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I have been thinking of installing a sprinkler system at my house. We have about 3/4 acre. I'm not 100% sure i'm going to do it yet but I wanted to research it first.

What are some good websites to do some reading on installing an irrigation system?
About how much money would it cost me in parts to water around 3/4 acre?
About how much time would it take me (a beginner) to do it solo with a trencher?

After some reading, would I be capable of doing this without any other irrigation experience?

Thanks,
ALarsh
 

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step one: Figure out how much water pressure and volume you have available.
Step 2: design the system.

Step 3: buy parts.
Step 4: Implement.

Steps one and two are pretty cheap, and have a HUGE impact on the rest of it. I bet I could do a 3/4 acre for 1000 bucks in parts, assuming 15 gpm, no sprays, and fairly open country.
 

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I've been thinking about installing a system at my house also. I've done a ton of reading here, and elsewhere on the net. I found what appeared to be a good site at http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/index.html. After doing all the reading, I went ahead and let rainbird design a system (why not, they do it for free). I just got the design back a couple days ago. I plan on making a few adjustments to their plan, then I'll be ready to cost it all out and maybe actually install the system. :)
 

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Just to reassure you guys, I just finished my own system. It is just about 3/4 an acre with 8 zones/36 Hunter PGP rotor heads, a drip zone for a flowering ground cover bed, a zone of HP Rotators for a shrubbery/flower bed, and a remote garden hose connection that I will use for starting perennial beds at the far end of the yard. I was about 2 weeks from excavation to the last hand rake out. The actual system build took just about a week, and another to backfill, rake and reseed. I did my own design, because RainBird, Hunter and Toro all tell you in their stuff what they're going to do. Once you have the drawing of the yard done, the hardest design work is over. I followed the rules of head to head design and stayed very conservative on number of heads per zone based on my pressure and flow. The only consideration that I didn't look at first was that the precipitation rate of of fractional arc rotors is higher than full rotation rotors. Given the precip rate of a full rotation, you need to double it for 180 degree rotors and quadruple them for 90 degree rotors.

While the predominant opinion on this forum is that you should hire a pro, you can build a professional system if you do a lot of research, read everything there is to find on the internet, do an accurate drawing of your yard, carefully and realistically measure your water pressure and flow, do some math and then sit down with a compass. If you don't have the patience for that and don't have a couple of weeks to devote nearly full time to the project, then follow the advise of others and hire an irrigation contractor.
 

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jeffinsgf said:
While the predominant opinion on this forum is that you should hire a pro, you can build a professional system if you do a lot of research, read everything there is to find on the internet, do an accurate drawing of your yard, carefully and realistically measure your water pressure and flow, do some math and then sit down with a compass. If you don't have the patience for that and don't have a couple of weeks to devote nearly full time to the project, then follow the advise of others and hire an irrigation contractor.
I don't think implying that the pro's here are against DIY systems is true. I do believe that most people will not get a quality system on their own. Unfortunately, there is a lot of DIY info out there that will have you calling a professional to fix your system when your done. If you do the research to get a quality design and do the work to install a quality product, the that is what you will end up with. I can promise you that there are some "pro's" out there who are just as good for buisness as the average DIY system. My rule of thumb and goal on a new install is to spend less than 10 man hours per zone plus the tap/connection. That means more than an hour per head on average. Your example of 8 zones and almost 40 heads fits. You said a week for the sprinkler work plus cleanup to get ready for seed. something between 60-80 hours? In my market, I would have to bid that system at around $4,000. I would guess, depending on where you purchased them, the parts cost you around $1500, and you incurred $300-$500 in machine expenses. So, your 80 hours = $2000. That's $25/man hour. What is your spare/free time worth? If spending your annual vacation digging in a sprinkler system to save $2000 was a good deal, then you came out ahead. We make our living on the customers who would prefer to enjoy that vacation time and value their own personal time more. This is a luxury market.
 

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We make our living on the customers who would prefer to enjoy that vacation time and value their own personal time more. This is a luxury market.
Sean ought to make this sentence a sticky and post it in each forum for all to read before posting. excellent reply !!!!!
If you can't sell it, you can't install it
 

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bicmudpuppy said:
..... What is your spare/free time worth? If spending your annual vacation digging in a sprinkler system to save $2000 was a good deal, then you came out ahead. We make our living on the customers who would prefer to enjoy that vacation time and value their own personal time more. This is a luxury market.
Due to the nature of my "day job", I have a lot of time in the summer. This wasn't my annual vacation and I needed some more projects to justify the purchase of my new tractor and backhoe. :rolleyes:

"...Value their own time more..." -- that sort of sounds like you value your time less. I am not trying to start an argument. I thought I gave a realistic explanation of what is necessary to do a system correctly, pointing out that you have to do your homework and devote a great deal of time to a project of this size. Your numbers are pretty much right on except my trencher was only 200. $4000? I could have hired you and paid your travel expenses from Kansas to Springfield and still saved several thousand over any quotes I got. Then when you started digging here, you would have immediately known that you underbid the job. To call it rocky is an understatement.

Yes, owning a sprinkler system in the Midwest (or anywhere for that matter) is a luxury, not a necessity. Most of the people in the market for a system are not going to get out in triple digit weather and swing a pick and a post hole digger to cut 12 inch risers into ground that is as much rock as soil. But, don't try to imply that I am a penny-pinching miser because I choose to and enjoy it. You must, as well, or you would do something else for a living.
 

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Not trying and but in, but I am also in the process of designing my own system and have already drew my yard to scale and have started drawing in the heads. I see that you used pgp's and that is what I'm mostly using except for a few pgj's for a small area. I was just curious to know what gpm and pressure you have and about how far you spaced your heads. I'm working with 13 gpm at about 50 psi at the connection. I'm on a well. I'm running full circles at 4 gpm, halfs at 2 and quarters at 1. Also would like to know what type of valves you used because I have some elevation change to deal with. Luckily it is all downhill. As far as I can tell I have 10 zones with about 50 heads total. Alot of those are half circles since I had to go around the house and up and down both sides of the drive. Then I have 2 zones of sprays in the beds around the house.
 

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I used Hunter jar top PGV valves. My system is all downhill, as well, and I have some issues with the last heads in the lines creating swamps. I am going to replace the downhill PGP's with the check valve model. I'll let you know how that works. I have 20gpm at 55psi at the point of connection. I laid out my zones based on 15gpm at 40psi. I have them spaced between 36 and 40 feet apart and run a #7 nozzle in most of them. I have been tweaking the system by swapping tips and adjusting the run times and just about have it going the way I want.
 

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jeffinsgf said:
Due to the nature of my "day job", I have a lot of time in the summer. This wasn't my annual vacation and I needed some more projects to justify the purchase of my new tractor and backhoe. :rolleyes:

"...Value their own time more..." -- that sort of sounds like you value your time less. I am not trying to start an argument. I thought I gave a realistic explanation of what is necessary to do a system correctly, pointing out that you have to do your homework and devote a great deal of time to a project of this size. Your numbers are pretty much right on except my trencher was only 200. $4000? I could have hired you and paid your travel expenses from Kansas to Springfield and still saved several thousand over any quotes I got. Then when you started digging here, you would have immediately known that you underbid the job. To call it rocky is an understatement.

Yes, owning a sprinkler system in the Midwest (or anywhere for that matter) is a luxury, not a necessity. Most of the people in the market for a system are not going to get out in triple digit weather and swing a pick and a post hole digger to cut 12 inch risers into ground that is as much rock as soil. But, don't try to imply that I am a penny-pinching miser because I choose to and enjoy it. You must, as well, or you would do something else for a living.
I'm comming back to this because I think you took my comment the wrong way. I didn't mean to imply that you were trying to save money at all. My intent was to ask the simple question that in hind sight, was it worth it? Yes, this is what I do for a living. There are days and jobs that make me wish I had considered alternate choices, but what job out there doesn't have those moments. I pride myself on being extremely proficient at what I do. I hope, in your "day job" you feel the same way. I don't install systems for very many people that I wouldn't call "successful" in their chosen field. It is my experience, that when I need something done outside of my region of expertise, that I do what I recomend to my customers. Get a PRO. If the manual labor and improving your property was something you got personal satisfaction out of, then even if you ended up working for free, it might of been a good deal. I know of very few break-even or cheap hobbies. And unless I missed something in the quantity of materials you installed, or you had to rent a rock saw to finish, my $4,000 figure would have been good, except for the fact you are outside of my service area. Also, if could trench it, a good vibratory plow could have pulled it. Solid rock is another story, but plows pull through rocky ground better than trenchers do in the same soil.
 

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hmmmmm.....

i could do the dental work on my children to save some money. I could buy tire changing tools and swap my snow tires out myself.

today's society is turning to specialists. specialists can do things faster then people who do it occasionally. they can do it more efficiently. sometimes they can do it better.

can i do a better sprinkler system faster then almost all homeowners? yup.

can a homeowner do a sprinkler system better then me, if they spend enough time at it? probably.
Will I help the homeowner? Absolutely, as long as it doesn't cost me too much in time. If I help the homeowner, they will often tell their buddy's what a great guy I am, and I will get all teh business from the buddies.
 

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sprinklers aren't rocket science.
rocket science involves precisely measured chemicals designed to propel a known fixture of a measurable mass through a calculated medium, air, with teh fundamental assurance that no matter what happens, the rocket WILL come down due to gravity.

all sprinklers do is take unknown pressure of water, scatter it across a non-uniform yard with varying sunlight and exposure requirements in hopes that grass will be watered in a manner that it grows evenly. oh. lets not forget the digiital programmers, 120 voltage, valve interfaces, building codes, drainage issues, money collection, blow outs, and the ever so simple hydraulic calculations of not over loading a non uniform pipe with variable angles.

anyone can do it.
 

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drmiller100 said:
sprinklers aren't rocket science.
rocket science involves precisely measured chemicals designed to propel a known fixture of a measurable mass through a calculated medium, air, with teh fundamental assurance that no matter what happens, the rocket WILL come down due to gravity.

all sprinklers do is take unknown pressure of water, scatter it across a non-uniform yard with varying sunlight and exposure requirements in hopes that grass will be watered in a manner that it grows evenly. oh. lets not forget the digiital programmers, 120 voltage, valve interfaces, building codes, drainage issues, money collection, blow outs, and the ever so simple hydraulic calculations of not over loading a non uniform pipe with variable angles.

anyone can do it.
Gee, I'm glad I had a good day for a change (almost 30 degrees cooler and it rained). Sounds like not everybody else did :)
 

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sorry. my bad. it comes through, doesn't it.

2 flat tires, one on the big mower, one on teh skidsteer. both PITA cuz you can't easily load on a trailer, and no spares.

one water main leak that turned into turning water off to teh entire mobile home park, and while digging it up, they cut the phone line to the park that wasn't sposed to be on that side of the street. all on my nickle probly.

employees. need i say more????

borrowed trencher that wouldn't run. 3 custoemrs that now want their sprinkler systems done tomorrow. 4 customers who informed. me how to water their hydroseed i applied, and now want warrantee work.

skid steer then ran out of fuel.

oh, and i gave 3 quotes and spread 10k new feet of hydroseed.

:help:
 

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bicmudpuppy said:
.... My intent was to ask the simple question that in hind sight, was it worth it? ....
Let's see. I saved at least a couple thousand, by your estimation, I think it was likely quite a bit more. The system is designed exactly as I interpret the guidelines suggested by all the manufacturers. The compromises and tweaks to make the rectangular rules fit my elliptical reality are mine and mine alone, I didn't have to listen to anyone else explain why they decided to do something a certain way. My friends, neighbors and family are in awe of my project. I have two features that a professional would have scratched their head at and argued with me over that turned out just the way I wanted them. And, I sweated off five pounds without going to a gym. Yeah, it was worth it.

I wrote a little paragraph to drmiller about his comparison to rocket science and dentistry, but since he had such a bad day yesterday, I'll skip it.
 

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I think one of the more basic questions, in my opinion, is how is one to learn the installation process of an irrigation system? I would think that doing an installation on your own home is a valid start. Unless I am mistaken, there is no certification for installation of an irrigation sytem. ICPI does certification for paver installation. At least it is a start. And from my reading of the posts, most guys then go and do their own homes or homes of relatives before they branch out to do paver jobs for clients.

So gentlemen, those of you who own your own irrigation business, how did you learn it and get your start? Please share.
Mark
 

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I've been reading all the posts and replies and wanted to add my 2 cents. I recently finished a large sprinkler project (10 zones, drip irrigation, 50 spray heads, 20 rotors). It was my DIY project for the summer. I spent months reading websites and books to get familiar with what it took to install on of these monsters. I had a professional design it and give me a parts list. I took that parts list, did my own parts research and purchased everything online or from retailers in my area. That was the easy part. After a week of vacation, every free moment, and a near trip to the emergency room it was finished. I've had my lawn now for almost 4 weeks and I'm really enjoying the sprinklers. I probably need my head examined for saying this, but I would most likely do it again if given the opportunity. In Wisconsin, a sprinkler system is a luxury, but I see all my neighbors carting around their hoses and sprinklers and I'm glad I did it. I give alot of credit to the pro's out there, I wouldn't want this job. I do take alot of pride in my house and my new lawn and that's probably why I did it myself. By the way, it cost me about $2500 in parts and tools (not to mention the time).
 

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jeffinsgf said:
Due to the nature of my "day job", I have a lot of time in the summer. This wasn't my annual vacation and I needed some more projects to justify the purchase of my new tractor and backhoe. :rolleyes:

"...Value their own time more..." -- that sort of sounds like you value your time less. I am not trying to start an argument.
"Value their own time more..."

I've lived in KS and have seen the types of people whom live in Johnson County (KC). Believe him when he says they value their own time more! In fact, they value anything of theirs more!

It's the same here in my part of Wyoming. Millionaires a few times over are moving in telling us how to manage our land and natural resources. Then as they write out a check to me for replacing a few heads, etc., they proceed to tell me how they could have done it but just don't have the time. Or their knee/back has been acting up.

Then they tell me to watch it as I back out of their 125' heated driveway (so they don't have to remove snow), which leads to their 5500 sq ft home with the mountain views, because their Beemer is sitting in the driveway. Why is it in the driveway??? Because someone from town is coming out to wash and detail it. :rolleyes:

Yeah, some people do "value their time more".

~!
 

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jeffinsgf said:
Just to reassure you guys, I just finished my own system. It is just about 3/4 an acre with 8 zones/36 Hunter PGP rotor heads, a drip zone for a flowering ground cover bed, a zone of HP Rotators for a shrubbery/flower bed, and a remote garden hose connection that I will use for starting perennial beds at the far end of the yard. I was about 2 weeks from excavation to the last hand rake out. The actual system build took just about a week, and another to backfill, rake and reseed. I did my own design, because RainBird, Hunter and Toro all tell you in their stuff what they're going to do. Once you have the drawing of the yard done, the hardest design work is over. I followed the rules of head to head design and stayed very conservative on number of heads per zone based on my pressure and flow. The only consideration that I didn't look at first was that the precipitation rate of of fractional arc rotors is higher than full rotation rotors. Given the precip rate of a full rotation, you need to double it for 180 degree rotors and quadruple them for 90 degree rotors.

While the predominant opinion on this forum is that you should hire a pro, you can build a professional system if you do a lot of research, read everything there is to find on the internet, do an accurate drawing of your yard, carefully and realistically measure your water pressure and flow, do some math and then sit down with a compass. If you don't have the patience for that and don't have a couple of weeks to devote nearly full time to the project, then follow the advise of others and hire an irrigation contractor.
All of that is fine to say as Joe Homeowner, but let me ask you a question.
In my humble opinion, it is the all important question.
What is your time off worth, to you???? That is what would it cost your boss to employ you on your days off or for your boss to make you work an extra 20-30 hours a week to fininsh this project.

I consider my off time, time spent doing things I like(i.e. spending time with family and hobbies), worth at least $100 an hour.

Following thAt logic if you take a couple of weeks full time for the project, then you have devoted 80-100 hrs at this your first irrigation project. Multiply that by $100 an hour and you see that quickly you have outbid yourself to the Professional installer. I wish you luck and hope someone competent comes out to repair the system when it fails. NOT IF it fails.
 
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