Helpful Tips for Installing a Sprinkler System

Sprinkler system
You enjoy working in your yard and having a nice green lawn, flowers and trees, except you dislike constantly moving the sprinkler around. Is this the year you install a sprinkler system? If so, there is a lot of planning to do.

Before You Install a Sprinkler System

The first lesson is to plan everything out before you touch a shovel and get the paperwork out of the way. Call your local utility company and have the underground utilities marked. In most locations this is required by law.

Another tip is to find out if you need a building permit before you install the sprinkler system. I know a few who learned that lesson the hard way.

Once that is done, there is still a great deal of planning to do before installing a sprinkler system including:

  • Look over your yard for obstacles. For example, does a bush get in the way of a planned sprinkler or will the patio also get wet.
  • Make a map of your sprinkler system.
  • Decide on the type of sprinkler heads you want. You can choose among many types of sprinkler heads from companies like RainBird.
  • In order to properly design your sprinkler system, you will need to ask your water department for the capacity of your system.
  • Decide where you will get the water for the sprinkler system.

Those are initial steps that need to be taken before installing a sprinkler system. The following steps are needed in order to design and properly install your new sprinkler system. You might have to call your water company for certain information.

  • Determine your water pressure, both the working and static water pressure.
  • Find out your water meter size, which should be printed on the meter itself or on the bill. It should be either 5/8", 3/4" or 1"
  • Determine the service line size.
  • Find out what your flow rate is. The flow rate is measure in gallons per minute.
  • Determine the backflow rate.
  • Make a shopping list for parts that include sprinkler heads, valves, risers, couplings, controls, backflow preventer and the type of piping you will use.


Installing your own sprinkler system might not be as easy as 1-2-3, but it is not overly difficult if you are familiar with DIY projects and plan.

  • Do not forget to call your county to find out if you do need a permit. Many cities are strict and will fine you if you do not get the permit you need. Also check on all other codes concerning the installation of a sprinkler system.
  • Do not rush. Realize that this project could take you several weekends.
  • Renting a trencher is easier than using a shovel and saves time.
  • Flush the system and make sure there isn't debris blocking the flow of water.
  • Test the sprinkler system for any leaks before filling in the trenches.

My biggest mistakes were making an incomplete shopping list that caused too many trips to the hardware store and not accounting for bushes that would grow much larger. When planning a sprinkler system, also consider where you might want trees and gardens in the future.

You can go to the Lowe's website for detailed information including water flow math and pipe connecting instructions.

Copyright © 2014 Sam Montana

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