DIY Above Ground Sprinkler Systems

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Efficient watering helps maintain a healthy, attractive lawn and garden.
Efficient watering helps maintain a healthy, attractive lawn and garden. (Image: lawn image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

Every homeowner desires to feel lush, green grass beneath his feet as he walks onto his lawn. Proper irrigation is an essential part of that beauty. Hauling heavy water buckets, standing for hours spraying the hose, or installing an expensive underground irrigation system isn't necessary to keep your lawn looking good. Installing a water-wise, do-it-yourself, above-ground irrigation sprinkler system can save money and help you have the lush, green lawn you desire

Things You'll Need

  • 3 garden hoses, two of which should be the same length, either 6 feet or 15 feet long
  • 3 pop-up, rotary or pulsating sprinklers with unit-to-unit connections
  • Hose faucet manifold
  • Sprinkler timer (optional)

Screw the male end of one hose -- the end with the exposed threads -- into the female side connector of a sprinkler. Be sure this hose is long enough to reach the zone you wish to water.

Remove the plastic cap from the male connector on the sprinkler itself. This connector is on the opposite side of where you connected the original hose.

Tighten the female end -- the one without exposed threads -- of one of the matching 6-foot hoses to the male connector on the sprinkler by turning the end clockwise. Use matching 15-foot hoses if you desire greater spacing between sprinkler heads.

Affix the other end of the 6-foot hose to the next sprinkler. Attach the male end of the hose to the female side connection of your sprinkler.

Continue to piece together hoses and sprinklers by alternately connecting male hose ends to female sprinkler connections, and female hose ends to male sprinkler connections, until all three sprinkler heads are connected by hoses. Do not remove the plastic cap on the final sprinkler.

Screw the faucet manifold unit to the house spigot. The faucet manifold lets you attach multiple above-ground sprinkler systems to reach different zones in your yard. Add a sprinkler timer to your system by screwing the timer onto the house spigot before attaching the faucet manifold. A sprinkler timer allows for automatic watering times.

Screw the female end of the original hose to the faucet manifold. Place sprinklers in desired places around your yard, arranging them to cover the area. Set your timer, if desired, and turn on the water to the sprinkler system to begin irrigating your lawn.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjust sprinklers placed 6 feet apart to produce a 12-foot spray to cover the area fully. Adjust sprinklers spaced 15 feet apart to produce a 30-foot spray. This overlap ensures good coverage.
  • Measure the output and coverage of your sprinklers, known as the application rate, by placing empty cans with wide mouths at various places in the sprinkler zone. The depth of water at day's end lets you know how much water your lawn received. Most lawns need 1 to 2 inches of water per week.
  • The best time to water lawns is between nine at night and nine in the morning.
  • High water pressure is required for a successful above-ground sprinkler system. Using 1/2-inch or 1-inch diameter hoses helps increase water pressure.

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