Designing a Sprinkler System
Are you trying to get your head around designing your sprinkler system? Such a simple system can indeed get complicated. Fortunately, the steps aren’t too difficult. Here’s how you would do it:
1. Do some planning!
As with any big undertaking, you need to be prepared. In the case of a sprinkler system, you need to collect some vital information. You need to measure two things:
The exact size of your yard – this is the most basic information as all steps moving forward are dependent on this. A measuring tape will do with this task. Make sure to be as accurate as you can. Any small deviations might create problems or dry spots later on.
The maximum flow of your water supply – you need to know the optimal amount of water required for your sprinkler system. You do this by measuring the maximum flow, in GPM, your water system can provide. A rule of thumb is a flow of 20 GPM for every acre you want to water.
It’s helpful to collect all your information in a convenient place. You can also draw a blueprint with the lawn measurements you collected.
2. Choose your sprinkler equipment.
With the information you collected from Step 1, you’re now ready to begin shopping for equipment. When selecting equipment, it’s crucial to account for the loss in pressure each part creates. Be sure to consider this in your calculations.
The main pieces of equipment you’ll need to look into include:
- Sprinkler heads – There are generally two types: rotary or spray. When choosing between the two, you need to account for your water pressure, lawn size, and shape.
- Valves – Valves are there to direct water flow at the right time throughout your irrigation system. At the most basic, you need two types. Irrigation control valves are there to turn the sprinklers on and off. Emergency shut-off valves allow you to cut water to your lawn sprinkler system in case of repairs or problems.
- Pipes – You need two types of piping in your sprinkler system. The mainline is the pipe system that runs between your primary water source and the control valves. The lateral pipe is the one that connects your control valve with the sprinklers.
3. Figure out where to place your sprinkler heads
This is a very crucial step in designing your sprinkler system layout. Get this wrong, and you’ll get a lot of dry spots in your lawn.
You need to figure out the maximum radius of each of your sprinkler heads. You can get this information from the manufacturer of the sprinkler system you picked in Part 2. Next, layout circles representing sprinkler coverage in your blueprint. Continue doing this until you have your lawn fully covered. Take note of the exact placements of each sprinkler.
One important thing to keep in mind – you need to make sure the coverage area of each sprinkler 100% overlaps with each other. This means the water sprayed by one sprinkler MUST reach every other sprinkler around it.
4. Plan out valve zones and draw in pipes
Each part of your lawn will have different water requirements. Hence, you need to divide them into zones so you can control the water going into each one. Rule of thumb is never to put the lawn and shrubs in the same zone. Shaded and sunlit areas should also be separated.
5. Figure out the size of your lateral pipes
The final step is to figure out the correct size for your lateral pipes. You need to maintain a lot of water pressure coming into the sprinkler heads. You can influence this to a degree by using a larger or smaller pipe size.