Irrigation Selection Guide
PREPARE THE DUE DILIGENCE FOR AN OPTIMAL IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Determine the factors of your property that will help identify the best irrigation package for your landscape requirements. If you are selecting a package for a landscape company to install, understanding these few steps will ensure the most informative plan of action with your DIY project. Gather the information from below and keep it in a safe place, ideally stored with the control box.
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Identify the 4 elements of your property
Grab your pen and paper, and drought down your notes. Follow the example below
EXAMPLE: When choosing the right irrigation package, determine the square footage of yard first, then select pipe size (3/4" or 1") and finally, one or more garden zone or none at all.
Make your chart!
The packages are based on yard sizes first.
Draw a graph:
Use a scale of 1 square = 1 foot, or 1 square = 5 feet if needed. See picture above
Compute the square footage of your yard by using the formula below. For simplicity, the shape of your yard is rectangle, multiply the length by the width.
If your yard is 10 feet by 15 feet, you would multiply 10 x 15 to get 150 square feet.
Standard water meter sizes are: 5/8″, 3/4″, 1″, 1-1/2″. The supply pipe could be: steel, brass, copper, pex, or pvc.
Dedicated irrigation line: connect an isolated 3/4" or 1" irrigation line from the meter to the outside of the house; install with faucet or straight pipe and down into manifold.
Using the outside tap: is not recommended, but it's not out of the question. If you have zero access to the meter inside the house, there will be less psi and gpm to operate the sprinkler system from the faucet outside. Eliminate one to two sprinklers from each zone for best performance.
The formula for determining the gallons per minute is calculated by how many seconds it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket, then multiply by 60 seconds for the flow rate.
At the outside faucet, use your bucket and turn the tap on full blast; follow the 2-step example below:
STEP 1: 5 ÷ 20 = 0.25
gal pail seconds rate
STEP 2: 0.25 x 60 = 15
rate seconds GPM
15GPM would be the gallons per minute. This is the max gallons of water that can push through all the sprinklers on one zone.
To determine the water pressure at your property lot use a pressure gauge at the outside faucet.
You can purchase a pressure gauge at your local hardware store. The gauge is typically a 3/4" swivel connection.
The pressure will measure anywhere between 0-120 psi. A good performance irrigation system operates greater than 50 psi.
Keep in mind, all garden drip irrigation systems are specked to run between 15psi and 30psi, for which 30psi is optimal performance.
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Understanding these indicators for an efficient irrigation system
LOT SIZE MATTERS
Drawing a sketch of your yard is not only great planning for determining the irrigation materials, it's a map for future reference.
Once you bury the distribution pipe lines, no one knows where a problem might be located. Your map is your go-to resource (a legend) and should be kept in a safe spot near or with the controller at all times.
YOUR WATER METER
The water meter line is the heart of an irrigation system. Whether you tap into it or install a dedicated line, determine the pipe size first.
The meter should be located in the mechanic room. Measure the pipe by wrapping a string around it then mark the point where the string crosses. The length between the marks gives you the pipe size. Typical water meter sizes are: 5/8", 3/4", 1", 1 1/2".