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Old 08-22-2008, 08:14 AM   #1
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


Has anyone installed their own lawn sprinkling system? I know it's a little overboard, but I work my tail off all spring and early summer trying to get a nice lawn, just to watch the sun slowly kill it off in July and August. I can not afford, or more to the point, will not spend the eight grand they want for a top of the line system. But there is a local company that will design a system for you for the price of the components. They will also, at an hourly rate, bury the lines. I would have to hook everything up and do the yard repairs and cleanup. I would probably forego the expensive controller and rig up my own system, and do my own plumbing. I am concerned about draining the lines for winter. What is the best way to handle that?

What do you think?

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Old 08-22-2008, 01:17 PM   #2
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


How big is your property? 8 grand is a lot of money. I have a 50x100 plot and I had a 32 head sprinkler system with 4 zones installed for $1800 last Fall. It was off season so I got a good price but the guy told me that the system would have cost $2600 installed in the Spring or Summer.

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Old 08-22-2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


By the way, I would have done it myself had I had the time. The labor is the hardest part of it all.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:34 PM   #4
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


It's just a 1/3 acre plot - same as the fellow down the street the paid the 8G. Did you have a controller installed that times when and how long each of the four zones run? Do you need to do anything special to winterize the system, other than drain it, or prepare it for next summer?

Thanks, Woodcutter
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Old 08-22-2008, 02:41 PM   #5
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If doing yourself find a local irrigation supplier, most will (at least around here) design you a system for free as long as you buy the parts from them.

Dont spend the money on a system if your not going to install a controller. There are 4-12 station controllers out there for a hundred bucks or so. The controller gives you so many different options that its pointless to not have one. A relative had a controller go bad, he found a cheapo rainbird controller at Home Depot for 60 bucks, it wouldnt have been my choice but it suits his needs.

As for winterization, I dont know where your located. Here we use a towable (rented) 185cfm compressor adjusted to around 70psi to winterize the system. Usually there is a fitting on the main or a quick coupler that is used as a blow out point. Here this can run you from $50-100.

Lastly, I have to mention backflow prevention, you mentioned doing the plumbing yourself, please take time to research backflow preventers and what type is required where you live. They are required here and must be certified by a licensed plumber and inpsected yearly. Also check to see if a deduct meter is allowed where you live. Some municipalites here allow them, some dont but they can save you $$ by not having to pay for sewer charges on water used for irrigation.

For what its worth, I installed and maintained irrigation systems for 10 years, last month I had someone else install one on my own home...call me lazy but it was the best 5 grand I spent. It was my design and I layed all heads out in the field (most important) but well worth the savings to my old body.
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:35 PM   #6
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


I have a controller that is set up in the basement. It runs everything smoothly. Like Swade said, it lets you program many different options for your system. I couldnt see having my system without it.

Being that you have almost 3 times as much property as I do I can see how your system will cost more. But 8K is still a bit much IMO.
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:05 PM   #7
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


8G??? WOW!

Put a "T" in the line on each end with a ball valve, spigot, whatever you can open and close. At the supply end, kind of like you would put in a hammer arrester, or get a supply cutoff with a bleed valve. At the other end, where the last elbow for the last head is, put a T there instead of the elbow. At the end of the year, open both ends, let it drain! All the heads I know of are freeze-proof in Georgia because the water is not in the top of tube. BUT, check with your particular parts and I don't know what your cold zone is. I like to put a shovel full of gravel under the low end just to help the drainage and to keep dirt from clogging the exit. Every line I have in our parks department is set up like this. Also the greenhouse and every where else that I might have to dig up and repair. All water fountains, everything.

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They will also, at an hourly rate, bury the lines. I would have to hook everything up and do the yard repairs and cleanup
Sounds like you're doing 3/4 the work. How much would it cost/trouble to rent a small trencher (ditchwitch).
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:04 PM   #8
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Woodcutter I probably didnt answer your questions specifically

Can a diyer install a system, absolutely, probably in a 3 day weekend with a couple of friends, the right tools and a strong back

As I said in my first post, check around for a local supplier, they can and most likely will design a system for you if you buy the parts from them. If you go thru a landscape/irrigation company for the design and buy parts from them, their mark up on those materials may be more than buying directly from suplier.

Having a company install the lines....make sure its detailed in the contract just how far they are taking their scope of work. Are they pulling in the pipe (means less clean up/yard repair for you). If they are trenching, will they backfill and tamp trenches. Just make sure they are specific in how they will leave the project.

Winterizing, depending on climate the lines will either have to be blown out or as downunder suggested "gravity drains" installed. If you are in a cold climate I would strongly suggest having that service done for you yearly.

Hope this helps and btw BUY A CONTROLLER...its worth it
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:59 AM   #9
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8k is ridiculously over priced. Without seeing exactly what you have/want, i'd say you should be looking at around two grand for pro install.

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Can a diyer install a system, absolutely, probably in a 3 day weekend with a couple of friends, the right tools and a strong back
I agree. I can do up to 1/4 acre by myself in 2-3 days.
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:39 PM   #10
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


I believe it is Rainbird that Lowes sells. The have a do it yourself planning thing that will help you design your own system.

as to winterizing the system:

pressurized air to blow the system out.
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:22 PM   #11
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


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Originally Posted by Woodcutter View Post
It's just a 1/3 acre plot - same as the fellow down the street the paid the 8G. Did you have a controller installed that times when and how long each of the four zones run? Do you need to do anything special to winterize the system, other than drain it, or prepare it for next summer?

Thanks, Woodcutter
To compare apples to apples, how many zones in your proposal for a system, mist heads, or rotors, any drip line? What brand controller and what brand heads and valves? If it is 4 zones, sounds like a lot of $.

A decent 4-zone controller shouldn't cost more than probably $100.
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:57 PM   #12
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Rainbird .... The have a do it yourself planning thing that will help you design your own system.
You can go the Rainbird site and they will design it for you. You download a grid/chart type thing that you can lay out your yard on and they will design and give you a materials list.
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:54 PM   #13
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DIY Lawn Sprinkling System - Yes - No?


I understand the advantages of the automatic control, but for my small yard I used manual valves. Less hassle to install, no wiring to deal with, and works when only when I turn it on. I hate to see systems running while it is raining, or when there is no need for the water. Of course, I only have 3 zones, so 3 valves does it all. If I had 5 or more zones I would probably go automatic on the control.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:19 PM   #14
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I hate to see systems running while it is raining,...

Thats what rain sensors are for! You need to get up to speed with technology. It makes life a lot easier.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:27 PM   #15
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Thats what rain sensors are for! You need to get up to speed with technology. It makes life a lot easier.
I will check them out. In the past the ones I encountered did not work without constant maint/attention. The little cups that held water and would send a signal were always full of leaves and dirt. Surely there must be something better now? I know around here lots of places either don't use rain sensors, or the sensors don't work well. I even see the county athletic fields irrigation running in the rain, and when we have been ahead on rain for the time period as well. Just a pet peeve of mine I guess.

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