A sprinkler system is a system of pipes and valves used to deliver moisture to a lawn for ease of watering. Garden sprinkler systems are typically buried beneath a lawn before the lawn grasses are planted. If a lawn is already established, you may have to uproot the sod along the pipe trenches in your established lawn and then lay sod over the trenches once you have finished.
Design your sprinkler system before purchasing the parts to avoid purchasing too many. Use 3/4-inch PVC pipe, T- and L-joints and valves. Plan to glue your pipe fittings together with rubber cement. Determine how you wish to water the plants in advance. Common sprinkler options include emitters, spraying heads, a drip tube or bubblers. The most common configuration for a sprinkler system channels water down a pipe on one side of your lawn. Side pipes that stretch across your lawn carry the water to the sprinklers. Each sprinkler pipe should run downhill to a valve, which will drain the pipe. Calculate the total feet of pipe and the number of pipe fittings, valves, valve covers, sprinkler heads and hose joints before purchasing the supplies.
Mark the location for your trenches and sprinkler heads and valves. Water your lawn 24 to 48 hours before digging to loosen soil and make it easier to excavate.
Cut the sides of your trenches using a garden spade. Scoop out the soil using a scoop shovel. Use a posthole digger for the sprinkler heads and valves. The trenches must be placed well below the frost line for your area. They should be at least 18 inches deep from the top of the pipe to the soil’s surface.
Assemble the sprinkler system and lay it into the trenches. Wire the controller valves and run the wire along the trenches to the nearest electrical source. Place the wire at least 2 inches away from the pipe.
Connect the sprinkler system to a timer, backflow preventer, filter and pressure regulator.
Bury the sprinkler hose with soil. Cover the sprinklers up to their nozzles. Cover the valves with covers and bury the covers up to the soil line. The tops of the covers should be just above the soil line. The sprinklers and valve covers should be low enough to mow over them.
Place sod strips over the trenches. Roll over the sod with a sod roller to force the roots into the soil. Water the sod up to four times daily with 1/4 inch of water to establish the roots. You can use a rain gauge to measure this. Decrease the water after 14 days until you only water with 14 inch of water every 10 days.