Backyard Irrigation Systems: The planning


I think one of the reasons why the grass died off was improper watering. So an irrigation system is worth considering. There are three main components of an irrigation system:

  1. Controllers: Controls the opening and closing of valves
  2. Valves: Controls a group of sprinklers, or a zone, enabling or disabling the passage of water to the sprinklers
  3. Sprinklers: Distribute water to the plants

There are 8 steps to planning and designing an irrigation system [1]:

  1. Obtain site information
    What is the layout of the land, type of soil, plants, trees, wind, etc.
  2. Determine the irrigation requirements
    How much water is required?
  3. Determine the water and power supply
    How much water is available?
  4. Select sprinklers and other equipment
    Select the types of sprinklers such as spray, rotating and/or bubblers
  5. Lateral layout, locating the valves and main lines
    Figure out where to put the sprinklers
  6. Sizing the pipes and valves and calculating total system pressure loss
    Figure out the plumbing requirements to get the water to the sprinkler heads
  7. Locate controllers and size wiring
    Figure out where to put the console and whether a wireless, internet accessible console is required
  8. Preparing the final irrigation plan
    Draw the final plans, which might look something like this:

Installation involves:

  1. Mark locations of sprinklers and pipes
  2. Place a stake at every sprinkler location; use string to mark where the pipes will run
  3. Dig trenches
  4. Dig along the marked areas to about 12 inches
  5. Hook up to water supply
  6. Assemble the valves
  7. Place sprinklers at stakes; place lengths of pipe along the string
  8. Start assembling from one sprinkler location to the next, but don’t connect the sprinkler itself
  9. Manually flush the system
  10. Attach the sprinklers
  11. Wire the values to the timers

The key benefits to an automated system are:

  • Convenience
  • Water conservation
  • plant health
  • Reduce run-off of pesticides

Water conservation tips:

  1. Don’t over water
  2. Don’t sprinkle more than can be absorbed into the ground
  3. Watch the clock
  4. Water between 5AM and 10AM
  5. Water as needed
  6. Different plants have different requirement so divide the irrigation system into zones so that grass, for example can be watered separately from plants
  7. Water only thinks that grow
  8. Don’t water the fence or sidewalk
  9. Consider dripping
  10. For individual trees
  11. Detect rain; adjust for seasons


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