3 out of 5ModerateRequires quite a bit of digging
$3 to $5 per square foot
4 to 6 hours
In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner install a water-saving drip-irrigation system.
- Use flat-blade shovels to remove the gravel from the yard and form shallow trenches. Don’t cut through the black plastic below.
- Excavate trenches from the existing main water line across the yard and around every shrub and tree.
- Connect an electric solenoid valve to each zone of the main water line.
- Attach a pipe with backflow preventer to each solenoid.
- Add another length of pipe and then install a pressure-reducing valve.
- Open the valve to flush out dirt and debris from the main water line.
- If necessary, dig below the sidewalk and push a length of 1½-inch-diameter PVC pipe underneath the sidewalk.
- Feed the main feeder line from the valves through the PVC pipe and along the trenches.
- Hold the tubing in place with metal staples spaced 24 inches apart. Use a small sledgehammer to tap in the long staples.
- Use a utility knife to cut through the main feeder line.
- Push a three-way barbed T-fitting into the cut end of the feeder line. Secure the line with a metal crimp clamp.
- Attach the other end of the feeder line to the opposite side of the three-way fitting.
- Onto the final barbed end of the three-way fitting, connect a feeder line that extends out to the nearest tree or shrub.
- Trim the end of the feeder line to length, then push on a 90-degree elbow. Secure the elbow with a crimp clamp.
- Onto the elbow connect a length of flexible drip-irrigation tubing.
- Lay the tubing into the trench around each tree and shrub.
- Secure the tubing with staples spaced 24 inches apart.
- For larger trees, install two irrigation lines.
- Run a feeder line alongside the sidewalk, then add drip-irrigation lines to water each nearby shrub.
- Punch the emitter into the ½-inch-diameter feeder line, then attach one ¼-inch-diameter drip-irrigation line for each shrub.
- Install an electronic smart controller in the garage and program it for optimum water usage.
- On the house roof, install a sensor that detects air temperature and rainfall. The sensor will determine when to turn the sprinkler system on and off.
- Backfill the trenches with gravel.
- Blow out the sprinkler system with air, then turn on the water.