Thinking about a DIY sprinkler system

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by davenyl, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. davenyl

    davenyl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I moved into a new house so this will be my first experience with a lawn. Sod was put in before we bought the house and I'm going to try to fill in some spots with seed which obviously requires frequent watering. I've read through quite a few posts here about DIY systems and I know it will not compare with a professionally installed system, but funds are tight. I'm thinking of setting up the front yard with a system that will just connect off the outside hose bibb. From the bibb itself, I have 60psi and about 8 gpm (this was while another hose bibb was being used with an oscillating sprinkler.

    Do you think I would be able to run about 4-5 rotors at a time at 1.5 gpm each? I'll be using either pvc flex pipe or standard pvc, 3/4" (should this be 1/2" since that is what the hose bibb is?) with a hose adaptor that I will connect to the bibb only when in use. I'll figure a way to hide the portion of hose that is coming out of the ground when not in use so it is not an eye sore.

    I know its not the ideal setup but it would sure beat getting the house out all the time and finding the sweet spot on the lawn to make sure every area gets hit.

    Appreciate any helpful comments.
  2. davemanou812

    davemanou812 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 27

    OK I'll bite...dude you really need to at least find a friend or someone that knows a little more than you. You are going to start digging, breaking, and gluing (everything twice by the way) By the time you fix what you break, pay for the wasted water, the 5 trips to home depot or lowes, Your still going to have to pay for the materials, you might as well not eat out a few times a month for a few months and pay a pro. If you just want the front to look good find one who may do it in stages. Put front and beds in, stub out the rest for now. Just my 2 cents
  3. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    1/2" pipe will not give you 8 gallons a min. Just my thoughts!
  4. davenyl

    davenyl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I know there is a lot I don't know which is why I am here and on other various sites researching about this. If I make a few mistakes along the way, well thats how you learn. Certain things I will not even think about attempting and will get a pro, this however, I think I can handle. I'm going to be digging up the ground anyway because we are putting in a flower bed along the house and down the driveway.

    Will the 3/4" pipe give the 8 gpm even if its connected to the hose bibb? I did another bucket-fill test today and going through 75 feet of 5/8" curled up hose I came out with about 6 gpm. 50 feet of 3/4" straight pipe would have to be significantly better output, right?
  5. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

  6. LCPullman

    LCPullman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    From your hose bib, you do not have 8gpm of usable flow because you are getting 8gpm wide open, or no pressure. For rotors you will need at least 40 psi, so your gpm from your hose bib will be way down from 8gpm.

    To have a good sprinkler system, You really, really need a hookup directly to your water line. See if you can have someone (like a pro) do a hookup to your water line for you, maybe run a mainline/valves and then you can take care of the rest yourself.

    Make sure you look through thorougly. It should help you get a better idea what is going on.
  7. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Regardless, 6gpm or 8gpm, you are not going to have enough volume for four or five rotors. Think more like two if you are lucky.

    You are getting water from a meter, correct? Your best bet would be to call around and find someone who would be willing to work with you. You might be hard pressed in April though. Ask them if they would be willing to tap the supply line to the house, install a shutoff valve and a backflow preventer, and how much it is going to cost you. You would then have the first step in a real system, an adequate supply of water, and would comply with your community's backflow requirements. While they are there, have them run the main line and build a valve manifold and wire up a controller for you. Now you have the core of the system. You can then spend some time over on the site Jon provided and try your hand at the rest of it. Although I think you'd be better off having the whole system installed, at least think about doing it this way rather than the way you are considering.

    If you are just trying to get some seed to grow (I am guessing Bahia grass) don't waste your time and money. Drag the hose around. If you are trying to add a permanent system that will do the job for years to come and add value to your home, start in the right place.
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    "As goes the point-of-connection, goes the sucess of the system"
    Have a pro install the p.o.c. & diddle around with the rest, or put off the vacation and have one of us do it right the first time!
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Very true. I always liken it to the system's "bank account" in that at the POC you have a given amount of money (GPM and PSI) to work with. If you stay within your account balance to the "worse case scenario" head then everything else will work just fine. Overdraw your account and there are severe "early withdrawal" penalties to pay. This means that irrigation pros are actually financial advisers in a way. :)
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,386

    If you sit down quietly with a good stiff drink, these disturbing thoughts should gradually go away. :p

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