Although once considered a luxury, an effective irrigation system will save you hours spent watering with a hose and wasting water through over-saturation. An automatic watering system should be an integral component to any landscape design: explore the options available.
Measure & draw property lines
The first step to planning your irrigation system is to examine your property carefully and to make a map. Once this step is finished, planning the types of sprinkler heads and locating the pipe lines will be much easier. Having a plan in hand also helps when talking to store representatives who can help you complete the planning process.
Designate watering zones
An effective irrigation system operates on the basis of one type of sprinkler head per watering zone. For example, the lawn will need large sprinkler heads whereas the flower beds will need sets of small sprinkler heads. Analyze the watering needs for each area of the front, back, and side yards at the beginning of the irrigation planning phase.
Measure the water source
Knowledge of water GPM and PSI is critical to designing an irrigation system to suit your property; you need to know what the water pressure is and the flow rate, since the pipe sizes you choose will depend on these measurements. s. If each zone has the appropriate number of sprinkler heads, you can know exactly how much water will be emitted from each sprinkler.
Follow these steps and use the charts below:
|Length of String||2"||2-3/4"||3-1/4"||3-1/2"||4-1/4"|
|Copper pipe size||1/2"||3/4"||1"|
|PVC or galvanized pipe size||1/2"||3/4"||1"|
|Water Pressure (PSI)|
|Tuyau d'alimentation principal||35 lb||40 lb||45 lb||50 lb||55 lb||60 lb||65 lb||70 lb||75 lb|
The length of the irrigation system pipes, the number of sprinkler heads the pipe serves, and the available water flow (or GPM) for each pipe will determine its size within the overall system’s design. Keep the following recommendations in mind when designing your piping system.
Make sure you know the approximate or actual pipe sizes for the entire irrigation system. Then, you need to plan and draw the layout for your main sprinkler line and lines for each zone and to each sprinkler head. The irrigation system will consist of: the main sprinkler line, header lines to carry water out into the yard, and lateral lines connected to the header lines that feed water directly to the sprinkler heads.
Follow the steps below for the pipe layout design:
Each watering zone will need its own selected sprinkler head. Determine the sprinkler size for each zone. Make sure your design conforms to the maximum number of sprinkler heads per watering zone.
The type of sprinkler head you choose should cover the area adequately; a large head will emit more water, and a smaller head will limit the amount of water emitted. There are two basic types of sprinklers: rotor heads, which spray a rotating stream of water (up to 360˚), and fixed spray heads, which disperse water in a fixed pattern. Sprinkler heads with a narrow spray zone are suitable for small level areas, such as strips of lawn or narrow flower beds, and rotating sprinkler heads are more suitable for slopes. Each sprinkler head is labeled with a description of the type of watering zone for which it is designed. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for spacing sprinkler heads.
Large area sprinkler heads
|Large area sprinkler heads are generally designed for areas larger than 25' x 25'. For example: the satellite sprinkler can reach up to 80' in diameter and is therefore ideal for watering the lawn. ||Large sprinkler heads are appropriate for backyards and play areas and are typically spaced 15' to 45' apart. |
Medium area sprinkler heads
Small area sprinkler heads
Tips for designing your system
After designing the layout of the irrigation water lines and sprinkler heads, the valves are the third major component of the entire irrigation system.
Follow these recommendations:
A timer for your irrigation system is more an indispensable component than a luxury item. It can enable you to use your irrigation system when there will be e minimal loss due to water evaporation, but when it is least convenient for you to turn it on manually. Timers can also be programmed to turn the system off to prevent over-saturation, i.e. when it is raining.
Additional installation notes
Water conservation tips
The main benefit of an irrigation system is water conservation. There are geographical areas with low water tables where irrigation systems are mandatory. Furthermore, conserving water can be translated into lower utility rates. Follow the tips below and you can conserve even more water.
Winterizing the system
If you live in a more northern climate, you may need to design an irrigation system with winterizing strategies in mind.
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