Wish you had a perfectly lush, manicured lawn? Tired of that above-ground sprinkler that can’t get every spot in your yard? Sick of having to water your flowers and plants with a garden hose? If you’re looking to have the best lawn on the block, it might be time to install a sprinkler system.
Installing a sprinkler system will cost about $3,000-$4,000 for a ¼ acre lot. If you buy the components and materials and do it yourself, you can expect to spend around $1,500 and invest a lot of time getting it all set up in your yard
If you’re thinking about putting a sprinkler system in your yard, here are five tips to keep in mind before you get started.
Know What’s Involved
Installing an irrigation system is not easy. There are a lot of steps involved, and there’s a lot more to it than just digging holes and staggering those sprinkler heads around the yard.
Before you begin, take some time to learn about the process so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you start the project and end up having to hire a pro to fix and finish it for you, it could end up costing more money than hiring a pro from the start.
Installing a sprinkler system involves having to dig trenches, hitch your system up to the main water line and run PVC piping underground. You’ll also need to assemble the various parts of the irrigation kit, run all sorts of tests, and wire the control box to power up your sprinklers.
When you wire your system to a power supply, you’ll also need to install a timer to control how long and how often you want your sprinklers to run. In addition, you’ll have to install drains, valves and other protective measures.
You’ll also want to account for the fact that certain areas of your lawn may require more water than others.
Installing a sprinkler system is a big job, so make sure you fully understand the process before beginning.
Take the Time to Plan
If you’re confident that you can handle the job yourself, take the time to plan your system correctly. Having a solid plan in place is step number one, long before choosing your actual system or digging up your lawn.
Start by looking for obstacles and problem areas around your lawn. If you have lots of slopes or hills, you can expect a higher level of difficulty than if you have a flat yard.
Contact your water company to learn the capacity of your system. You’ll need to know your water pressure, flow rate and system capacity before buying a sprinkler system. This is important, as you’ll need to buy one that your water system can handle.
Another important step is to map out the entire project. It’s crucial that the water from each sprinkler heads overlaps. If you space them too far apart, you’ll end up with areas that won’t get the water they need.
Mark Utility Lines
Whatever you do, don’t just grab a shovel and start digging. Before you start your project, contact your utility companies. Ask them to come to your property and mark their underground lines.
This is extremely important! If you don’t know where electrical, cable and phone lines are, you could cut right into one. The last thing you want to do is cause an even bigger problem that will require hiring a pro to fix.
Get a Permit
Before starting your project, check to see if you need a permit. Depending on where you live, a permit may be required before installation.
In some cities and counties, irrigation system installation cannot be a DIY project. Every county and state has different rules and regulations, so know what’s required of you by law before you start digging up your lawn.
In addition to needing a permit, it’s also important to know what the building codes in your neighborhood are. There are a lot of little details you’ll need to pay attention to, such as how far down you need to dig to prevent the water lines from freezing.
If you live in a city that will allow you to DIY your sprinkler system, you may still be required to have a licensed plumber connect your system to your home’s water system or water main.
Know the rules and regulations in your town to avoid fines, fees, and legal ramifications.
Hire a Pro
While DIYing your sprinkler system can save you thousands of dollars, it isn’t a simple project to do. This is one home project that’s usually best to leave to the professionals.
If you don’t think you’re up for the job or don’t have the ability to do the heavy labor required, hire a pro. A professional will know exactly how to get the job done and will spend the time needed to plan, pull permits, install, and test the system properly.
Another reason to hire a pro is that the work may come with a warranty. If you buy a sprinkler system and install it yourself, you may lose out on the benefits of a warranty.
Look for a licensed and bonded contractor in your city to do the work for you. Depending on the installer and the system you purchase, you may get the added benefit of having a warranty to protect you in case something goes wrong.
Is it Easy to Install a Sprinkler System?
Installing a sprinkler system is a complicated job, and there’s a lot more to it than you may think.
Mapping out where the sprinkler heads will go is the easy part. Digging trenches, laying pipes, connecting to water supply lines, and protecting your system with shutoff valves are much more complicated aspects of the job.
If you have the time and the skills to do it yourself, go for it. But if you have any hesitation whatsoever, do yourself a favor and hire a pro.
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