Irrigation for a DIYer.

Irrigation systems, sprinklers & other watering topics
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Stro3579
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Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Stro3579 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:14 pm

I had my backyard done last year (3 zones). Now I am ready to take on the project of doing the front myself. I was told I would need 5 zones. I have some flower beds that I want to setup drip lines. Can anyone get me in the right direction on where to get started? How to map out the job and etc.

I am a Noob to this, but have some since of diy skills.

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Ware » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:25 pm

I would start at https://www.irrigationtutorials.com.

Read and understand everything he covers and you will end up with a solid system.

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by J_nick » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:53 pm

Plus some graph paper with accurate drawing of the front yard and a compass. The distances sprinkler manufacturers post are normally a little longer than real world so give them a bit more overlap than what the manufacturers state.
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Stro3579
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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Stro3579 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:39 pm

Thanks, I will start with this.

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Mightyquinn » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:50 am

I added 2 zones last year to my flower beds, it was fairly easy. The hardest part is digging the trenches to run the pipe to supply all the heads.
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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Shayne » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:46 am

Hi Mightuquinn.

I work for an irrigation company here in New Zealand. Maybe a few bits of advice I can throw out maybe useful or not.

When it comes to dripline try and buy a product that has the drippers with built in pressure regulators to ensure even distribution. For most flower beds if each dripper delivers 1.6 litres per hour that's usually standard but some flowers may need more or less depends on what you have planted. Also you want the drip line to be buried under mulch so that the water doesn't evaporate, but that also depends on what time of day you water.

As for the trenching have a look of there is a machine available to hire near you similar to this
it's called an ez trencher, basically trenches, lays the pipe and backfills in one motion.

If you are looking to install lawn irrigation make sure to do all the calculations according to what sprinkler head/nozzle you are wanting to use and make sure your water supply can deliver this, And from that you can calculate a max number of sprinklers per zone according to flow rates and pressure requirements, And make sure when you calculate pressure requirements that you always ensure you have the required pressure at the last sprinkler for the zone to make sure you dont have a disappointing surprise when the sprinklers just dribble water instead of spraying. Have a look at the hunter MP rotor range (formerly owned by Nelson irrigation) with the pro spray pop-up body. The mp rotor range all run with matched precipitation so one section of lawn does not get more water than another, good wind resistance and a wide variety of arc adjustments and nozzle selections, and can run on fairly low water pressures. Also on the hunter website you can generate a watering schedule that takes into consideration soil types, slope angles, grass type etc.

Hope this helps at all

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Movingshrub » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:35 pm

I measured my yard and sent it off to rain bird. There isn't any cost. I saw it as a free opportunity to get an idea of how many zones I would need, and a suggestion on how to layout the pipe. With that being said, I did end up going with rainbird products but I was strongly considering Hunter +1 to reading the irrigation tutorial website.

Also, I HIGHLY suggest getting the best trencher. I ended up using the Ditch Witch C24X or C30X after spending several hours fighting the entry level Ditch Witch 1030.

@Stro3579 Where are you in Alabama? How big of an area are you looking at irrigating? Do you have a separate irrigation meter by any chance? Our house had one when we bought it but the previous owners never got around to installing an irrigation system.

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Stro3579 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:42 am

Movingshrub wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:35 pm
I measured my yard and sent it off to rain bird. There isn't any cost. I saw it as a free opportunity to get an idea of how many zones I would need, and a suggestion on how to layout the pipe. With that being said, I did end up going with rainbird products but I was strongly considering Hunter +1 to reading the irrigation tutorial website.

Also, I HIGHLY suggest getting the best trencher. I ended up using the Ditch Witch C24X or C30X after spending several hours fighting the entry level Ditch Witch 1030.

Where are you in Alabama? How big of an area are you looking at irrigating? Do you have a separate irrigation meter by any chance? Our house had one when we bought it but the previous owners never got around to installing an irrigation system.


Thanks, I'm in Huntsville. I have 8500 sq ft. My backyard already has a system.

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Stro3579 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:48 am

Movingshrub wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:35 pm
I measured my yard and sent it off to rain bird. There isn't any cost. I saw it as a free opportunity to get an idea of how many zones I would need, and a suggestion on how to layout the pipe. With that being said, I did end up going with rainbird products but I was strongly considering Hunter +1 to reading the irrigation tutorial website.

Also, I HIGHLY suggest getting the best trencher. I ended up using the Ditch Witch C24X or C30X after spending several hours fighting the entry level Ditch Witch 1030.

Where are you in Alabama? How big of an area are you looking at irrigating? Do you have a separate irrigation meter by any chance? Our house had one when we bought it but the previous owners never got around to installing an irrigation system.
How do they know where to lay the pipe? Did you have a survey done on your yard for electric and gas lines first? Also did you have to show them where structures and flower beds Are?

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Movingshrub » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:50 pm

I believe the onus is on you to identify any obstacles that could have an impact.

I measured out the entire property and then reflected that on graph paper with a scale. Rainbird has a document that give guidance on how to draw up your property. I'm sure other companies such as Toro and Hunter do the same thing.

My understanding is that the call before you dig number will identify stuff that's the provider's responsibility. For example, they will mark the water line going to your meter, but you are responsible for knowing where the pipe runs from the meter to your house. I don't have buried gas or power lines, so I wasn't that concerned. To answer your question though - they know where to lay the pipe based on the quality of the map you provide. I didn't have a survey done, but I did make sure the measurements that I got matched the measurements of the dimension of the lot (sanity check to make sure I measured it well). Yes, you have to mark where the house, driveway, sidewalks, water meter, flower bed, trees, fences, pool, deck, etc. are all located on your property. After I got the recommended layout, and then suggested materials, I ordered it all from sprinklerwarehouse but opted to use the professional grade products in lieu of the residential grade products. I know this is overkill but I also went with SCH 40 PVC rather than class 200 PVC. SCH 40 has a smaller ID so the water velocity can increase, which you may want to account for if you're pushing the water velocity limit. I had an absurd amount of trees as well as chipmunks in my yard so I opted for the thicker pipe to hopefully reduce the change of a broken pipe in the future.

The layout result from rainbird showed where to lay out the sprinkler system and where to position the sprinklers to ensure proper coverage. I did have to deviate the routing of some of my sprinkler laterals due to tree stumps, but the recommended layout got me close enough to where I was able to improvise. If you dramatically change the routing of the laterals, it can impact the length of the run, and therefore, the friction loss. With that being said, I was aiming for "close enough" without measuring to the exact inch.

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Re: Irrigation for a DIYer.

Post by Stro3579 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:04 am

Movingshrub wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:50 pm
I believe the onus is on you to identify any obstacles that could have an impact.

I measured out the entire property and then reflected that on graph paper with a scale. Rainbird has a document that give guidance on how to draw up your property. I'm sure other companies such as Toro and Hunter do the same thing.

My understanding is that the call before you dig number will identify stuff that's the provider's responsibility. For example, they will mark the water line going to your meter, but you are responsible for knowing where the pipe runs from the meter to your house. I don't have buried gas or power lines, so I wasn't that concerned. To answer your question though - they know where to lay the pipe based on the quality of the map you provide. I didn't have a survey done, but I did make sure the measurements that I got matched the measurements of the dimension of the lot (sanity check to make sure I measured it well). Yes, you have to mark where the house, driveway, sidewalks, water meter, flower bed, trees, fences, pool, deck, etc. are all located on your property. After I got the recommended layout, and then suggested materials, I ordered it all from sprinklerwarehouse but opted to use the professional grade products in lieu of the residential grade products. I know this is overkill but I also went with SCH 40 PVC rather than class 200 PVC. SCH 40 has a smaller ID so the water velocity can increase, which you may want to account for if you're pushing the water velocity limit. I had an absurd amount of trees as well as chipmunks in my yard so I opted for the thicker pipe to hopefully reduce the change of a broken pipe in the future.

The layout result from rainbird showed where to lay out the sprinkler system and where to position the sprinklers to ensure proper coverage. I did have to deviate the routing of some of my sprinkler laterals due to tree stumps, but the recommended layout got me close enough to where I was able to improvise. If you dramatically change the routing of the laterals, it can impact the length of the run, and therefore, the friction loss. With that being said, I was aiming for "close enough" without measuring to the exact inch.
Thanks for all of your help. I will start with measuring and getting survey done. And drawing out my lot on graph paper.


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