Lawn irrigation questions

   / Lawn irrigation questions #1  


Super Member
Oct 16, 2010
By the lake in NH & FL
2011 MF 2410 TLB
My one year old lawn/home is browning up already due to the unusually hot weather here in the northeast and although we're not looking for a lush green lawn, I'd like a lawn not completely dead so I'm ck'ing out adding sprinklers.

I've previously done two systems so I'm fairly confident of what I want but through my wife's insistence I called two places for estimates. I told them both I wanted to be here so I could make sure they cover the areas correctly ie: lawn, flower beds and possible small garden. The first guy shows up today while I'm gone and my wife tells him blah blah and he could care less. I don't need him and I'll be outta here in 2 minutes. He asked her the gpm on our well and before she gets my text he's gone.

The second guy was just called Friday so I'll give him a few days.

1. I used black poly here in the northeast on my past homes. Still used? Pex? Blue poly?

2. How many heads for sod at 12.5 gpm?

3. I have approx 5k sf of lawn, many perennial and annual areas against house and in berm. 100sf of raised garden.

4. Orbit, Toro or Rainbird? Are the WiFi control units reliable?

5. How do you recommend blowing out for winter with compressor in detached garage 150' away? Outside air hose connection?

I'm unsure I want to tackle this but waiting for quotes.
   / Lawn irrigation questions #2  
I added a air hose quick connect and metal shut off valve in the underground valve box closest to my shop compressor. 50 feet of hose reaches it just fine. I kept compressor running at 50 psi and manually open each valve. Easy peasy.

As far as heads per unit pressure, every manufacturer had brochures and charts covering every head they sell. Every type of head has different values.

I personally shied away from wifi everything of mine thats wifi compatibles has always turned into a nightmare. My new LG washer snd dryer wifi are now giving me fits.

As far as whats best manufacturer.... your guess is as good as mine. I ran black poly pipe on my system 12 years aho. Have had no issues. I used sch 40 pvc for all piping before the valves and after the vacuum breaker/backflow unit. I buried my backflow 4 feet underground in concrete vault with removable lid. This is where winter shutoff and drain is also located. I live in N Idaho...
Cant be too carefull of frost line.

i installed my own system....not hard but i wish i hired it out. I was too cheap and bids were ridiculously high. I did it for about 1/4 the bid cost.

i have 33 zones......
   / Lawn irrigation questions
  • Thread Starter
In the past I've generally but 4-6 heads on each zone but that was only 8 and 6gpm.

I'd like to find a quicker hose than black poly that I used barbed connectors and pipe clamps.

Id also rent a ditch witch. I'd dig in Florida but up here the ground is much bonier.
   / Lawn irrigation questions #4  
If you have an idea what you want and don't mind taking the time to commit it to paper Rainbird will design your system: Homeowners | Rain Bird
I don't use black poly pipe, my system is PVC plastic, either 3/4" or 1". It doesn't matter what your pump will put out, the flow is limited by the diameter of the pipe. Of course more sprinklers on a circuit means more gallons per minute are required. I blow my lines in the fall, usually two or three times per circuit. I turn on each circuit manually.
   / Lawn irrigation questions #5  
You will need to determine how much gpm you have available and at what pressure. Then look at Rainbird or Hunter, or Toro's website to determine which heads you can use and how many you can put per zone.

If you have 8 gpm available, you can put 4 heads that put out 2 gpm per zone.

Rainbird and Hunter will design a system for you on their websites.

Keep in mind that the best systems will have 100% head to head coverage. That doesn't always work out, especially with odd shaped areas.
   / Lawn irrigation questions
  • Thread Starter
I think I will do the Rainbird plan.
The pvc is so unforgiving and not use in cold climates, I thought
I'm 12.5 gpm.
   / Lawn irrigation questions #8  
One more thing. If all else fails, check out adding Hydretain (sp?) to your lawn. I had thousands of feet of lawn back when I owned a residence in California. With drought restrictions you could *not* put enough water to keep it green. But hydretain (sp?) introduces a chemical compound process that causes the lawn to use dew for moisture, and better uses the water you do put on it. It made a huge difference on my lawn ... back before I fled (mostly) from California.
   / Lawn irrigation questions #9  
And just for a point of reference, we installed 2 lawn irrigation systems in the past 2 weeks. One lawn was about $4300 and had about 40 heads. The other lawn was $2850 and had about 22 heads.

Around here, a good estimate would be about $100 or so per head.

We are in a much warmer climate, so we never have a need to 'winterize' our systems. No need to blow them out in the fall.
   / Lawn irrigation questions #10  
Lawn will just go dormant. Just water your flower beds and other stuff with soaker hoses. 12.5 gpm is A LOT of water! Our well only puts out shy of 2 gpm.