How to Install a Sprinkler System – Complete DIY Guide

Watering your lawn with a hose can be stressful and time-consuming, especially when you’re watering a large area. The need for less stressful irrigation methods has led to the sprinkler irrigation system becoming a popular choice among lawn owners.

Sprinkler irrigation is a system you should look to adopt if you need to reduce time spent on watering your yard. This article is a library for your sprinkler irrigation system needs, alongside a complete guide on how to set up this system yourself.

Some companies handle this installation from beginning to the end but if you’re looking to save cost, especially as purchasing the sprinkler system is expensive, you may want to do the installation yourself. 

This guide will break down the steps and show you how to handle each stage in the installation process.

Before we go into details, you should understand what a sprinkler irrigation system is all about.

What is a Sprinkler System?

With irrigation needs skyrocketing, there’s a growing need for a more effective irrigation system. In comes the sprinkler system. 

The sprinkler system is an automated irrigation system that waters your lawn by spraying water over the area. This elaborate system channels water from your faucet through the numerous pipes mostly underground and out through the sprinkler heads.

Do I need a Permit to Install a Sprinkler System?

Depending on your location, you may need a permit before installing a sprinkler system. Different areas have laws guiding the installation of underground systems like this. To know if you’ll need a permit, consult the necessary authorities.

You also have to check with the authorities on underground utilities. This will help you know where to dig and install your pipes. Avoid digging areas with underground utilities.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Sprinkler System?

As you already know, installing a sprinkler is quite pricey, and the amount you’ll spend depends on some factors like the size of your lawn, type of sprinkler, if you’ll be doing all installation yourself or renting some machines like the vibratory trencher to help pass the pipes underground.

Typically, the cost of installing a sprinkler irrigation system on an acre of land is between $6000 to $8000. This figure will be significantly reduced if you’ll be doing your irrigation yourself.

Detailed Instructions on How to Install a Sprinkler System

While installing a sprinkler system can be time-consuming, it shouldn’t be a problem following this concise guide.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete plumbing novice, we’ll show you how to do it.

First, let’s see the tools and equipment you’ll need to execute this installation.

Tools and equipment

Here are the tools and equipment needed for the project.


  • Water gauge
  • Timer
  • Shovel
  • Vibratory trencher
  • Poly pipe cutter


  • PVC pipes
  • PVC connectors
  • PVC valves
  • Sprinkler heads
  • Steel hose clamps

Now that you’ve known what you need, here’s what do to

Make a detailed plan

For you to know the size of the sprinkler system you need, the number of sprinkler heads and their locations so they can cover the land, you need to plan appropriately. 

Now, making the plan can be quite confusing for newbies, not to worry though, most companies selling sprinkler systems incorporates, planning into their programs. Simply measure your water pressure from your faucet and measure the size of your lawn. Send the figures to the company, and they’ll get back to you with a detailed plan and all you’ll need.

Dig the pipelines

Digging the trench for the pipes can be done by hand or by using a machine called the vibratory trencher. This machine can be rented for about $150 per day depending on your location, the trencher drills underground and drags the hose and cables along.

Pass copper pipe and cable through the hole you created using the trencher. When working on the main PVC line, run the cable to the first location of the valve.

Dig the pipelines

When using your hand to dig, use your shovel to dig out the grass sod. You’ll need to replace the sod after installation. Dig to a depth of 6” to 8” and run your PVC pipes and cables through. 

Install the valve box 

This is a box that houses the valves controlling the sprinkler system. To install the box, dig a wide hole and place the box inside. Connect an end of the valve box to the water supply.


First lay the pipes along the main trench, when branching out, use tee connectors. The supply pipe should be connected to the free end of the valve manifold box. At the locations you’ve earmarked for sprinkler heads, use risers installed at 90°. When laying pipes, cover the edges with tape to avoid debris and sand from clogging the pipe. 

a poly pipe cutter

Use a poly pipe cutter instead of a saw to cut the pipes to the desired lengths as using a saw will leave debris inside the pipe.

Cut out kinks

Kinks will most likely occur when installing your pipes because of the size. Cut out kinked areas instead of trying to repair them. You do not want a leaking pipe under the ground after a few months. Use connectors to join the other parts together.

Clamp the pipes for stability

Pipes should be clamped to the ground to ensure its stability and prevent it from moving out of place when in use. Main supply pipes should be clamped twice because the pressure from the water is higher. You might also need to double clamp areas you’ve cut due to kinking to re-enforce the connectors.

Install Sprinkler heads

Sprinkler heads

After the valves and piping have been completed, install the sprinkler heads using connectors on the riser. The sprinkler heads should be level with the ground to avoid being damaged by the foot or vehicles.

Install controllers

The controller involves the timer which controls the amount of water and the exact time your lawn is watered. It also includes wires and connections you can easily make using the manufacturer’s instructions in the manual. The controller should be placed under a shade preferably close to the main water supply.

After installing, flush the pipe to remove debris and sand. Use backlog preventer valves to stop water from flowing back into your main water supply. This can cause contamination of your water supply with fertilizers.

The controller

Pros and Cons of Using a Sprinkler System

If you’re wondering if all this is worth it, here are some of the most glaring advantages and also drawbacks to using the sprinkler system of irrigation.


  • Saves water
  • Reduces time spent maintaining your lawn
  • It increases the value of your property


  • High upfront cost
  • Might be difficult/expensive to remove

Having a sprinkler system installed on your property will help save you time and water. With this straightforward guide, you can save some cost by installing the system yourself without prior experience.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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