Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Spring… Time to think lawn sprinklers!

Now that sunny days are at hand, the grass is growing, and oh, boy, is our lawn ever a mess. We stepped outside this week and put a critical eye towards our landscape. Just three days earlier, our lawn was a soupy mess from the rain. Now, our hard clay soil has developed more cracks than the dried up California delta. The spouse and I looked at the soil cracks, then at each other – he had a new bag of grass seed in hand. He’s hoping to patch in the back yard and overcome the worn paths that have developed from dogs, kids, and hauling the garbage cans out to the curb each week. I would just like a decent lawn.

We’ve come to the conclusion that if we are ever to sprout that grass seed and reclaim our backyard, we have two options: set up the sprinklers and the hose or install an in-ground sprinkler system. We’ve voted for the in-ground system (because we’ve been dragging that hose around the yard for decades and frankly, we’re tired of it).

Sprinkler System Design
After just 2 minutes Googling “lawn sprinkler systems”, we were overwhelmed. The “Introduction to Irrigation Design” tutorial on http://www.irrigationtutorials.com is informative – it’s clear that installing a system is more than us two working stiffs can manage. But, the site’s tips are helpful in understanding the scope of the project. Key points:

• Measure the yard, accurately.
• Water pressure/gallons-per-minute is important
• Select the sprinkler equipment (meters, backflow preventer, valves, sprinkler heads, and more)
• Determine where the sprinkler heads will be placed.
• Bells and whistles include automation and freeze protection.

Are Sprinkler Systems a DIY Job?
For us, the answer is decidedly “no.” We don’t have the equipment, backflow prevention knowledge, time or energy to install a sprinkler system. But, we want one and are convinced it’s a better way to improve our landscaping and also manage our outdoor water usage. We plan to remain in our home for another 15-20 years and believe in-ground sprinklers to be a good investment. We need professional assistance on this one.