To have a beautiful garden, regular watering is necessary. During the hot season, if you want to do without the chore of watering, install an automatic watering system in your garden. Thanks to this solution, you will avoid wasting water and thus save money. Your lawn and your flowers will always be brightly colored.
Preliminary steps before installing an automatic watering system
Before any operation, you must first choose water source that you will use for your automatic watering. It can be running water, rainwater or groundwater. So, make a plan of your installation taking into account the parts of the garden where the flowers and plants are located that require more or less water, and finding the best places to install the water pipes. It is also important calculate water supply flow rate and water pressure for effective watering and to prevent the garden and plants from getting too flooded.
Before starting the installation
Before investing the first efforts in this project, it is important to find out about your municipality to find out:
- whether any municipal by-laws or laws govern the installation of sprinkler systems;
- what type of backflow protection is recommended;
- and if the installation must be done by a professional.
Mark the location of the irrigation system.
- 1.1 – Mark sprinkler heads with flags or wooden stakes.
- 1.2 – Paint the location of the sprinkler lines.
- 1.3 – Verify that system piping does not encroach on service facilities.
- 1.4 – Clearly identify each area.
Install the check valve
- 2.1 – Locate the main water supply line. If it’s in the ground, dig to expose it. Some water supply lines are in the basement.
- 2.2 – Turn off the water at the main entrance. The tap is usually near the meter.
- 23 – In the house, release the water pressure in the pipes by opening one or more faucets until there is no more water.
- 2.4 – Choose a location downstream of the meter where to make the new connection for the irrigation system. Clean the outside of the pipe before cutting it.
- 2.5- Insert a tee fitting into the main water supply line. The T-piece can be PVC or copper. If the main power line is copper, a copper fitting will need to be soldered to it.
- 2.6 – Glue a 90o PVC elbow to a male PVC adapter.
- 2.7- Screw the adapter into the tee fitting that has been installed on the main water supply line.
- 2.8- Install the check valve according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- 2.9- Dig a trench from the main water line to the location of the faucet box and install the PVC conduit.
Some municipalities require you to hire a professional to ensure that the installation meets local code requirements and the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Install housing and valves
Irrigation valves are essential for the whole system to work perfectly.
- 3.1 – Dig a cavity about 18″ deep by 2-3′ long for the valve access box. The lid of the box should be level with the ground.
- 3.2 – Put 2″ of gravel in the bottom, then put in the casing.
- 3.3 – Open the main shutoff valve to clear debris from the sprinkler system main line.
- 3.4 – Install a shut-off valve to shut off the water supply to the irrigation system and a drain valve to flush the lines in the fall.
- 3.5- Connect the main water supply line to the pre-assembled valve. The diameter of the PVC pipe should be one size larger than the main pipe.
- 3.6 – Attach a 1″ hose to each faucet and run to each of the designated areas.
- 3.7- Dig a trench of the casing at the location of the timer. Lay the 24 volt underground cable in the trench.
Assemble the pipes
- Assemble the PVC pipes:
- 4.1 – Apply PTFE (Teflon) tape to the threaded (male) ends of each pipe.
- Clamp the PVC pipes:
- 4.1 – Clean the end of the tube and the inside wall of the coupling collar.
- 4.2 – Apply a PVC primer to the finish, inside and out.
- 4.3- Then spread the PVC glue where the primer was applied. The combined effect of primer and glue bonds the PVC parts together.
- 4.4 – Insert the end of the hose into the fitting with a twisting motion and hold the assembly in place for at least 30 seconds.
- 4.5- Wipe off any excess solvent.
- 4.6 – Allow the pipe to dry for at least 15 minutes before running water through it.
- Assemble the polypropylene tubes:
- 4.1 – Slide the stainless steel clamp rings over the ends of the pipes to be joined.
- 4.2 – Join the pipes.
- 4.3- Tighten the adjustable rings.
Install the pipes
- 5.1 – Dig the trenches following the lines painted on the ground: 12″ deep for the head tube and 6″ for the side tubes.
- 5.2 – Lay the PVC pipes so that they cover all areas.
- 5.3 – Use fittings to join the pipes.
- 5.4 – Install the tees and elbows where the sprinklers will be.
- 5.5- Install caps at the ends of the header and side lines.
Place the soil collected during digging on a tarp so that it can be easily put back into the pipes.
Install sprinkler heads
- 6.1 – Install the extension pipes where the sprinkler heads will be.
- 6.2 – Attach each sprinkler head to its extension tube.
- 6.3 – Adjust the height of each sprinkler to match the surrounding soil.
- 6.4 – Fill enough soil to temporarily hold the sprinkler heads in place.
- 6.5 – Open the main tap to test the system.
- 6.6 – Open the faucets by hand, one at a time, to make sure there are no leaks.
- 6.7 – Make sure the sprinkler heads are wide enough and overlap.
- 6.8 – Close the main tap.
- 7.1 – Turn off the electricity before making any connections.
- 7.2 – Set the timer on the outside wall of the house.
- 7.3 – Strip the ends of the 24 volt wires going from the zone outlets to the controller.
- 7.4 – Connect one wire from each faucet to the white (neutral) wire from the sprinkler head.
- 7.5 – Connect the second wire from the taps to a separate colored wire.
- 7.6 – Before connecting the timer to the irrigation system, disconnect it from the power supply.
- 7.7- Connect each colored wire from the sprinkler to a different numbered terminal on the timer.
- 7.8 – Connect the white wire (neutral) to the neutral terminal of the timer.
- 7.9- Reconnect the timer.
- 7.10 – Test the wiring by manually operating each zone from the timer.
- 7.11 – Set the timer and test to make sure each zone and all sprinklers are working properly.
Bury pipes and taps
- 8.1- Check for leaks in fittings, heads or valves.
- 8.2- Set all sprinkler heads to manufacturer’s recommended level. As a general rule, each sprinkler head should not rise more than 1″ off the ground.
- 8.3- Adjust spray pattern and distance for each sprinkler head.
- 8.4- Cover the conduits with the earth recovered during the digging of the trenches and sow grass or replace the grass clods.
- 8.5- Protect faucets with weatherproof enclosures.