My husband and I own a home in the mountains, east of San Diego. Installing a sprinkler system wasn’t an easy task. The summers are hot and the winters cold; many nights the temperature drops below freezing. Additionally, the ground is sandy and tough. The following are four important lessons that we learned.
One – Make a plan:
We learned that it is important to check with the local clerk and utility offices to determine whether there are any irrigation system regulations. It’s also important to check to see if there are gas, electrical, sewer (septic), cable, and/or phone lines that run through the property. Additionally, we needed to make sure that there were at least 40 to 50 pounds of water pressure/square inch. We did this by checking with our local water company, although there are gauges that can measure PSI. We found out how much water was able to flow through our pipes (gallons/minute) in order to determine the system flow rate.
Two – Create a design map:
We drew a map to diagram spraying circles in the areas that we wanted to water, with an overlap of 50 % to guarantee good coverage. We broke the system up into groups so that we could subdivide them on separate control valve circuits. Our installation manual helped us decide on integrated patterns that were appropriate for our quarter acre yard. Because the front and back yards are separate, we used two manifolds, along with automated drain valves, since the ground freezes during the winter months. Our map also included the piping, manifold, valve, hook-up, and regulator distances.
Three – Have the right tools:
We also made sure that we had the right tools. We made a list based on our map and instructions that included: a trenching machine (or shovel), hacksaw, pick, pipe wrench, stakes, mallet, tape measure, string, utility knife, screwdriver, pipe-tape, PVC glue, and pipe cutter (for copper) and electrical tape.
Four – Dig in:
Since we were installing a system in our yard, we wanted to save several existing plants. We needed to cut trenches at least eight – ten inches deep and three – four inches wide. We ran a string between the stakes that we had set up, and rented a trenching machine. We also rented a sod cutter. We used the map that we had drawn as our guide. Because we didn’t have a sidewalk, it wasn’t necessary to dig beneath; this alone saved countless hours. We then laid-out and fitted together the pipes before cutting, scraping off loose edges. Finally, after we had made certain that everything was in place and that our measurements were correct, we brushed primer on the outer (standard pipe) and on the inner flared end, before fitting the irrigation pipes together.
We selected hardy plants, native to the region that required little water. I am happy to say that the installation of a sprinkler system on our property was a success!