By Gene and Katie Hamilton
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 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
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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