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How to Install a Lawn Irrigation System

After you plan your underground lawn irrigation system and purchase all your materials and equipment, you’re ready to start installation. If necessary you can rent a trenching machine for the job. Plan to have these tools on hand:

  • Trenching shovel or a trenching machine

  • Hacksaw for cutting the PVC pipe

  • Pipe wrench

  • Pick

  • Tape measure

  • String

  • Mallet

  • Stakes

  • Utility knife

  • Screwdriver

  • Pipe tape for screw-together pipe fittings

  • PVC glue (to connect pipe)

  • Pipe cutter for copper (if necessary)

  • Electrical tape (if you need to make any electrical connections)

Roll up your sleeves and get out that elbow grease. Following is a step-by-step look at how you can install the sprinkler system.

  1. Lay the pipe out in your planned configuration.

    After you have all your pipe, fittings, and everything else on hand, double-check that you have everything you need from your design and parts list by laying the pipe out in the yard.

  2. Dig the pipe canals.

    The trenches that the pipe is going to lie in must be 3 to 4 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep. Digging the trenches can be hard work, especially if you’re not used to it. You may be better off hiring someone to do this for you or renting a trench-digging machine. If you’re doing the work yourself, then you need to stake out the trench area. Run string from stake to stake. This helps keep your trench lines straight.

  3. If you want to save your sod, cut the turf by plunging a sharp spade about 2 to 3 inches deep along the outlines of the trenches. If you’re not a glutton for punishment, then take the easier path and rent a sod cutter.

    If you’re installing a system in an existing lawn, you can remove and save the grass on top of the trenches for replanting later.

    Cut the sod pieces into comfortable size lengths (2 to 3 feet is usually about right) and then undercut them with the spade. Pick up the pieces of sod (roll them up, root side out, if you can) and put them in a shady, out-of-the-way place. Water the pieces of sod lightly and occasionally so that they don’t dry out.

  4. If you have to dig under a sidewalk or some other surface impediment, make sure that you flush the area underneath with water to loosen the soil.

    image0.jpg

    Drive a 1-inch-thick piece of galvanized pipe under the sidewalk and through the area where you want your PVC pipe to run. Pull the galvanized pipe out, tape one end of the PVC to keep out dirt, and run the PVC through the tunnel that you just created.

  5. Lay out and fit together all your pipe in the trenches without gluing the ends, to make sure that everything fits.

  6. Measure the length of pipe carefully and using a hacksaw or pipe cutter, cut the pipe to the correct lengths.

    Scrape off any rough edges with a utility knife. Carefully clean the two ends of pipe you’re going to fit together.

  7. When you’re sure everything measures out right, brush primer on the outside of the standard pipe and on the inside of the flared end. Brush the adhesive solvent over the primed areas and fit the pipes together.

    image1.jpg

    Twist the pipes one-quarter turn and hold them together in your hands for 20 seconds until they’re set.

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