May 14, 2011

Designing Your Own Sprinkler System - Part 1

This is part 1 of a 6 part series.

There are many benefits to designing your own automatic sprinkler system. First, it is cost-effective. You don't have to pay someone to do it for you. Second, you will learn essential information about doing your own work if something breaks or is not running properly. Third, your property value will increase. Fourth, you can save time and conserve water by setting sprinklers up on an automatic watering timer.
The first thing you need to do is check with your local water department. You need to be aware of city codes and ordinances regarding water usage, permits and other requirements about backflow prevention and irrigation pipes. When you contact the city, ask these questions:
  1. Is a permit required?
  2. Does a licensed plumber have to connect to the main water supply?
  3. What type of backflow prevention device (i.e double check valve, pressure vacuum breaker, automatic anti-siphon valve) is needed?
  4. Will pipes freeze?
  5. How deep should pipes be buried?
  6. What type of pipe (i.e PVC, poly) is recommended or required for the area?
You also need to contact your local utility companies before digging for sprinkler pipe placement. Call 811 to learn where power, gas, TV, internet and other lines are located underground. Have these companies come out and mark where these lines are so you don't damage them while digging.
Once you have all of this information, you can move on in the sprinkler system design process.


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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