How To Install An Irrigation System The Best Way

This Is Basically How Contractors Should Install An Irrigation System So it Works Smoothly And Doesn’t Leave Your Lawn Torn Up

It’s always great to know what’s going to happen during a home improvement project. It can lessen your stress!

In this post, you can find out how to install an irrigation system.

Installing an irrigation system

How To Install An Irrigation System In 15 Steps

1. Determine the water source

It could be a city water supply, deep well, shallow well (sand point), or pumped from a body of water.

2. Measure the available water

This is how much water the city water or pump has available. This helps to determine how many heads your contractor can install per zone so it functions properly. This may be done using a Toro Pressure/Flowmeter or with a 5-gallon bucket and some simple math.

3. Determine the watering needs of the lawn and/or landscape.

This is for determining what types of irrigation your home needs.

4. Design and layout

This phase is for figuring out what types of irrigation go where. It’s also to make sure it’ll cover everything evenly.

During the design/layout do not mix rotating heads (rotors) with fixed position spray heads.  Uneven coverage will result.

5. Find out how many sprinkler heads or drip tubing you’ll need

Using the calculation of available GPM (gallons per minute) from step 2, and the manufacturer’s nozzle or flow charts, calculate how many sprinkler heads or feet of drip tubing you can install per zone.

6. Zone layout

Layout the zones by watering areas with similar watering needs (sun, shade, flower beds, etc.)

7. Determine the best type of irrigation

You want the best irrigation to properly cover each zone evenly. The types of irrigation range from traditional rotors and spray heads to drip tubing, micro sprays, and bubblers.

8. Flag the sprinkler head locations

This is for visualizing the installation points of the sprinkler heads. It may be helpful to use different colored flags for each zone. 

OUPS forbids any flags other than white on-site when they mark where the utilities are.

*Pro Tip: If you’re using the same-colored flags, it may be helpful to mark the ground with spray paint to avoid confusion on which flags belong to which zone.

9. Call OUPS (811)

This is so they can mark the utilities before any digging. This is required by law. Your contractor should make the call. If you’re doing a DIY install, you must notify OUPS yourself.

10. Spot dig

Once zone layout is determined, spot dig to see if the locations of the irrigation system will cross or run adjacent to utility lines.

11. Assemble and install the system

This can include the plumbing from the source water, a Pressure Vacuum Breaker (required for systems connected to potable water), mainline, valves, lateral lines, fittings, sprinkler heads, control wires, controller, rain sensors, and additional water-saving sensors.

*Pro Tip:  Use a vibratory plow to install wire, main, and lateral lines with less damage to the lawn instead of open trenching.

12. Adjust zones for optimal watering

Once the assembly of the parts is done, turn on the system zone by zone and adjust for proper coverage of plant materials.

13. Test for leaks

This is to make sure there are no leaks in the system both in the lawn and at the water meter.

14. Client walkthrough of the system

Once the system inspection is done, your contractor should walk you through the functions of the controller, set up the smartphone app (if installed), and show you the areas of the lawn that are watered.

15. Sketch zone layout

Upon completion, find an overhead view of the property (via Google maps, Auditors website, or drone) to sketch the layout of the zones.

*It’s impossible to see what may be below the soil surface at any property. This includes rocks, roots, or debris that may come to the surface during installation. We can’t account for these during the pricing of an installation. 

For an additional charge, we’re happy to remove debris and provide topsoil to fill the voids left behind. This provides a smooth surface matching the rest of the lawn or landscape.

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