Sprinkler System

How To Design a Home Sprinkler System (7 Steps)

In Technical Details by Giovanni ValleLeave a Comment

Designing a home sprinkler system can be a complicated process. There are many variables to consider to have the most efficient and cost-effective system possible for your lawn or garden.

To design your own home sprinkler system:

  1. Measure and prepare the area for a new sprinkler system.
  2. Determine your specific water supply.
  3. Divide your property into zones.
  4. Choose your equipment.
  5. Design your system layout.
  6. Measure and determine the piping layout.
  7. Finishing and installation.

To design your own home sprinkler system, you’ll need to follow these steps. In this article, I’ll go through how to measure and prepare the area for your system, determine your water supply, and more!

1. Measure and Prepare the Area for a New Sprinkler System

To measure and prepare your lawn for a sprinkler system, you’ll need to know the size of the area to be watered.

You’ll also need to know how much water you have available for your system, where the main shutoff is located and if there are any special valves (such as an anti-siphon valve) that will require a unique design.

Start by measuring and preparing the area for your sprinkler system. Since you are designing a residential sprinkler system, measure out how much of your lawn or garden that you want to water at one time. To do this:

  • Measure out the length and width of your lawn or garden. Alternatively, you can eyeball it if you’re only planning on watering a small area instead of actually measuring it.
  • Calculate how many minutes per zone that your water supply will allow for. Remember to add time in between zones when running multiple zones at once so they don’t overlap each other, which could damage plants or lawns.
  • The sum of all these times should equal one full cycle (typically 20 minutes).

This is all-important because it will determine what size pipes you need for the mainline. Preparing your lawn for the system will also include determining the best location for your water source and installing a regulator if you have multiple zones.

Preparing your lawn should involve finding a safe place to install the water supply with an existing faucet or spigot nearby. It would help if you also considered installing a pressure regulator, which reduces fluctuations in the amount of water supplied from one zone to another, depending upon demand over time.

This can be useful when running more than one system at once since they may not all need equal amounts of water at any given moment during irrigation cycles.

2. Determine Your Specific Water Supply

Determining your water supply is the next step. Measure the distance from your home to where you want to install the system and take into account any obstacles between them, such as trees or buildings that may block water flow over time.

Keep in mind how much pressure is available at this point so you can decide what kind of pump might be required for certain zones.

Then, determine where your water supply will be coming from (a well? city/town source?). Ensure there’s enough pressure available to provide an adequate flow rate throughout the entire area being watered.

You’ll need to pick which type of watering method you want – drip or sprinkler – and make sure it matches with what kind of irrigation system works best in your yard’s soil conditions.

Perennial plants, such as trees and shrubs, require different amounts compared to annual flower beds, so take time before choosing between these two options!

Now, sit back and assess whether an automatic sprinkler head will work best based on:

  • Its watering pattern (aerial vs. stationary)
  • Coverage area (rotating heads vs. stationary heads)
  • Type of use (gardens, flower beds, etc.)

Use a manufacturer’s manual for reference materials, if needed, throughout this process which should also include helpful diagrams about installation procedures.

3. Divide Your Property Into Zones

Dividing your property into zones will help you estimate the amount of water and coverage needed to suit your needs. For instance, if a large area will only need sprinklers during certain times of day (morning before work or late evening), this would be considered one zone.

On the contrary, areas such as gardens with different irrigation requirements throughout the day could require multiple zones so take time before deciding on an option that can also include specialty-designed systems.

Next, determine some specific factors of your lawn or garden, including the size of each zone in square footage.

Consider these factors:

  • Sunlight and water: Shady locations on your property require less water than a location that gets full sunlight throughout the day.
  • Type of plants: Plants require varying amounts of water, such as your lawn, and others, such as indigenous plants. Plants should be organized by their watering requirements.
  • Soil type: Clay, loam, and sandy soils are all possibilities. When wet, clay soils retain their form. Loamy soil is the best soil for growing plants; it dissolves when wet and breaks apart. It allows water to pass through smoothly.

Finally, take a look at your landscaping and decide where you want to put certain sprinkler heads so they will be more effective during watering hours, including rotors and bubblers for specialty areas such as flower beds or containers.

4. Choose Your Equipment

Picking your sprinkler heads is one of the most essential parts of designing a home sprinkler system. There are many different kinds of heads, and knowing which ones you need will help your design process go more smoothly.

Some choices include:

  • Impact
  • Oscillating
  • Rotor (the traditional lawn head)
  • Spray (a common choice for flower beds and shrubs)
  • Solid stream rotors (for large yards), and
  • Bubblers (great for high-pressure systems)

When choosing placement, be sure they won’t get in each other’s way or block access areas, such as doorways or driveways. Deciding where to place sprinkler heads will be based on where you are watering and what plants exist in the space. For instance:

  • If the area being watered is a lawn, choose heads with more extended spray patterns, so more grass gets wet.
  • If it’s flower beds or shrubs, consider using shorter-range sprinkler heads to get better coverage in smaller areas.

You can also use different types of irrigation systems for specific purposes:

Using drip lines for trees and bushes will help them maintain their moisture levels while saving water at the same time. Traditional overhead sprinklers may miss certain spots or not do enough to fully hydrate plants’ roots, depending on how long they run each cycle.

You’ll need some additional equipment, such as:

  • Water Meter
  • Backflow preventer
  • Mainlines
  • Valves
  • Laterals
  • Sprinkler risers

5. Design Your System Layout

Designing a layout for your sprinkler system is easy if you have a pen, paper, and some measurements. There are also software programs such as Orbit Sprinkler System Designer that can help you design your system’s layout.

Use these guidelines to plan its position:

  • Place the irrigation heads at least 30 cm (11.81 in) away from walls, fences, or trees.
  • Check your layout on Google Maps using satellite view mode. This will ensure proper coverage for each area of your yard before continuing the installation process.
  • Measure from one sprinkler head to another with a tape measure.
  • If you have an existing irrigation system, make sure there are no broken heads.
  • Mark where each sprinkler will be on the ground using spray paint or stakes. Then write down that location’s number on a sheet of paper for reference while assembling it later
  • Make sure everything is level by checking all measurements twice. Once they’re marked out on the ground with stakes, use rocks around them, so they don’t get moved when working nearby.

Additionally, you may need to dig trenches and install the pipes, add a controller or timer device, bury them under mulch or stone chips, plant grass seed in bare areas of your lawn after installation is complete.

By following these simple steps, you will be able to design a home sprinkler system that meets your needs and provides optimal coverage for water usage.

6. Measure and Determine the Piping Layout

Plan to install the front yard zone near where cars are parked first, so it gets used regularly. You may also want to look into installing a backflow preventer if you have an outdoor spigot that is not in the direct vicinity of your sprinkler system zones.

This will help block anything from getting into your water source and causing damage to surrounding structures like:

  • Buildings
  • Flower beds
  • Sidewalks, and
  • Driveways, all of which could cause costly repairs down the road.

You should also consider putting down sod before setting up any other components since many types require moisture to establish properly after installation (which requires irrigation).

It’s important to make sure everything is installed properly to work with your existing system. Proper installation will also help your system function properly and be easier to maintain over time.

The job of installing an irrigation system might not sound like something you can do, but it’s actually pretty straightforward with the proper steps in place. The following video will show you how to get started:

The piping must be long enough for a consistent flow of water, which you can calculate using a formula or measuring it manually depending on how professional you want everything to look.

It would help if you also made sure there are no gaps between pieces of tubing because this will cause air pockets where water cannot reach plants evenly and other problems such as leaks.

Also, ensure that each piece of irrigation equipment (valves, sprinklers) has an adequate radius so that they cover their designated areas without wasting any extra space within these zones.

7. Finishing and Installation

The final steps of designing your home sprinkler system are to draw a layout of the zones and then calculate your design’s water requirements.

If you are not sure how to go about this, consider hiring a professional landscaper who will be able to do it for you or consult with your local irrigation company.

Once all of these steps have been completed and planned out on paper, now is the time to start installing everything based on your design. Sprinkler systems can be quite complex, so there could be hiccups along the way that require additional planning.

Some tips when installing your home sprinkler system include:

  • Drawing a layout of zones and calculating their water needs beforehand. Start groundwork by marking each zone in different colors like blue-green, yellow-brown / brown-red / red-orange / or orange.
  • Marking the zones is essential. It makes setting up sprinkler heads and placing valves that control them later in the design process.
  • Before actually digging, call your local city officials. You may need permits, so nothing gets delayed during installation!

When it comes time to test your home’s new irrigation system, don’t forget about having a professional come out and inspect everything.

This is important because if anything goes wrong with this process or you happen to have any defects in your design that weren’t caught during the planning phase, you will need someone who has experience dealing with these types of issues.

There can be many reasons why something doesn’t work right when installing an underground sprinkler system, but some common problems include:

  • Poorly designed soil conditions
  • Incorrect equipment selection
  • Lawn damage caused by too much water.
  • Malfunctioning parts

Testing your sprinkler system is incredibly important. This helps you know that everything is working as it should and will also help you identify any problems with the system in the future when they might be more challenging to fix.


The main benefit of automatic sprinklers is that you can stay off the lawn and garden to be greener than before. Also, they save water compared to traditional overhead irrigation systems.

There’s no use having an automated one if all the excess water just sits in place or runs into areas where it isn’t wanted, like roads or sidewalks! Make sure your area is big enough and already has a proper drainage system installed, too, if needed.


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