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Step by step irrigation installation 4



It is now time to connect your sprinkler system to the main water line. Double check to ensure you have secured all permits In addition, have the local utilities mark all the buried lines and pipes before you start digging. Usually it is a matter of tapping into the ¾ inch water line just beyond the meter and upsizing to a 1 inch pipe for the sprinkler system.Use flags to indicate sprinkler locations according to your design. Also, mark the location of your drip system risers even if you plan to install the actual drip system at a later date, you can install your drip risers with the rest of your system Use line-marking spray paint to mark where you’ll trench for pipes and wiring. Check your worksheet to make sure you mark the lines accurately. You will be digging your trenches along these lines.

By cutting into your service line and slipping on a compression tee, you can connect your sprinkler system to the water supply without soldering. In some instances, you can avoid cutting the main line by attaching your system to the outside faucet connection (see diagram and note). PVC pipe may be substituted for copper in non-freezing areas.

Whether a PVB is used or not, we recommend installing a shut-off valve between the zone valves and the service line. This will allow you to easily turn off the water to your irrigation system if you need to make repairs or replace parts. Check local codes for the type of shut-off valve recommended.

NOTE:  Pipes should be buried at least 6 inches under the ground.

** To activate the flow of water, click the "blue" water button on the top right of the image.


  1. Shut off your water supply at the meter
    (check with your water department first).
  2. Dig to expose the service line.
  3. Tie into the service line, between
    the water meter and the house.
  4. Remove a section of pipe, leaving a gap
    large enough to slide on a compression tee.
  5. Slip the tee over each end of the pipe.
  6. Tighten the compression nuts. The rubber gasket will compress against the pipe, creating a seal to prevent leakage.
  7. Install a short nipple, using PTFE tape on all threaded connections to the tee.
  8. Attach a shut-off valve, in a small enclosure, to this section of pipe. The shut-off valve allows you to turn off the system by hand, if necessary.
  9. keep this connection as clean as possible.
    This is your tap water supply.

** To activate the flow of water, click the "blue" water button on the top right of the image.


  1. Shut off your water supply at the meter
    (check with your water utility).
  2. Install an appropriate tee into the service line for the irrigation connection.
  3. Drill a hole through the sill above the foundation, or chisel a hole in the basement wall for the irrigation line to run through. Make it no bigger than needed for a 1” pipe.
  4. Install the connection fittings, as shown. A full-flow ball valve is a good choice for the irrigation shut-off so that you can service your system without having to shut down the entire household's water supply.
  5. A reduced pressure backflow preventer, designed for below-grade, should be connected next along the pipe, followed by a drain valve. For the drain valve, use a gate-type valve. The drain valve should be as low as possible to allow complete system drainage.
  6. Finally, seal the hole in the sill or foundation with caulking compound.

** To activate the flow of water, click the "blue" water button on the top of the image.

The main irrigation line is the pipe that runs from your service line to your valve manifolds. The lateral lines are the lines that run from the valve manifolds to the sprinkler heads. To get the pipe into the ground, you have the choice of digging trenches or pulling the pipe. Digging can be done by hand or with a trencher, such as a DitchWich. Both of these methods will allow you to install the pipe and then the low-voltage cable wire. Your trench will need to be 6 to 10 inches deep. Make the main trench first, then add the branch lines. Although it will require more work up front, a deeper hole will make the job easier by providing more room to work with your fittings.


To soften the soil, water the ground approximately two days before you dig Dig trenches 8” to 12” inches deep. Put sod on one side of the trench and soil on the other.

Before digging any trenches, you must have all underground utilities marked to avoid any damage. Call your local underground locator service or the city for information.

Trenching machines are an easier, faster alternative to digging with a shovel. They can be rented by the hour, day or week, usually from a lawn supply store or rental equipment dealer. The person you rent from can show you how to operate the machine properly and safely. Trenchers should not be used to dig through ground cover, flower beds, on steep slopes or near buildings. Be sure to verify all underground utilities before trenching. In colder climates a vibratory plow is used for pulling pipe.


A major advantage of using a pipe puller is less disturbence to your existing lawn.  With this method, you will need to install the cable wire along with the pipe as you run the main feed line. Wrap the wire around the pipe, attach the pipe to the blade of the machine, and lower the blade into the ground as you begin to start to move forward. Although this may sound complicated, trenchers and pipe pullers are available at local rental centers and their staff can help answer questions about how to operate the machines.

Usually, your yard will contain a few items other than the lawn grass you are trying to keep lush and green.  These might include driveways and sidewalks, which at first glance might appear impossible to overcome.  Since pipe must go under these obstacles, you will need to find a way to dig a trench without removing the hard surface. The most efficient and cost effective way to bore under an obstacle is to create a hole using the power of water. Simply attach a jet nozzle to one end of a piece of PVC pipe and a garden hose to the other end with the necessary fittings. The force of the water will create a hole the same exact size as your pvc pipe-through to the other side. Large or small areas can be excavated by adjusting the length of pvc pipe. The tool can be reused again and again by adding a coupler to the pvc pipe.

Click on one of the kits below to purchase all of the components needed to make a rugged boring tool... conveniently packaged for either a 3/4" or 1" pvc pipe.

SW- BOR-075
for 3/4" pvc pipe
SW- BOR-100
for 1" pvc pipe

The components needed to bore under an obstacle:

  • Brass 2 inch sweeper nozzle (1 qty)
  • PVC male hose end adapter fitting (2 qty)
  • Brass 3/4 inch female hose to 3/4 inch female pipe swivel (1 qty)
  • Brass 3/4" male hose to 3/4" female pipe(1 qty)
  • PVC glue
  • Garden hose

First dig your trenches on either side of the walk to the depth of the rest of your sprinkler system (usually about 6-12 inches minimum). Now using a PVC pipe cutter, cut the piece of schedule 40 PVC pipe about two to four feet longer than the width of your sidewalk or driveway. Following the directions on the can of PVC glue and glue the male adapters on opposite ends of the pvc pipe. Click here for more information on how to use pvc glue. Next, attach the brass 3/4" female hose to 3/4" female pipe swivel to one of the pvc male adapters. Then attach the brass 3/4" male hose to 3/4" pipe fitting to the other pvc male adapter on the opposite side. Connect your garden hose to female pipe swivel adapter. Connect the male hose/female pipe adapter to your 2 inch sweeper nozzle. Your boring tool is now assembled and ready to go.


Turn on the water. Grab hold of the pipe (fitting the pipe into the trench may intitially require some flexing). Keep the pipe level with the bottom of the trench and jab the boring tool into the soil. The dirt will appear to plug the end of the nozzle, just leave the nozzle in place for 15 to 30 seconds to allow the water to loosen the soil. Pull back the pipe 6 inches to a foot and thrust it into the soil again. Keep repeating this pattern until you have completely bored under your driveway/walkway.

Once the pipe has made it through to the other side you can shut off the water and cut the hose end fittings from both ends of the pipe. Your pvc pipe tool now becomes your irrigation pipe. Attach your fittings to the pipe and continue to assemble your irrigation pipe. Some people prefer a variation of this method and use a larger pvc pie to bore the hole once they have bored through to the other side, they push the actual pipe being used into and through the boring pipe to the other side of the path or driveway. The boring tool then acts like a sleeve. Then the larger "boring" pipe also can be used to hold irrigation or lighting wire. This method allows you to bore just one hole for multiple purposes.

NOTE: Soil that is too hard or rocky may require tunneling either by hand or with a machine that can bore a hole under the sidewalk. You can also contact an irrigation or landscape contractor to do the job, for a list of contractors in your area click here.

Other useful devices to bore under a sidewalk include:

For example, one of the best devices to have if you have a job that requires excavation under a pathway is to use the Sidewalk Sleever. Just follow the simple steps below to see how quick and easy your job could be using this tool.

Click here for more info on the Sidewalk Sleever.

Place a piece of pipe next to the Sidewalk Sleever with one end touching the “pipe stop” and mark; with your finger; where the pipe just meets the tapered end. Then cut the pipe at that point. If the pipe is past the tapered end this will allow dirt to enter the pipe during installation.

Take the cut pipe (sleeve) and slide it on the Sidewalk Sleever. It is important that the Sidewalk Sleever is clean. Dirt on the tool will make extracting the tool difficult.

Place the Sidewalk Sleever just under the concrete and tap in a few inches. This will allow the tool to hold itself off the ground making it easier to install and also easier to remove the tool after installation.

While straddling the trench; use a 16 pound sledge hammer to impact the Sidewalk Sleever under the sidewalk. Continue impacting the tool until the tapered end appears at the other end.

Once the tool and pipe are visible at the other end; simply grab the impacted end of the tool and remove from the installed pipe. If necessary; tap the pointed end of the tool with the hammer to help the sidewalk sleever slide out of the pipe.

You are now done!!

"Great idea, I have been in the irrigation industry for 15 years. I could have used this at every job."


~San Carlos, CA


Although soil conditions and experience can determine the speed of the installation; in the example here; the pipe was installed in under 60 seconds. Once the pipe is installed; you can glue on to the pipe and continue running pipe; place a smaller size pipe through the installed pipe or you can use the installed pipe as a sleeve for wires. If more sleeves are needed; just simply repeat the steps and install as many pipes as needed.


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