How to Remove a Sprinkler System

Things You'll Need

  • Pencils

  • Shovel

  • Pipe cutters

  • Pipe plug (Sharkbite or similar push-to-fit)

There may come a time when your sprinkler system becomes so antiquated or unnecessary that you want to remove it from your lawn. This is a task that is pretty straightforward, but one which also requires a significant amount of physical labor. To remove the system completely, you will need to dig up sprinkler heads and pipes, and plug the line that now feeds the system. However, with a little planning, removing a sprinkler system doesn't have to be difficult.

Exposing Sprinkler Heads and Pipes

Step 1

Turn the main water supply off by turning the ball valve at the sprinkler manifold 90 degrees.

Step 2

Locate each sprinkler head on your system. You can insert a pencil into the ground next to each of the heads to mark their locations for reference.

Step 3

Dig around the area of each sprinkler head, exposing at least 7 inches of dirt around each base. This will expose the entire sprinkler body and show which direction the pipe goes.

Step 4

Unscrew each sprinkler head counterclockwise to remove them from the risers below. What's left is the riser and supply line.

Exposing and Removing Lines

Step 1

Dig a trench along the path of the underground pipes to expose them. Follow the path of the supply lines from sprinkler head to sprinkler head, and finally to the manifold at the irrigation control box. Clear at least 7 inches of dirt around the pipe the entire length of the system.

Step 2

Cut the pipe every 8 to 10 feet, ending at the manifold box. This will make removing the pipe easier.

Step 3

Pull out each section of pipe and discard.

Removing the Manifold

Step 1

Dig around the base of the manifold control box to expose the edges of the box.

Step 2

Lift the box up and discard it. You should have the manifold exposed at this point.

Step 3

Cut the supply line from the house to the manifold, leaving at least 5 inches of pipe exposed on the outside of the house.

Step 4

Pull out the manifold and discard it.

Step 5

Place a push-to-fit pipe cap over the end of the exposed pipe. The cap will automatically seal itself and prevent water from leaking. Turn the main water back on at the ball valve and check the cap to make sure it's on tight.


Cut pipe can be sharp, so be careful when handling it.