 am, email@example.com wrote:
Not only that, but they can be damn twitchy if you haven't been
working around the sprinkler systems most of your life. I grew up in a
rainy climate where we NEVER watered the lawn (I agree with the "let
it grow or not grow" attitude)... now I live in the desert. I've read
tons of books on the systems, hung out at the landscaping store to
discuss and learn, and still I can never get the SOBs to work right.
My friends with landscapers have no issues like that. And for the
record, I am a very successful DIYer 98 percent of the time.
Also, JimR makes an excellent point about your well. Unless you live
in a place with nearly unlimited supplies, you should read up on how
much water that will drain from your well. Bet mowing the grass won't
be so much fun if you have no water to drink when you're done.
I'm so sick of sprinklers that I just applied for the water company's
rebate to convert to desert landscaping. Can't wait to get rid of that
I have had two installed in two different homes - I perform the maint.
IMHO, the most important part of this very doable project is planning.
You mess this up and the rest will follow suite. I have had to move
sprinkler heads and replace complete sections because the installer's
only plan was the one in his head. Do it right and the average job can
be done (by the non-pro) in two weekends or less.
Why trench? Pull poly pipe with a trenchless vibratory plow. Trenching
causes problems with settling and makes extra work to fill the trenches. I
installed a sprinkler system on a 120x140 lot last year, (using the plow)
and that project taxed the limits of my DIY ability. It also took about 3
weeks to git 'er done.
Correctly designing a sprinkler system that works properly takes a TON of
research and even more hard work. It can be done, but it takes planning.
You have to figure out water pressures, pipe sizes, flow rates and all kinds
of other fun stuff. One of the online design services is a good place to
start. Rainbird has an irrigation 'bible' available online that has lots of
excellent info in it. If you are not completely confident in your DIY
abilities, this is a project best left to the pros.
A couple of considerations that no one else has mentioned --
Be concerned that an irrigation system may demand more water over an
extended time than your present well can deliver. (That's true for many
wells in Florida). You may need a separate well with a liner to keep it
from collapsing during irrigation, and a separate pump for the irrigation
Plan on more than one zone to give you flexibility. Some areas may need
more water than others, and you may want to set up a zone for a garden or
micro-irrigation system in the future. You will need a controller for the
system, with either a digital programmer or a mechanical timer and indexer.
Strongly recommend a digital system which lets you set each zone easily and
with flexibility. A mechanical indexer just senses a drop in water pressure
and then moves to the next zone -- it's easy to get the zones mis-set when
you're doing repairs or system checks (e.g., it starts up on zone 2 instead
of zone 1)
With a digital controller, recommend that you bring all of the zones to a
common manifold where all of the servos are located. With my last system,
the installer buried the servos in the ground at the beginning of each zone
and didn't leave a map, so locating a failed servo is going to be very
Add a rain sensor to your system so that it doesn't run unnecessarily during
or after a rainstorm.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.