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A Primer on Sprinkler System Installation

Those comedy shows on television that show a homeowner obsessing over the condition of his lawn aren't too different than some people's reactions in real life. A lush, green lawn is something that all homeowners seem to crave.

If you want that kind of lawn yourself, you need to know how to get it, and more importantly, how to keep it looking that way. Once you buy a sprinkler system installation kit for your lawn, your grass will more than likely be healthier than it has ever been.

But, how do you know what kind of watering system to install? How can you tell which type would be the best fit for your needs? Most have quite a few options, and a perusal of these can help you to choose wisely. You also have to know your lawn pretty well. Is it shady or sunny? Shaded areas of lawn generally do not need as much water as sunny areas. It's a good idea to keep this fact in mind as you do a little research and learn as much as you can about the different types of sprinkler installation kits and supplies that are available.

It goes without saying that you should definitely consider an underground sprinkler system. This is not one of those gadgets that attaches to the end of your garden hose! You know, the one that you have to go out every so often and move hose around to a different part of the yard. Once this is installed no more moving hoses around or getting up early to turn the water on. You can set it up to automatically water the lawn when you want it too.

An underground system is not as difficult to install as you think. By doing the job yourself, you will save almost half the cost of having a professional come out and do it for you. Once you get your system in place, you just need to set up the program to start watering the lawn on a schedule that you devise. This will be based on the type of plants and how much water they need and how dry or wet is your area. If you program it yourself you will be able to make changes when the weather changes.

To start things off, check with the city where you live to see if you need any kind of a permit in order to install a sprinkler system. Also, make sure that the areas where you are going to dig do not have any telephone, electrical, or natural gas lines buried there. The utility companies will be happy to come out and place markers where these lines are so that you will know.

Next, you need to rent a water pressure gauge and attach it to your hose bib. Turn the water on all the way so that you can check the water pressure. You will need at least 20 pounds of pressure per square inch in order to install a sprinkler system underground and have it work correctly. Also check the flow rate by seeing how many seconds it takes to fill a one gallon bucket. Do some quick division by seeing how many times the number of seconds will go into 60. The result is your gallons per minute. You will need all of this information in order to know what type of underground sprinkler system will work best for you.

Then, it is simply a matter of choosing where to place the sprinkler heads, and installing the PVC pipe and fittings underground after digging the trenches to hold them. You must also install the risers where each of the sprinkler heads will sit. You will need different types of sprinkler heads for different areas of your lawn. For wide areas of grass, choose a gear driven or a pop up impulse head. For your tender flowers and shrubbery, choose shrub heads or those heads that are called bubblers.

The timer and the control valves may be installed now. You will then tie the main water supply line into the zone where each sprinkler head is located. Don't forget to also install a back flow preventer to make sure nothing will happen to your potable water supply if your sprinkler system should lose pressure. Now, flush the pipes out before installing the sprinkler heads so that they do not get clogged. Install the sprinkler heads, then observe the sprinkler system in action to make sure that the heads are spraying in the right direction.

Having a sprinkler system installed in your yard is more than just a convenient way to water your lawn. It's also a key element in having a lawn you can be proud of and not having to worry about if it got the right amount of water today.

For more information on watering your lawn and plants, please read these articles:

How to build your own sprinkler system

Explanation of the different automatic sprinkler components

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