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How to Install a Lawn Sprinkler System

If you are thinking about installing your own lawn sprinkler system, then you should be prepared for a challenge.

Installing a system yourself is hard work and time consuming, and will not be something that you can just rush into without careful planning beforehand.

However, installing a system yourself is rewarding, very satisfying, and if done correctly can give you a lot of enjoyment in the long term. It is also a lot cheaper than hiring someone to come in and do the job for you, so makes good financial sense as well.

Type of System

You will have to consider which type of system you want to install before getting started on the actual planning. There are a number of different systems available, and each will work in a slightly different way.

You can get lawn and irrigation sprinklers, drip irrigation systems, or automatic sprinkler systems. The best way to find out which is right for you is to either visit a specialist, check out a friend’s garden if they already have one, or check out the numerous Web sites that provide details of them.

Initial Checks Before Installing the System

Once you have chosen the sprinkler system that you require, there are a number of things that you need to do before actually setting about starting the project.

Firstly, and most importantly, find out if you are going to require a permit in order to install the system. A simple phone call is all it will take, but this could save you endless hassle further down the line if you find out later that you require a permit and did not get one.

Next, you will have to make sure that there are no utilities underneath your yard in the places where you are planning to dig. This is again just a matter of making a few calls, and is a crucial initial stage. It is even worth doing this before you have decided upon the type of system you want, as it could help to influence your decision. Even if you are digging a hole you will need to find out if there is a chance you are going to break something, and if so then you will need to alter your planning accordingly.

Planning and Designing

Once all of the initial checks have been made and you have chosen your system, you will have to make a plan of your garden and work out exactly where everything is going to go before you have dug any holes. This is quite easily done by considering where all of your flowers and trees are located, and where the grass will need the most watering. Some plants may need more water than others, and this will also need to be taken into consideration.

This stage is very important, but when it has been done you are well on your way to getting an effective watering system up and running. You can also be secure in the knowledge that when you have installed it, you will not be wasting any water, and no areas are going to be getting more water than they require.


Now you are ready to begin, so make sure that you have the right equipment. Although different systems will require different types of equipment, in general you will probably need a shovel, a hacksaw, a pipe, pipe glue or cement, and the actual sprinklers.

Installing the System

Your system should come with a detailed guide about how to set about installing it. However, as a general rule, the installation process will fall into two parts: preparing the site and installing the sprinklers.

Preparing the site will involve measuring the area, drawing a diagram of your yard and where the sprinklers will go, and digging the trenches. Installing the sprinklers will involve cutting the pipe, gluing the sprinklers into place, attaching all the pipes together, and burying them.

Follow the instructions on the plan, and be prepared to spend a good few afternoons or even days on the project. But although it will take a while to get it all set up and running, when you have completed it you will have a sprinkler system that will last for years and which you can be very proud of.

For more information on installing a watering system for your lawn or garden, please read these articles:

6 Tips when installing automatic sprinkler systems

Choosing the correct sprinkler head for your lawn

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