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Question for DIYers

Habanero

Cyburbian
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3,241
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27
Have you ever attempted to install an irrigations system? Am I a fool thinking we could install one on our own in the back yard? Should we pay a landscape company to provide the stubout for us, or do that ourselves?

:-\ I'm not sure what to think but the prices we've been quoted are outrageous.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
The plumbing part isn't that hard. I am wondering how you coordinate self install with the landscape contractor since you need to trench and backfill....
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
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3,241
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27
ludes98 said:
The plumbing part isn't that hard. I am wondering how you coordinate self install with the landscape contractor since you need to trench and backfill....
They said they will provide the stubout to the backyard for a small fee so the water is in our backyard when we're ready to install. I'm wondering if this will include the valves for all four stations needed.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
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4,473
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25
Habanero said:
Have you ever attempted to install an irrigations system? Am I a fool thinking we could install one on our own in the back yard? Should we pay a landscape company to provide the stubout for us, or do that ourselves?
Maybe you should forget the irrigation system and go with natural plant species that grow in your area, like cactus or other succelants. Seems kind of pointless to plant grass, go with the natural landscape IMO.:)
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
They are the one DIY that almost anyone can do. I've helped install one and it was E*A*S*Y. Go to your local Lowes, Home Depot or whereever and tell them what you want to do and they should even have a class on how to do it during the summer season. They are in the business of selling the parts you need. Often they give away the knowledge for free.

UPDATE - The stubout will normally only have one valve and you should let them do that for you. Are you in a freezeing climate? If so you choose to have the entire system controled from inside a heated garage. That requires some pro help - but not too much.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
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3,241
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27
el Guapo said:
They are the one DIY that almost anyone can do. I've helped install one and it was E*A*S*Y. Go to your local Lowes, Home Depot or whereever and tell them what you want to do and they should even have a class on how to do it during the summer season. They are in the business of selling the parts you need. Often they give away the knowledge for free.

UPDATE - The stubout will normally only have one valve and you should let them do that for you. Are you in a freezeing climate? If so you choose to have the entire system controled from inside a heated garage. That requires some pro help - but not too much.
Thanks, EG. I think it could be fun to do it ourselves. The homebuilder is including the front yard landscaping for the house so we'll have a drip system out there but I 8-! at the prices we were quoted for our back yard. Two weeks to go and I want to have a game plan! :-}
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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5,995
Points
31
Habanero said:
Thanks, EG. I think it could be fun to do it ourselves. The homebuilder is including the front yard landscaping for the house so we'll have a drip system out there but I 8-! at the prices we were quoted for our back yard. Two weeks to go and I want to have a game plan! :-}

If you are below the freeze line you can bury the lines quite shallow. That is so easy to dig yourself. Heck, you could even assemble it above ground, test it, and then bury it. Have fun.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
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1,447
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27
Just did my sprikler system last year on my 9,500 sq. ft. lot. It is real easy. I paid $60 to have the trence work done. You can rent the machines yourself but make sure the trencher is the chain say looking kind. Home Depot had one with a spinning disc - may be okay if you have soft soil. I had a qualified irrigation company draw the plans and I purchased the supplies from them as well. They even delivered everything. I connected to an existing secondary water line for my supply. Make sure you install more drains than you think you need or are told to use. Not fun digging up and replacing broken lines. If you do, place a drain where the repair is made. Make sure you do not run you lines within two feet of the property lines. Use the funny pipe to extend the sprinkler head to the property line. This makes is much easier if you plan to install a fence. Also, get the valves that you can manually turn on. This also makes it much easier to test lines one at a time or adjust heads and not have to use the timer to turn them on. Go as deep as you can with the lines and use the same trenches as much as possible. This deeper they are makes is better is you ever aerate your lawn. Think of where you want trees in the future. If your ground freezes in the winter, place a union valve at the water connection point. Disconnect this and the end of any manifold to help drain water at the end of each water season. This helps drain the lines in addition to the drain valves placed inline. All of this knowledge I impart to you is from first hand experience.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
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1,905
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23
One word: Xeriscape.

But if you must..... DIY... it's not like you are going to have a pipe burst in a bathroom and ruin lord knows what.
 

michaelskis

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20,176
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51
I worked for a landscape company that did them... Just remember a few things... make shure all the pipes in each zone slope the same direction, make sure you have allot of well draining material around your end drain, try not to use more than 8-10 sprayers per zone, (I liked to use 6 or 7 at max), inatall a good filter BEFORE the pump, and most importantly, use a good quality pump.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
They are very easy to do. While you are at it, why not set up a drip station or mister for the birds? I have both. The dripper is a favorite of the finches. It drips into a pool that is used by the larger birds, like robins, orioles, and cardinals. The mister is five feet up in a tree. Several of the birds like to sit on a limb a few feet away, where the mist cools them.
 

Jen

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Is a lawn a requirement of your subdivision, it seems that for your area, xeriscaping would be the desired substitute for a lawn. Really, no disrespect but the idea of irrigating a lawn in Arizona is crazy! What's up with that?
 

Gedunker

Moderating
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As several others have said before, I'd favor xeriscaping, but not for the same reasons. As the person in our household with primary responsibility for mowing and weed whacking, I'd ask why anybody would want a lawn to mow, whack and sweep?
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
From my irrigation design classes in LA school, here are a couple tips for you:

1) Backflow prevention. Start there, and don't skimp. Drinking weed & feed isn't healthy.

2) Do the math. Know your water pressure, the cfm requirement of each head, and the length of the runs. It's much better to divide the system than have poor spray patterns.

3) Put the water only where you need it. There are literally hundreds of spray and drip heads out there. If you use a 360 degree head aimed at a planting bed, you waste 1/2 the water... use a 180, or a 90... you get the point.

4) Pop-up sprinkler heads are expensive. Only use them where people might trip. A $2.00 head on an 18" riser inside a bed will save you lots of money.

5) Go underground whever possible. "A gallon at the roots is worth 10 at the surface."


Oh, and if you're in the planning profession, chances are there's an LA around somewhere close. Calcing out the system and doing a quick design is pretty much a breeze. Or better yet, go to the local university and let them design your yard as a "project".
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
We have dogs, we need some grass for them. It's not like we've got acres upon acres, we're thinking at most 1,400 square feet and planting the most most drought tolerant hybrid. My mind is already made up on that. We're going to have some xeriscape but no grass is not an option in a two dog household. Xeriscped or not I would still have to install a drip system.

So, back in line with the original question.. do you have to have separate valves for every zone?

Mastiff, for the trees I was thinking of putting the drip about 2 feet away from the base, I've heard I shouldn't put them right on the tree stump. Any ideas why that is?

(We don't have any LAs here, but there are a few people that have done it before and they've just confused me even more)
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Habanero said:
So, back in line with the original question.. do you have to have separate valves for every zone?

Mastiff, for the trees I was thinking of putting the drip about 2 feet away from the base, I've heard I shouldn't put them right on the tree stump. Any ideas why that is?
Yep, seperate zones need seperate valves. Is this an automatic system or manual?

This is how it should start out:

Main water line ---- Main shut off valve ---- Backflow prevention --- Tee's to your 4 zones --- 4 valves

(If you have an automatic system, each of the 4 "control" valves will be electrically manipulated from the system panel)

Oh, and yeah, you don't want a constant drip on one spot of a tree, it can harm the bark or root. But on a new tree, you want it away so the roots have to "reach" for the water.

I always suggest planting a tree in this manner:

- Dig the hole about 1 1/2 time the size needed for the ball.

- Line the bottom of the hole with round rock (3/4" over gravel)

- Place the tree (Never grab it by the trunk... get underneath it)

- Place a piece of 2" PVC pipe beside the tree ball in the hole from the gravel to above ground.

- Backfill and create a soil "ring" around the tree

- Fill the "ring" with mulch (Straw works)

Then when you water the first year, stick a hose in the pipe and get water to the roots. (It also gets them air) This way, the tree roots head down for the water instead of to the surface...

Go here:

http://www.irrigationtutorials.com

I don't know Jess personally, but he's an L.A. registered in your area, and he really knows his stuff. All you wanted to know, and then some.
 
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Habanero

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3,241
Points
27
Mastiff said:
Go here:

http://www.irrigationtutorials.com

I don't know Jess personally, but he's an L.A. registered in your area, and he really knows his stuff. All you wanted to know, and then some.
Awesome!! That site looks like I could have reading material for a few weeks. :-D I like your tree planing idea, we may do that. Could we do that in lieu of a drip stytem to the trees or would we need to do something like that in excess and just deep water for the first year and after that use the drip system?
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Zoning Goddess said:
Don't forget a rain sensor so the system (if automatic) won't turn on if it's been raining.
What is this rain you speak of? :p We looked into it and we're going to put one in even though it hardly ever rains.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Habanero said:
Awesome!! That site looks like I could have reading material for a few weeks. :-D I like your tree planing idea, we may do that. Could we do that in lieu of a drip stytem to the trees or would we need to do something like that in excess and just deep water for the first year and after that use the drip system?
Depends on the tree. If you use some drought resistant species, and water them regularly (underneath) for two years, you're probably good. The tap root needs to get a good start (some drought tolerant trees are said to have a tap root twice the height of the tree), so it can fend for itself. If it is constantly relying on drip irrigation or sprinklers, it'll be shallow rooted....
 
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