How To Install a Sprinkler System

The hot summer sun can leave your lawn looking parched and dry. Especially in Georgia, where the scorching rays during the months of June and July can result in a brown, dry front yard instead of a lush carpet of green grass.

So what can you do about your lawn? You have a few options:

  • You can leave your grass to fend for itself, waiting for the next rainfall, which means you’re forced to put up with a dead-looking lawn 
  • You can hook up a sprinkler to your hose spigot and spend all day moving your sprinkler from area to area, hoping you don’t miss any spots
  • You can install a sprinkler system

Don’t leave your yard to chance, hoping for rain or migrating your hose and sprinkler throughout your yard. You can install your own sprinkler system in just a few easy steps for a lawn that looks great in any weather.

Draw Up Your Plan

A good underground sprinkler system plan won’t just make the installation process a breeze, it can actually save water too! Most irrigation system suppliers have plenty of information available to help you plan where your sprinkler heads should be, and some manufacturers will even create sprinkler layout plans for you!

What are the basics of sprinkler system design?

Access the Water Line

The simplest way to create a sprinkler system is by connecting to an existing spigot. Otherwise, you’ll have to tap into the main water-service line, which in most cases should be left to the professionals. With either approach, you’ll need to install an anti-siphon valve to prevent dirt, lawn chemicals, and fertilizer from entering your main water supply that supplies water to your entire home. This valve must be installed at least 6 inches higher than your highest sprinkler head.

Dig Your Trenches

To install your irrigation system piping and sprinkler heads, you’ll need to dig a trench that’s between 6 and 8 inches deep. The DIY Network recommends that this trench slopes inwards at a 45-degree angle and that you place your soil and sod to the side of your trench to make the process of filling and patching your trench an easier one.

To do this, you may find the rental of some tools especially helpful:

A helpful hint? Place flags where all of your sprinkler heads are going to go and run a string between flags so you know exactly where to dig your trench.

A note: Before you ever start digging in your lawn, you will want to call 811 or submit a request ticket to have your underground utilities marked. You never want to dig and hit a gas line, power line, or even your cable! It’s free and easy, and it could save you major headaches as you dig throughout your entire yard.

Install Your Valve Manifold

Don’t be alarmed by the design or fancy name. Accurately installing your valve manifold is a cinch—as long as you’re careful and thorough! This will also tie directly into your irrigation system timer.

Your valve manifold should go into a hole that’s slightly larger than the box your valve manifold sits in. Affix one end of the valve manifold to your water supply. It might be helpful to have PVC cement on hand to ensure a lasting fit.

Run and Install Your Pipe

You’ll want to use PVC piping that is at least ¾ of an inch in diameter for durability. Lay out all of your connectors and sprinkler heads first, using T-shaped connectors for pipes that run off the main line, and 90-degree elbow connectors to attach risers and sprinkler heads.

What might you need to ensure everything is spread perfectly apart?

  • Rent a circular saw to cut through PVC pipe so you end up with the perfect, custom length for your yard and your sprinkler spray lengths.

Once everything is cut and laid out, you can start to assemble all of the pieces. Don’t connect your system to the sprinkler heads just yet—you’ll want to manually flush the entire system first to remove any dirt that may have gotten into your PVC pipe before you install the sprinkler heads. Don’t forget to use a thin, even coating of PVC cement at every jointure.

Manually Flush Your Irrigation System, Then Install the Sprinklers

To manually flush all the grit and grime from your system, turn the water on at the shut-off point, operating the valves manually to flush the system. To do this, open each valve to flush the pipe with water, then close. Do this with each valve.

Once you’ve flushed the whole system, you can affix your sprinkler heads, spying careful attention to which direction the sprinkler heads should point. 

Wire Your Valves to Your Timer

When you buy a timer for your sprinkler system, it should come with a set of specific manufacturer instructions, which you will want to follow carefully.

A thought about this? Now is the perfect time to identify which valve goes with each sprinkler line. Write down which timer station corresponds to each zone of your yard, and keep these notes handy near your timer. This is also a great time to test the whole thing and make alterations to the direction of your sprinkler heads before replacing your soil and sod so everything is perfectly placed.

Are you embarking on a large DIY project? You don’t have to go it alone! At Northside Tool Rental, we have the tools to make even the most ambitious of do-it-yourself projects seem easier. Who knows? Once you take on your own sprinkler system, you may be ready to cross bigger projects off your list!

Check out this list of projects that will boost your home’s curb appeal, like building a retaining wall or leveling your lawn for a smooth, bump-free lawn. And when you’re ready to get started? We have the tools you need!

Want to learn more about the tools we have to offer for your next home improvement project? Contact us today!