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Home Irrigation Systems: The Pros and Cons of DIY Installation

If you want a backyard that always delivers a lush green lawn and perfect plants, your best bet would be to install a home irrigation system.

Your first thought might be, “this would be a perfect DIY task!”, but there are definite pros and cons to installing an irrigation system and it is not always that easy to get it right first time.

Here is an overview of why you will want a home irrigation system, a look at what is involved if you intend to do it yourself, as well as factors to consider, and details on the materials you will need.

sprinkler of automatic watering

sprinkler of automatic watering

Why you want a home irrigation system

It takes a lot of maintenance to keep everything looking good in your yard. Keeping your lawn fresh and your plants in bloom is hardly a five-minute job. Although you can use hoses and lawn sprinklers to keep everything sufficiently watered, it can be very time-consuming and not the most efficient way of delivering the moisture your lawn and plants need.

A lawn irrigation system allows you to water everything automatically and efficiently. Automating your watering regime cuts down on your labor time and saves money on your water bills. These are all compelling reasons why you want a home irrigation system.

If you decide to go ahead with the idea, and before you start buying what you need, take the time to work out whether you have the tools and knowledge to successfully install an irrigation system by yourself. Would it be better to call in a professional?

Weighing up the cost

The cost of a lawn irrigation system can vary widely, it can be anywhere between about $400 and $5,000. The reason for the massive difference may not be obvious, but there are so many factors and variables that can have an impact on the overall cost of the system.

Major factors, such as the size of your yard and the number of different zones you want to deliver water to, will have an impact on the complexity and the cost of your home irrigation system.

If you want a ballpark figure, the materials for each different zone will cost in the region of $450. This is for a set of interconnected pipes and at least five sprinkler heads. If you have a larger lawn and more trees and shrubs to cover, it will make a difference to the cost of your system.

Testing your knowledge

The basics of installing an irrigation system are within the capabilities of most competent DIY enthusiasts. However, you might find your knowledge being stretched when it comes to understanding how to set about choosing the right setup.

All irrigation systems are not equal. You have to design a system that is fit for purpose and meets the demands of your local climate and soil type.

Your soil type will help dictate the Irrigation method used and the required runtimes for each cycle.

If you have sandy soil, you will need to water more frequently and at a higher rate to keep the moisture in the root zone. If you have clay soil, this holds the moisture longer but more frequent applications are needed to prevent runoff.

If you are going to be growing crops, you will also need to know how to successfully install a sprinkler and drip system capable of delivering the best results.

The right materials

Make sure you have the right materials for the installation. Items you need include irrigation tubing, pipes, and valves. Depending on your particular needs, you may also need timers and control panels. You will also have to decide whether you want to install pop-up spray heads or nozzles.

Your shopping list will include a water pressure gauge, backflow devices and drain valves. If you are going to attempt a DIY installation, take the time to plan the layout of your system and create a comprehensive list of everything you need.

Pros and cons

If you are trying to decide whether to do the job yourself or call in a professional, it makes sense to work out the pros and cons.

It will probably be cheaper to install the system yourself, but only if you have all the materials and installation skills needed. If not, it could end up costing more if you have to pay someone to put it right or if you have to hire expensive items, like a trench digger.

Knowledge is a key factor. Don’t consider the DIY route if you don’t know how to set up the right irrigation system. It could be dangerous if you are not familiar with the installation process as there is a chance you could damage pipes and cables when you are digging.

Finlay Begum has worked at his local garden center since leaving school. A green-fingered guy, Finlay loves nothing more than getting his hands dirty and is always open to answering customers garden related queries. Now extending his knowledge further into the world, Finlay writes about plants and gardens for a growing online audience.