If you’re considering installing an irrigation system, there can be many things to consider. From wondering what the installation process is like, how much maintenance they will require, to even what the flat-out benefits are, these questions tend to float around homeowner’s heads.
Irrigation systems are an investment, to say the least. But their initial cost is justified when homeowners see their lush, thriving lawn and savings in their water bills. In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide on what you need to know about irrigation system installation.
What Are the Benefits of Installing an Irrigation System?
Automated irrigation systems have many advantages for both you and your lawn. The allure of not having to worry about watering your yard and the freedom of lawn maintenance captures many people’s attention. Some advantages of installing an underground irrigation system include the following.
Freedom From Manual Labour
One of the primary benefits of installing an automated irrigation system is that you are no longer required to do the watering. This helps reduce your likelihood of over-watering or under-watering your lawn. Irrigation systems boast the perfect set-and-forget solution for many homeowners.
The maintenance of irrigation systems is on the more minimal side. The most labour-intensive part of the process would be the installation itself, but that is if you choose to do it yourself. Irrigation system maintenance can be broken down into three components: activation, winterization, and regular maintenance. At Naiad Irrigation System, we offer monthly and annual memberships to ensure your irrigation system is effectively maintained throughout the year.
Improved and Enhanced Lawn Health
One of the main issues with manually watering your lawn with a hose is that it can allow too much water to seep into the soil, resulting in soil nutrients leeching out with the water that runs off. This leads to a lawn that can struggle with productivity and affects the life cycle of your lawn. Underground irrigation systems are also designed to ensure that your whole lawn receives the proper amount of water. The irrigation layout plan accounts for hard-to-reach areas, large structures, slopes, and more.
Another issue that arises with manual watering is that excess water can compact your soil. When your soil becomes compacted, your lawn will receive less air, show signs of root disease, and start to wither. The best solution to avoid this is to use a drip irrigation system. Since this irrigation system delivers water in small droplets, it helps preserve the nutrients and reduce soil compaction.
Prevents Weeds and Diseases
An underground irrigation system delivers water directly to the roots of your lawn instead of watering the entire plot. The benefit of this is that surrounding weeds don’t receive the water they need to survive, which means less weeding and pruning for you.
Additionally, irrigation systems can help prevent plant diseases like leaf disease, plant suffocation, and root disease. A surplus of standing water instigates the majority of these plant issues. When designed and installed by a professional, your irrigation system will have considerations in your layout plan that are often overlooked by novices. A good irrigation system will ensure that water flows in a distributed circulation that allows for proper soil absorption, leading to a beautiful and lavish lawn.
Saves You Money And Conserves Water
Contrary to popular belief, underground sprinkler systems actually conserve water. Because these systems are designed and calibrated only to deliver a specific amount of water, this cuts down on wasted water and will also reflect on your utility bill. This becomes especially beneficial in summer when lawns require more frequent watering.
Automated systems allow you to create or follow a run schedule depending on the season. With Naiad Irrigation Systems, we can help you capitalize on your savings by installing smart Wi-Fi timers, flow, and rain sensors. Using Wi-Fi controllers allows you to water only when the lawn needs it.
How Are Irrigation Systems Installed?
Irrigation systems are complex frameworks that need meticulous and technical planning. Although it is possible to DIY your irrigation system installation, many working components need to be researched, designed, and planned carefully. In this section, we’ll be giving a simplified but still in-depth explanation of the installation process.
Planning and Preparation for Installation
Before jumping onto your lawn and digging it up or heading to the home improvement store and trying to pick out sprinkler heads, the first and most crucial part of irrigation system installation is planning and prepping.
Prior to buying parts for your irrigation system, you’ll need to:
- See if your city requires a building permit
- Check for underground utilities before digging
- Comply with Calgary’s watering bylaws and ordinances
In Calgary, it is not required to have a building permit to install an irrigation system, but there are some local ordinances around having a cross connection. Once this step is complete, the next consideration would be to find out the specifics of your home. This includes:
- Water pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI)
- Water service line size
- The flow rate of water in gallons per minute (GPM)
- The type of backflow prevention required by local code
Map Out the Area for the Irrigation System
Once the preliminary research is done, the following process will be constructing the irrigation system’s layout plan. Since most yards can have a mix of elements incorporated into their design, this also needs to be factored into the irrigation layout.
Yard elements that you need to mark and consider include:
- Fences and other installed features
- Flower beds or mulched areas
- Areas of sun and shade
Because of these elements, you’ll most likely have to create more than one watering zone. The number of zones will depend on the GPM that your system can supply. Zones are determined by the physical attributes of your landscape and the capacity of your water supply.
It’s essential to clearly mark all landscape features so that your irrigation system will provide complete coverage for the areas that need water. Things like slopes in your yard can change the water pressure, affecting the amount of water your system can deliver.
Plan Your Coverage
One of the main reasons people install underground sprinkler systems is to have even coverage on their lawns. Even coverage equates to thick, thriving grass. In turn, this means ensuring your system has 100% coverage. This is generally achieved through overlapping the spray pattern.
Each sprinkler head is designed for a specific watering need. Choosing the most suitable one for your lawn will be imperative to make sure you don’t waste water on inorganic objects like your driveway, sidewalk, or house.
The number of zones, sprinkler head size, and style will all hinge on the location of physical elements on your lawn. Large areas, corners, and areas potentially under shrubs will all need different types.
Decide What Pipe To Use
Usually, two pipes are used with irrigation systems: PVC pipe and Polyethylene. When working with these pipes, it’s important to remember that expertise is essential for a functional outcome. Small things like what you cut the pipe with, whether a hand saw (which isn’t recommended) or a pipe fitter (this one is recommended), can make a big difference. For example, a pipe puller is great for installing polyethylene pipes but can be difficult for people to operate and is often recommended to be left to the professionals.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe): This is the most common irrigation pipe material. It is more rigid than polyethylene but less suitable for colder climates. The connections for PVC are made with adhesive.
Polyethylene: This is a more flexible pipe, so it is often used in colder climates since it can expand to the freezing cycles. Polyethylene comes in a roll, utilizes insert fittings and crimp clamps on the connections.
Dig Out The Trenches for Your Irrigation Plan
Now that the design is complete, you will be ready for the irrigation system installation. The first part of this multi-step process is to lay out the location of the lines with stakes and string. Other markers or sticks will be used to identify where the sprinkler heads will go.
The trenches that need to be dug are relatively shallow, usually around 6 to 12 inches deep, but this depends on your lawn’s freeze cycles and frost severity. Trenches need to be level as well. If some heads are deeper than others, gravity will reduce their efficiency. Additionally, they also need to retract far enough so they don’t become a hazard on the lawn.
Assemble the Sprinkler System
Assembly is simple once all the planning is finished. It’s best to lay the pieces beside the trenches, assemble all the components, and then put them into the trench. Experts recommend starting at the manifold and outward when connecting the components.
At this point in the process, you would be cutting and installing the pipes in their respective zones, connecting the sprinkler heads, connecting the system to the service line, and, last but not least, setting up the control values and timers.
Is Professional Irrigation System Installation or DIY Better?
Irrigation system installations require a monumental amount of time, labour, and planning. Many elements require an in-depth understanding of technical aspects, whether that’s best addressing the slope of your lawn or identifying which sprinkler patterns would yield the most efficient irrigation pattern. It takes years of experience to execute irrigation systems properly.
Due to the nature of the work and specialized knowledge, it’s best to leave it to a professional Certified Irrigation Designer (CID). These professionals will be able to ascertain all the necessary information about your home, assess your lawn and all its physical elements, help you get the best coverage, and, most importantly, install your irrigation system to have the best function.
Quality Irrigation System Installation You Can Trust
At Naiad Irrigation Systems, we provide top-quality irrigation system installation and services from Irrigation Association-certified professionals. We have over two decades of experience installing and servicing residential and commercial irrigation systems in Calgary.
Contact one of our professional irrigation designers to help you achieve the lush lawn of your dreams with the convenience of not having to worry about watering it.