A Step-by-Step Guide to Professional Sprinkler System Installation and Trenching

Sprinkler: An automatic in-ground sprinkler system is a worthwhile investment for any home or business owner looking to efficiently water their landscape. With the ability to water on a set schedule unattended, sprinklers ensure lawns, gardens, and other plantings receive consistent moisture needed to stay green and thrive with minimal effort. This step-by-step guide will outline the entire process professional contractors follow to lay underground pipes and install sprinkler heads, valves, and controllers. It will cover essential considerations like layout planning, trenching techniques, piping installation, and head placement to ensure the system functions perfectly for decades to come with low maintenance.

Preparing for Underground Piping Installation

Before trenching can begin, you need to account for any buried utilities by calling 811 to request underground utility locating services. This is a free service that will mark any gas, water, or electrical lines in your yard to avoid accidental damage during trenching. Remove landscaping material from the trenching path to have a clear work area. Secure any necessary permits for asphalt jobs like cutting through paved surfaces.

Digging Sprinkler System Trenches

With the layout marked and utilities located, you’re ready to dig trenches for the underground piping. For most residential systems, trenches are 6-12 inches deep. Use a reciprocating spade shovel, powered trencher, or backhoe depending on soil type and trench length. Comply with local codes for minimum cover depths to protect pipes from freezing.

Installing PVC Piping in Trenches

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes are commonly used for sprinkler trenching systems as they are durable and resistant to damage from sunlight, ozone, and chemicals in soil. Lay out pipes following the pre-planned layout, connecting sections with PVC glue. Leave access points for valves and control boxes and slope pipes slightly downhill toward heads for proper drainage. Back fill around the pipes in 6-inch layers, compacting thoroughly to support the piping and prevent settling.

Mounting Sprinkler Heads

With piping installed in the trenches, it’s time to mount sprinkler heads. There are many options for spray patterns from rotors to multi-stream rotary heads. Set heads at appropriate depths below grade and aim in the desired coverage pattern. Use sprinkler head risers and swivels to make small aim adjustments. Apply pipe thread sealant tape to attachment fittings to prevent leaks.

Installing Automatic Valves and Controllers

Automatic valves installed in valve boxes are used to control water flow to different zones of sprinkler heads. Attach valves to piping risers with threaded fittings and make electrical connections if using an automatic controller. A controller acts as a switchboard managing valve operation based on a pre-set watering schedule with optional weather/moisture sensors for efficiency. Follow all local electrical codes when installing controllers.

First, design your layout by mapping out the areas to be watered and planning the placement of sprinkler heads. Next, gather materials including pipes, fittings, sprinkler heads, and a control unit. Begin by marking the trench lines using flags or spray paint. Use a trenching machine to dig trenches according to your plan, ensuring they are deep enough for the pipes. Lay the pipes in the trenches, connecting them with fittings and ensuring a watertight seal. Install the sprinkler heads at designated locations. Connect the system to a water source and install the control unit. Finally, test the system for leaks and proper operation before covering the trenches and restoring the landscape.

Backfilling and Finishing Touches of (Sprinkler)

With the underground components installed, it’s time to complete back filling in the trenches. Mound a small hill of soil over buried valves to allow access without fully disturbing the area. Rake and roll out any compacted soil from trenching to level the yard. Replace removed landscaping plants and sod. Perform a system pressure test by running water through the system for any leaks before burying valve access points.

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