Top 10 Tips
for a Successful
Sprinkler System

In the interest of brevity I’ve given you a list of tips but I have not necessarily explained the reasons for each of them.
I have more detailed explanations and instructions on these and other tips in our "Do It Yourself Installation Manual".
Or if you have questions stop by, we would be happy to answer them.
This information is subject to the Terms of Use of this website.

#1 Zone Size - How many GPM ( Gallons Per Minute ) you can use on each zone. Not how many heads you have on a zone.
Example: You have 10 GPM. That means you can run (10) 1 GPM heads or (5) 2 GPM heads. Each head uses a different amount of water. For instance a 15’ Quarter circle spray head uses 1 GPM and a 15’ Full head uses almost 4 GPM. This is the single most important piece of information you’ll need to design your sprinkler system. Call or stop by and we can help you calculate this.

#2 Head to Head - This is how much overlap your heads have. You need a minimum of two heads hitting all areas of the lawn. Sprinkler heads
do not water close-in around the head. They need another head to do that.

#3 Mixing Heads - Do not mix sprinkler heads of different types (Spray vs Rotors) on the same zone. Different type heads take different
amounts of time to water, so you could not set your controller to accommodate both on the same zone. Spray heads run 8-10 minutes, where rotors run 20-30 minutes.

#4 Pipe Size - This is often misunderstood. It’s often thought that reducing the pipe size increases pressure, like putting your thumb over a
hose. This is not true, what it does is increase velocity, which does not help you, it actually hurts. What causes pressure loss is drag on the inside of the pipe as the water moves through it. Larger pipe means more water goes through with less drag.

#5 Tie-on Location - The best place to tie-on to your house water supply line is directly after the water meter. Do not use the brass fittings
attached to the water meter. These have proprietary threads you will not find parts for. There are two reasons this is the best place. First of all you will get the best water pressure (PSI) and volume available. Second, when you tie-on close to the house you may hear a noise inside the house when your sprinklers run, much like the one you may have heard when your hose faucet is running.

#6 Manifolds - A manifold is generally referred to as the configuration of multiple valves in a valve box. There are manifold tees and manifold
kits with built in valves and unions available. I do not recommend these, nor do I recommend close coupling valves tightly together in a valve box. You should spread your valves out whenever possible. You should not locate all your valves in one spot. It’s better to run one main line around the house and tap onto it where it’s needed. Buy professional quality valves, you are most likely to find replacements years down the road. Use threaded (Not glue-in ) valves. Buy the valve boxes, when you buy the valves so you can dry fit your assembly together and verify it will all fit in the box.

#7 Trenches - 1 foot is a good minimum dept. In areas where you will have several pipes using the same trench you may want to go a few
inches deeper. Remember "Call Before You Dig". The locate is free. And it’s the law. The Free National Locate Notification Center’s phone number is 811. It usually takes 2-3 business days to complete the locate. The locate includes a width of 24" to either side of the marked line plus the utility pipe width. This is called the "Tolerance Zone". Example: You have a utility line that’s 2" wide plus the 2’ on each side makes the tolerance zone 50" wide. You are responsible for damage within the tolerance zone. Damage outside that zone will be repaired at the utilities expense. You can cross over these lines, just dig carefully. To prevent sunken trench lines from appearing later on, put water in the trench before you backfill. Remember "Dirt into water, not water into dirt". The water pulls the soil down to its maximum compaction and fills gaps around pipes. It’s slower, but well worth it, at least do this on trenches running through the lawn. Another method is to leave a slight crown over the trench to allow for sinking. Sunken trench lines usually appear the next spring. When dry backfilling compact the trench at least after every 6" of backfill.

#8 Flushing - You should flush dirt and rocks out of your pipe as you go. A rock can severely reduce the flow in a pipe and be very difficult to
locate. Pipe shavings and glue can get lodged in the valves and cause them to not shut off completely. It’s a good idea to start your installation at the beginning. If you start your work at the tie-on you can flush your lines as you go. To properly flush the lines you should run the water until it runs clear, then for several minutes after that. The chocolate milk that comes out immediately is not the problem, it’s the slow rolling rocks that take time to travel down the pipe that’s the most important to get flushed.

#9 Swing Arm - A swing arm is two sets of fittings connected together with poly pipe ( funny pipe ) to form an adjustable connection between
the PVC pipe and the sprinkler head. This will allow you to place the head exactly where you want it, both vertically and horizontally. It also helps prevent broken off heads due to impact.

#10 Drip - Every yard should have Drip. Drip is the most efficient and cost effective way to water everything, with the exception of turf grass.
First of all there’s a 70% water savings over sprinkler heads. But even if cost were no object, drip is the best way to get exactly the optimal amount and distribution of water for each individual plant. Sprinklers designed to water the beds typically hit the closest shrub and block anything behind them. So you end up continually adding and moving sprinklers, jockeying for the best position on a growing, moving target. With drip you target each plant with a specific amount of water that’s ideal for that plant. Now it's possible to have a drought lover and a water hog right next to each other. Tubing lays on the ground, so there’s no blocking and you can cover it with bark dust so you don’t see it. Drip is perfect for all types of containers, whether it’s hanging fascia baskets or 4’X 8’ raised beds, drip does an awesome job.

This information is subject to the Terms of Use of this website.