How to Install an In-Ground Sprinkler

How to Install an In-Ground Sprinkler

Conserve water and give the right amount of water to your lawn and garden. Learn how to install an in-ground sprinkler system and what materials and tools you need.



 How to Install an In-Ground Sprinkler

How to Install an In-Ground Sprinkler

Conserve water and give the right amount of water to your lawn and garden. Learn how to install an in-ground sprinkler system and what materials and tools you need.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required

  • Scale ruler
  • Compass
  • Water pressure gauge with hose bib adapter
  • Tape measure
  • File
  • Straight-edge spade
  • Trencher or pipe puller (rental equipment)
  • Knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Hacksaw or plastic pipe cutter (for PVC)
  • Plastic tubing cutter (for PB)
  • Pipe wrench

Materials Required

  • Watering system components
  • PVC or PB pipe
  • String
  • Wood stakes
  • Back flow preventer
  • Hose/pipe adapter
  • Garden hose
  • Primer and solvent/cement (for PVC pipe)
  • Connectors (for PB tubing)
  • Teflon tape
  • Stainless steel hose clamps
  • Step 1 : Make a plan

    Use graph paper or a scale ruler to prepare an accurate scaled drawing of your property. Include buildings, patios, walks and driveways, fences and other obstacles. Designate lawn, garden, shrubs and additional types of plantings. Indicate the location of water lines, water meter and outdoor spigots and where you want to locate the control valves. To accurately determine the pressure and flow capabilities of your water source do some investigating. Use a pressure gauge to test the water pressure at your outdoor spigots. Look at the size of your water meter and outside diameter of your water service line and hose bib piping. With this information, use the manufacturer's guidelines to determine the appropriate components for the yard's in-ground system.

    Depending on the system selected, you may be working with rigid PVC pipe, which is joined with fittings that are solvent-welded together. Other systems use flexible poly pipe, which is joined together with barbed fitting and hose clamps. Either piping method is easy to work with and requires only hand tools.

  • Step 2 : Lay out system

    Lay out the in-ground system

    Lay out the system using stakes at sprinkler head locations and string to represent the piping between them. Cut PVC pipe to length with a hacksaw or plastic pipe cutter and temporarily assemble parts without cement according to the layout.

  • Step 3 : Dig trenches

    Dig trenches for in-ground system Dig trenches

    Disassemble the parts and move the piping aside to dig trenches 6-10 inches deep. You can dig by hand with a square-edge spade, with a rented trenching machine (if soil is relatively rock and root-free) or a combination of the two. To tunnel under a concrete walk or similar obstacle, attach a length of pipe to a garden hose using a hose/pipe adapter. Insert the pipe into the ground, turn on the water and slowlypush in the pipe as the stream of water cuts a hole.

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