How to Move Inground Sprinkler Heads

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An in-ground sprinkler system can help you maintain a beautiful, lush lawn and flowers. However, sometimes as your yard matures and changes, trees or other objects can block the spray from your sprinkler heads. When this happens, the easiest thing to do is relocate the head. There are two main types of sprinkler heads--spray and rotors. Spray heads produce a mist and are used mainly for small turf areas and flower beds. Rotors are used more often on large turf areas. Both types can be relocated the same way.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Razor knife
  • Gloves
  • Sprinkler pipe or swing line
  • Turn off the water supply to your irrigation system.

  • Dig around the sprinkler head that you want to move, using a shovel, until you find a flexible black line located at the base of the head. This is the swing pipe.

  • Dig around the the swing pipe, following it back until you find the spot where it terminates at the main line or a lateral line. Look for a piece of PVC with a barbed fitting that the swing line plugs into.

  • Measure from the spot where you are going to relocate the head, to the place where it plugs into the line. Take into account any obstacles you may have to trench around.

  • Remove the existing swing pipe from the base of the sprinkler head and the main line. Grip it by hand, twisting while you pull on the tubing.

  • Place the sprinkler head at the new location. Dig a trench from there to the main line.

  • Cut the correct length of swing line needed with your razor knife. Place one end on the barb at the base of the sprinkler head, connecting it by applying some pressure and a twisting motion. Place the other end of the swing line on the main line's barb, using the same technique.

  • Replace loose dirt over the newly run line. Pack dirt around the sprinkler head.

  • Turn the water supply to system back on. Activate the irrigation system to make sure the spray from the relocated head is reaching the needed areas.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase the swing pipe at a home improvement store or landscape supplier. Most stores sell pipe in 50- to 100-foot rolls. If you only need a small section, you may be able to purchase it from an irrigation contractor.
  • Depending upon the type of soil beneath your lawn, digging can be much easier after the ground is soft from a rain or the lawn has been irrigated.
  • Save yourself some digging by using as much of the existing trench as possible.
  • When unhooking the existing sprinkler from the lateral line, be careful not to get too much rock or dirt in the line. Debris can carry down the line, causing the solenoid to stick open. Then the system won't turn off.
  • Be aware of any underground wires or pipes when digging.
  • Irrigation systems are broken up into areas, or zones, to come on at the same time (such as front lawn or back lawn). Be sure the head you are relocating stays in the same zone, or it will be running while all the others are off, making your system less efficient.
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