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Teach123
04-17-2011, 10:51 AM
Everybody on here has been awesome as far as responding to my past posts and has really given me great advice. So...I have a new interesting question:

I spent about a week getting estimates for an irrigation system. I have a rather small front yard (800-1000 Sq. ft.) and a medium backyard (2500-3000) square feet. I received a plethora of bids ranging from $1800 for just the front to $5000 for the whole property. I like the idea of getting water CONSISTENTLY on my grass without having to move sprinklers 5 times a morning. However, I am having a hard time justifying spending this money when I would be only watering deep once per week. So....Has anyone had experience or can think of a way I can make my own system? Timer? Hose splitter? Type of heads? I am sure this can be done and I'm a smart guy, but I thought I would ask the experts out there first. Thanks!!

White Gardens
04-17-2011, 10:54 AM
You could try a walking tractor sprinkler.

http://ts2.mm.bing.net/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=846212499153&id=97f496f3a2874f80eb9f0acaf4db3ad9

Teach123
04-17-2011, 11:03 AM
Hello fellow Illinoisan White Gardens: That is funny you should suggest this as I was going to add a little story about these in my original post. I have one of these. I tried using it, but found that unless I am going to stand and watch it, it malfunctions, squirrels/rabbits mess with it, etc... I like to water one zone once a week from about 4-7 a.m during late spring /summer. I tried using this last year with a timer and would wake to a "high-five" from my neighbor for watering his lawn, or the little tractor stuck on something and watering the same spot for 3 hours. Have you had success with these? Any tricks?

White Gardens
04-17-2011, 11:11 AM
Flat surfaces and low cut grass make it work better. That and as long as it's not dragging too much hose behind it. I know CAT had a company make one for them for promotion purposes and I wish I had picked one up a couple of years back as the thing was super heavy compared to the regular models you see.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51A5YJ9XVAL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Only other thought is to just get a good quality oscillating sprinkler such as this one.

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=479252451172&id=15854ac499840329f8312b3fb3767094

I can cover a pretty large area in one spot as long as the water pressure is sufficient. The only problem is that it takes a while to get down a good amount of water, so if you set it, have a timer on your spigot, then you can walk away from it and let it go. I like it also as it has a rectangular pattern so that you are getting every corner of the yard effectively.

But honestly, I don't water if I have to. The water in Danvers where I live is expensive, but that's a different story. Mostly I water my garden and that's about it.

Teach123
04-17-2011, 11:21 AM
I hear ya about watering being expensive! Here is Spfld, they get us on sewer. They claim they keep the water prices 'flat" but the sewer prices go up and up. I just laid all new KBG last fall after having a "central Illinois mix" (rye, creeping red fescue, kbg, etc.). Since its a hybrid of about 5 different types of KBG it should do ok in the heat and full sun, but I know KBG needs more water than other grasses. I have several of the other sprinklers you suggested. They do work better for consistentcy, but damn do they take forever. It literally would take 5 hours to fill a tuna can. Can you tell, I am scared that this summer will be like last? It was awful and I don't want to lose this new grass. Although it's too hard to control disease like last summer.

GreenI.A.
04-17-2011, 11:28 AM
I would have a good reputable irrigation company install an efficient system for you. More than likely with a price varying so much their was a big difference in the quality of sytem designed. A good quality irrigation system will save you tens of thousands of gallons of water over an ineffecient system, and even more over using a hose end sprayer or sprinkler. If you get a good company who knows how to design, then the water savings should pay for the irrigation system within a few years.

Teach123
04-17-2011, 11:41 AM
Green Industry: I agree with you 100%. I really do want an in-ground system, and one of the ways I am convincing myself is by saying "that in the long run...." However, I live in an older completely renovated home. The basement is finished and unfortunately, there would have to be an entire section of wall (not drywall) where a recessed entertainment center is cut out to access the main water supply for the house. This area was very expensive to install. So..on top of any system would be the cost of fixing the area in the basement. I just wish the previous owners had thought of an irrigation system and not installed that entertainment center where it is.

RodneyK
04-17-2011, 11:43 AM
I would just spend the money for the system. You will be so glad you did. I resisted for a long time and spent countless hours moving sprinklers and hoses before having it installed. Not to mention all the wasted water and not that great of results.

GreenI.A.
04-17-2011, 12:06 PM
In the case of no access to the water main in the basement their are other options. If your water spicket coming out side is 3/4" the irrigation can be run off of that existing pipe. The system would have to be designed around that restriction, which would results in more zones than doing 1" pipe. Is their no way at all to get to the water main in the basement? Where is your meter? Is that beried behind the wall aswell?

Also with the sewer cost, have you checked into splitting the meter? Some cities will alow you to instal a second meter for the irrigation system and out door use. The original meter will then measure only the water used in the house and that going down the drain, the 2nd meter only measures the water used outside that does not go down the meter.

Teach123
04-17-2011, 12:19 PM
Green Industry: The city charges $1000 bucks for a new meter. I wouldn't be using any more water with an irrigation system...actually quite a bit less. So, I think that may be money I don't need to spend. However, I am intrigued by your comment of running a system off of the existing spigot. And yes, there is a little door in the wall that leads to the water supply, however, each company that has given an estimate said they would need much more access than that. I am getting another estimate tomorrow afternoon from a very reputable company. What questions should I ask? Especially about using the existing spigot.

Kiril
04-17-2011, 12:41 PM
Green Industry: The city charges $1000 bucks for a new meter. I wouldn't be using any more water with an irrigation system...actually quite a bit less. So, I think that may be money I don't need to spend. However, I am intrigued by your comment of running a system off of the existing spigot. And yes, there is a little door in the wall that leads to the water supply, however, each company that has given an estimate said they would need much more access than that. I am getting another estimate tomorrow afternoon from a very reputable company. What questions should I ask? Especially about using the existing spigot.

You don't use the spigot, but rather you tee into the feed to the spigot. If you do this, you should choose one that is the closest to the water meter with a pipe size no less than 3/4". A 1/2" feed will increase your zone count considerably.

There are a lot of questions you should/could ask, but you need to do your homework first. A good company will first delineate the sites current and potential hydrozones then design the irrigation system around that. Beyond the critical factors involving design and proper hydrozoning, material quality and a highly flexible (smart) controller are also key factors.

GreenI.A.
04-17-2011, 01:14 PM
Exactly what Kiril said. You are not simply screwing onto the spicket, but using the pipe that exits the spicket as your water source to connect your baclflow to. You would use a tee so that you wouldn't loose access to the spicket. I have seen systems which tie directly into the spicket but that is way to restricktive, trying to design a system with that method would cost much more in materials as you would need many more zones, and posibly more smaller heads at closer intervuls.

If you really want to save money in the long run a good commercial controler is a must with a reain sensor. This way you aren't watering if it just rained yesterday. All of my systems include a rain sensor and I strongly encourage all of my customers to upgrade to a full weather station as that will give them the best control. The biggest thing is get a company known for irrigation, they will test water flow, pressure, and design the most efficient system available; and not a fly-by-night pert time guy who does the same basic design for every lawn.

In your original post, you said the quotes ranged froom 1500-5000. I am willing to bet that th einstaller for the 1500 system would not save you an ounce of water and would over water many areas while leaving others dry.

RigglePLC
04-17-2011, 02:46 PM
Teach,
this is a job for a battery-operated system; fine for small lawns. Use hose. 4 double AA batteries.
http://melnor.com/aquatimers/3100.html

They cost about $49 to $69 at Home Depot. Or Ace Hdwe. Get spike-base sprinkler heads and the special spikes, hide the heads in the bushes. Later, if you decide to bury the heads and hose--you don't have to buy new sprinkler heads.

With a little careful planning you can cover the front with one half-circle head. And perhaps you can cover the back with two half circle heads. For big areas, one sprinkler head can cover an 80 foot circle, (naturally you need good pressure and you need 20 percent overlap).

A professional system is required by law to have a permanent backflow preventer. ($500).

Kiril
04-17-2011, 03:31 PM
Teach,
this is a job for a battery-operated system; fine for small lawns. Use hose. 4 double AA batteries.
http://melnor.com/aquatimers/3100.html

They cost about $49 to $69 at Home Depot. Or Ace Hdwe. Get spike-base sprinkler heads and the special spikes, hide the heads in the bushes. Later, if you decide to bury the heads and hose--you don't have to buy new sprinkler heads.

With a little careful planning you can cover the front with one half-circle head. And perhaps you can cover the back with two half circle heads. For big areas, one sprinkler head can cover an 80 foot circle, (naturally you need good pressure and you need 20 percent overlap).

A professional system is required by law to have a permanent backflow preventer. ($500).

No offense Riggle, but that melnor junk just barely qualifies for a very temporary setup, let alone a "permanent" one. :dizzy:

If irrigation is a requirement in the OP's area, then the only realistic solution is a proper irrigation system. A properly designed and managed irrigation system will make or break the landscape. It is the #1 most important part of any landscape which relies on supplemental water. If you don't want to install a real irrigation system, then plant regionally appropriate landscapes that don't require supplemental water .... which is what people should be doing anyway.

platinum
04-17-2011, 03:55 PM
You can get away with a couple of the orbit or melnor timers, a bunch of hoses and standard sprinkler heads. I used that for 2+ years without any reliability problems. Itís a pretty ghetto way of doing things but it does work for a small setup. If youíre just trying to get by until you have the funds to do it correctly it will work fine.

Youíre not going to get much help on here with a setup like that so message me if you have any questions. Even though I did this for a couple years, I did put a real system in because of some of the issues that come along with a timer system. Below are some of them;

Batteries dying
Hoses rotting (in buried in the ground which I had)
Inconsistent water coverage
High water bills. Because of the challenges with zoning you end up watering more then you need in most spots to compensate for some of the dry spots. You also waste a lot of water on hardscapes such as driveways, street, etc.. My water bill was almost cut in half when I went to a real system.

AI Inc
04-17-2011, 04:13 PM
My water bill was almost cut in half when I went to a real system.
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And there is your answer.

Teach123
04-17-2011, 04:53 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. I have the funds to get a quality system installed by reputable companies. It's just a little more "tearing up" in my basement than I thought. From all the responses, it looks like a permanent system would save money in the long run. Simply getting even coverage in a efficient manner is enough for me. Thanks to you guys, I am now armed with some potential questions to ask. Thanks again!!

brawdyre
04-18-2011, 12:49 PM
Here is a possible solution. The company apparently does not make them anymore but a smart guy could buy the parts and put one together. It sanother hose based system but with pro parts. Right now I am using the ghetto orbits timers and hoses but it works for me. Here is a pic of what is called a watermonster.

Kiril
04-18-2011, 01:30 PM
If you see a green valve, it is anything but pro.

RigglePLC
04-18-2011, 07:17 PM
Hunter and Rainbird are good brands. Be sure to get the rain sensor. Be sure they guarantee both the labor and parts. The manufacturer usually warrants the clock, heads, and valves,(one year is a minimum, ask for 3 to 5 years).
The cheaper heads sometimes do not retract. They sometimes stop rotating after a year or two. Be sure the coverage overlaps correctly. Ask that the sunniest and hot areas get a little more water than shade areas. Be sure it will still work correctly if city water pressure drops ten percent during hot days. Other guys can advise about other shortcuts you don't want.

ajslands
04-18-2011, 07:19 PM
You could try a walking tractor sprinkler.

http://ts2.mm.bing.net/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=846212499153&id=97f496f3a2874f80eb9f0acaf4db3ad9
He'll be watering the house and street with that!
Posted via Mobile Device

LoweJ82
04-21-2011, 01:21 AM
I love the dozer sprinkler....

Are they not letting them tap in just behind the meter anymore?

I bet I know who the $5k was.... use's 1 white boy per crew and rest are Mexican's, bangs out a couple $5k jobs a day per crew and has like 5+ crews out.

How did the rear lawn look after we reseeded it?

Teach123
04-21-2011, 10:50 AM
The back looks decent. Although Ace screwed me on bulk seed again. There was Tall Fescue in there when there was NOT supposed to be. So...there are some nice stripes of taller lighter colored grass back there. Oh well, at least it's nice and thick.