You've just found the web's mother lode of free irrigation information! Best of all, it's all FREE! This website is not affiliated with any irrigation, sprinkler, or drip equipment manufacturer, supplier, or installer; so the tutorials are independent and not biased toward selling a particular service, product or brand. I hope you find the information here useful.
Landscape Architect (California License #2743)
What Do You Need Help With?
Search for a topic using the Search Box above
Browse the descriptions below of all the tutorials, articles, and FAQs available. There are a lot of them, so to make it easier they are grouped by the following topics:
Designing a New Irrigation System:
Sprinkler Irrigation Design Tutorial
(Lawn Sprinklers, Automatic Sprinklers, Yard Sprinklers, Underground Sprinkler Systems.)
How to design a sprinkler irrigation system for both do-it-yourselfers and landscape professionals. This in-depth tutorial shows you step-by-step how to design a professional quality lawn sprinkler irrigation system. This is a complete course in sprinkler irrigation design and is used as the text for many college irrigation courses. It is also simple enough for the average homeowner/do-it-yourselfer to follow.
How to design a sprinkler irrigation system.
Drip Irrigation Design Tutorial
(Drip Systems, Trickle Irrigation, Low-Flow Irrigation, Emitter Systems, Xerigation)
How to design a simple drip irrigation system for your yard. Drip irrigation is the most efficient, easiest to design, most forgiving, and easiest to install type of permanent irrigation system. A typical 10 year old can handle this project! Drip irrigation is usually the best choice for watering shrub beds and groundcovers.
How to design a drip, trickle, Xerigation, or other low-flow irrigation system.
Irrigation Installation Tutorial
(both Sprinklers & Drip System Installation)
How to install your new sprinkler system, lawn sprinklers, or drip irrigation system. This tutorial shows you how to prepare an accurate list of materials (a "take-off"). Includes blank forms for you to print and use, checklists, descriptions of various pipe system parts, installation details, even tips on how to "talk irrigation" so you sound like a pro! Lots of tips that will save you time and money.
How to install a sprinkler or drip irrigation system.
Your irrigation system should probably have a filter on it. The tiny particles found in even the cleanest water sources are the #1 cause of irrigation system breakdowns. You would never notice these tiny particles when drinking the water. A filter will pay for itself over and over in savings on irrigation repairs. This tutorial covers the various types of filters, how they work, and best of all, how to select the right filter for YOUR lawn irrigation system!
How to select the best filter for your sprinkler or drip irrigation system.
If you need to pump irrigation water from a well, stream, or pond, this tutorial is for you! Pumps, wells, pressure tanks, and electrical controls are covered. Learn how much water your pump will provide. Did you know that most of the flow and pressure labels on pumps will mislead you? Did you know that most so-called "irrigation pumps" will not work with an irrigation system? This tutorial helps explain industry labeling and naming standards that are misleading for the average end-user. You'll also learn how to read pump curves and how to select the best pump for your situation.
How to select the right pump type and size.
Tips on how to tell the difference between a good quality spray-type sprinkler and a poor quality lawn irrigation sprinkler.
Guide to sprinkler head selection for watering small areas.
Tips on how to tell the difference between a good quality rotor-type sprinkler and a poor quality sprinkler.
Guide to sprinkler head selection for watering large areas.
Smart Controllers do almost all the irrigation scheduling work for you. There are lots of types and styles, read all about the various features of Smart Controllers here.
Selecting the best smart irrigation controller.
One of the most common questions I get from readers is "How can I get more water for my system design?" This detailed tutorial will explain your options for obtaining a larger water flow, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Not enough water? Here's what to do about it!
What are "master valves" and should you use one on your irrigation system? This tutorial explains the advantages and disadvantages of master valves and how to use one.
Pros and cons of master valves for irrigation systems.
PVC pipe pressure loss calculator. Note: this page loads slowly due to size of the calculator script.
Tips for designing an irrigation system for a windy location. Even a gentle ocean breeze can cause problems for a landscape sprinkler system if not considered in the design.
How to irrigate in high wind areas.
Irrigation next to buildings built on expansive soils may cause very costly damage to buildings. If your soil cracks when it dries out it is likely expansive. Protect the value of your home! This tutorial gives detailed suggestions for designing irrigation systems for use in areas with expansive soils.
Irrigation on expansive clay soils.
If you have more than 1 foot of elevation change in the area you are going to irrigate you need to read this tutorial. It will save you a lot of water, money and time.
Sprinklers that spit air and water drainage from sprinklers.
A list of terms and definitions used in the irrigation industry, with a lot of bad humor thrown in! The folks who named a lot of this stuff were a bunch of dirty old men. (OK, it's really not that bad, you get a lot worse stuff on TV during prime time.)
Here you'll find formulas related to irrigation design as well as metric conversions and other helpful conversions. Snore. But when you need them, you need them.
Irrigation related formulas.
Sample detail drawings show some possible ways of putting your irrigation components together.
Irrigation Detail Sketches.
A collection of spreadsheets for calculating pressure loss.
Spreadsheets for Pressure or Friction Loss in Pipes and Tubes
Saving Water & Irrigation System Operation:
A list of things you can do to make your irrigation system use less water. Includes instructions on how to do each item. The costs of these improvements range from free to very expensive. Over 25 tips and tricks, as well as suggestions on how to avoid getting "ripped off" by some of the water conservation scams floating around.
Tips for irrigation water conservation.
How to schedule irrigation system cycles to promote healthier plants and save water. Your irrigation system can be a great water saver. It can also waste water, cause disease in your lawn and shrubs, and increase greatly the amount of fertilizer you need to use. Learn how to operate it the correct way.
How to schedule landscape irrigation.
How to prepare your irrigation system for winter and restart it in the spring. Without proper preparation your irrigation system can be badly damaged by freezing temperatures! This tutorials covers several methods of preparing your irrigation system for the winter, including drain valves and pressurized blow out. This is very important in areas where it freezes in winter.
How to prepare a sprinkler and/or drip irrigation system for freezing weather.
Repairs and Fixing Irrigation Problems:
Just like a car, your irrigation system needs a periodic tune-up to keep it safe, in good repair, and operating efficiently. A once a year is suggested. This tutorial teaches you step-by-step how to do a irrigation system tune-up.
How to fine-tune your Sprinkler System.
Things that go Bump in the Night. This tutorial addresses the various causes of noise in irrigation systems and household plumbing, along with methods to cure the problem. Water hammer and air in the pipes can make terrible sounds. They also can cause long term damage to your plumbing that is very expensive to repair!
How to deal with water hammer and air in pipes.
This tutorial tells you the proper way to connect plastic pipes to metal pipes. Its just as easy to do it right as to do it wrong, but if you do it wrong you will very greatly increase the possibility of a leak or pipe break developing.
How to connect plastic pipe to metal pipe.
How to build a very simple testing device to turn on electric irrigation valves. If you can put on a pair of jeans you already have the necessary skills to build this tester. You can buy the parts at almost any convenience store. It takes about 2 minutes to make it.
How to make a simple electric valve activator.
Is one of your valves making a buzzing noise? This tutorial tells you step-by-step how to repair it.
How to fix a buzzing valve solenoid.
If your electric irrigation system valve is leaking, not opening, or not closing as it should, this tutorial will tell you step-by-step how to repair it.
How to repair a sprinkler or drip irrigation system solenoid valve.
Are the pop-up sprinkler heads on your lawn sprinkler system not raising up all the way when the valve is turned on? This tutorial will tell you step-by-step how to fix the problem.
How to fix sprinkler heads that do not completely pop-up.
Does water leak from the sprinkler heads even when the valve is closed? Do your sprinklers spit, spurt water, and hiss air every time the sprinkler system is turned on? This tutorial explains why they do this and then tells you how to fix it.
How to stop low head drainage & stop sprinklers from spitting air.
A small water supply pipe can restrict flow to the house and sprinkler system. This FAQ examines the benefits of a larger pipe and explains how to replace the existing pipe if desired.
How to replace your house water supply pipe.
Sample detail drawings show some possible ways of putting your irrigation components together.
Irrigation Component Sketches.
Questions and Answers
Some of the questions I have been asked over the years, as well as my answers to them.
- Pump Selection: Types of Water Pumps
- Compression Tees and Couplings
- Irrigation Installation: Stake Out Your Sprinkler System
- Irrigation Tools
- US BANK: BANK OF DEAD PEOPLE?
- How to Install an Irrigation Globe Valve
- Installing an Anti-Siphon Valve
- Sprinkler Head Risers
- Which direction should PVC Pipe Bell Face
- Balancing the Pressure in an Irrigation System
- Landscape Sprinkler System Design Tutorial Index
- Introduction to Irrigation Design
- How to Measure and Draw Your Yard to Scale
- How to Find Your GPM & PSI – Gravity Flow
- Water Meters and Flow Sensors
- Irrigation Backflow Preventers
- Selecting Your Sprinkler Equipment
- How to Find Your GPM & PSI – Pumps and/or Wells
- Selecting the Right Sprinkler Head
- Elevation Pressure Loss in Irrigation Systems
- Irrigation Valves
- Irrigation Mainlines
- How to Find Your GPM & PSI – Municipal Water Source
- Sprinkler System Lateral Pipes
- Tips for Hiring an Irrigation Installer or Contractor
- How to Remove a Valve Zone from Sprinkler system
- Clogged Drainage or Irrigation Pipes
- Double Check Backflow Preventer Problems
- Pipe and Tube Pressure Loss Tables
- Rainbird Anti-Siphon Valve Leaks, Won’t Fully Close
- How to Remove PVC Cement From Your Hands
- How to Remove Paint from PVC Pipe
- Should the Pipe be the Same Size as the Sprinkler Inlet?
- Watering a very narrow 30″ wide lawn strip
- Creating Water-Proof Irrigation Wire Connections
- Pump Cycles On Briefly When Irrigation is Off
- How to Fix a Automatic Irrigation Valve that Won’t Open
- Lawn Sprinklers Dry Spots in Lawn
- How to Find Buried Pipes, Wires, and Valves
- Dealing with Small Pipe Leaks in Sprinkler and Drip Systems
- Installing a Pipe under a Driveway or Sidewalk
- How to make an Organic Pre-filter for a Pond or Stream Irrigation Water Supply
- Getting rid of Gophers
- Pressure Loss in Sprinkler Risers
- Sprinkler Buddy Sprinkler Head Indicator Review
- Where to Get Answers to Specific Irrigation Questions
- Irrigation Sprinkler Head Selection
- PVC Pipe: SCH vs. Class
- Photo: Old Gas Pump
- Protecting Pump against No Flow Damage if a Valve Fails
- Sprinkler Coverage, Nozzle Selection, & Sprinkler Spacings
- Hydro-Zones, Valve Zones, & Sprinkler Pipe Layout
- Sprinkler System Design: Automation, Costs, Contractors, more…
- Why Not Use 1/2″ Pipe or Tube for Irrigation
- Irrigation Lateral Sprinkler Pipe Size
- Calculating Sprinkler System Pipe Size Using a Spreadsheet
- Irrigation Pipe Sizing Chart for Laterals
- Using A Smaller Pipe to Increase Water Pressure
- Spreadsheets for Calculating Pipe Pressure Loss
- How Far from a Fence Should Sprinklers be Installed?
- Adding a Booster Pump with a Well Pump
- Automating a Rain Barrel Irrigation System
- How to Use Pressure and Flow Switches with Irrigation Controls
- Is Bending PVC Pipe OK?
- All Valves Come on and Stay On Continuously
- Valves Downstream from Anti-siphon Valve?
- Using a Looped Mainline for Irrigation
- Huge Grass Yard with Minimal Water Supply
- Can I Run Two Irrigation Valves at the Same Time?
- Can I Pump my Irrigation Water from a River, Creek, or Pond?
- Why not use those huge sprinklers?
- Winterization for Areas with Periodic Freezing
- Outlet Pipe Size for Pump- is a Bigger Pipe Better?
- Can I Just Punch Holes in a Tube to Make Drippers?
- How to Estimate Water Useage Required for an Irrigation System
- Drip tube blows off fittings.
- Drip emitter installation tools.
Is your question not answered here?
Other Non-Irrigation Stuff:
Landscape Tutorials Someday this may be the landscape design equivalent of IrrigationTutorials.com. For now, it consists primarily of information on landscape maintenance, aimed at commercial businesses. This is basically for my clients, to help them take care of the landscape that they invested so much money in. I hate coming back a couple of years after a landscape is installed just to see that the maintenance contractor has let it all die!
Historic Hotels, Lodges, and Bed and Breakfasts I enjoy exploring classic hotels and lodges and have decided to set up a web site to share my photos and some interesting tidbits about some of the best old hotels I have visited. Lots of photos and details about the hotels, including history, architectural details, ghosts (most old hotels have at least one!), and some quirky behind-the-scenes stuff that is not in the brochures. This is not your typical travel website. Where possible I stick both my nose and camera in a lot of places the average tourist might miss.
My Family Website. Primarily meant for my family and friends, but you're welcome to visit! There's even photos of my own front yard and irrigation system! You'll also find The Frisky Story here (if you have pets, make sure you have a full box of facial tissue handy before reading it!)