As just about anyone will tell you, properly maintaining a lawn can be a real headache, especially if you are living in an area where things are normally dry. If you’re not interested in committing to an expensive irrigation system or hours of duty with the hose to keep your grass green and healthy, you’re going to want to find some sort of sprinkler setup. It’s also tempting to try and save even more by cutting out the middle man and setting a sprinkler up yourself.
How exactly you decide to pursue this is going to be determined by the budget and size of your lawn. Before you get started, there are a few important things you need to take care of. Check with the local building department to obtain all necessary permits, and contact a one-call center to have the local utilities mark any buried electrical cables, gas lines, or other similar items. When doing projects yourself, safety is paramount.
You also need to make a decision whether you want to go underground or above-ground. If you go underground, be sure to think about:
- The type of grass in your lawn affects irrigation needs.
- Some turfgrass varieties have higher water requirements than others.
- Your soil type also affects the efficiency of irrigation. For example: sandy soils absorb water more quickly than clay.
- An irrigation system gives you better control of the moisture content of your soil, but if you supply more water than the soil can absorb, runoff is the result.
Here’s a list of parts you will need to purchase as part of an underground sprinkler system:
- Valves open and close pipes to allow watering of each zone.
- Valve Box – Protects valves while providing easy access.
- Head styles vary based on the water requirements of the plantings and your water supply. Sprinkler heads are rated according to the GPM they can supply water at your particular psi.
- Risers connect pipe to sprinkler heads.
- Fittings or couplings, such as tees and elbows, connect and redirect pipe.
- A manual control should be able to maintain several areas with differing needs.
- A backflow preventer is an anti-siphon device that’s required in most areas.
- Timers allow presetting of the on/off function of the system.
- The valve manifold is the master control of the system.
- Pipe choice depends on the region you live in. You’ll use either PVC or polyethylene pipe.
For an underground setup, you’ll need to dig to connect your pipes, connect the head of the sprinkler to the pipe setup, then install a means to control the system. Most people do this with a timer. Choose timers based on the number of zones you have. Keep a copy of the timer/zone assignments (much as you would keep a reference of electrical circuits in a breaker box). Timers can be programmed to run for a specified time and shut off automatically.
Don’t forget that you also need to think of winter. In a cold area, you may want professional help, but in warmer areas, simply covering your above-ground portions with insulation is enough.
Putting together your own sprinkler system is certainly a viable thing to do, and on paper, it can potentially save you money. The emphasis is on potentially here, though. If something goes wrong with the way that you set things up or you don’t properly estimate the coverage you need, you may find yourself having to go back to the drawing board. At that point, what was supposed to be a way to help you save time and energy suddenly adds not only more of these, but more stress to boot.
Proper preparation and planning will help you minimize the chances of being caught in this situation, but as any home improvement guru will tell you, nothing is guaranteed. As a result, what you may want to do is consider using a professional if you are a newcomer to working with sprinklers or just don’t have time to attend to any potential hiccups. Like any home improvement situation, when you pick a company to use, be sure to find a company that meets not only the needs of your project, but of your area.Denver based sprinkler company Colorado Sprinkler Service not only can set up a sprinkle setup for your home or business, but also offers pre-winterization services to get things ready when the seasons start to change again.