Irrigation Tutorials

Questions about Sprinkler and Drip Irrigation? Free tutorials, articles, FAQs, and reviews. You've found the web's mother lode of irrigation information!

Welcome to the Irrigation Tutorials Homepage!

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.

Regards,
Jess Stryker
Landscape Architect (Lic. AZ-32410, CA-2743, NV-443)


 

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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.
Saving Water & Irrigation System Operation.
Repairs and Fixing Irrigation Problems.
Reviews of Irrigation Products.
Is your question not answered here?

 

 

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.

Irrigation Filtration Tutorial.

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.

Irrigation Pumping Systems Tutorial.

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.

Spray-Type Sprinkler Tutorial.

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.

Rotor-Type Sprinkler Tutorial.

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 Controller Tutorial.

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.

Increasing the Maximum Available GPM or Design Flow Tutorial.

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!

Master Valves Tutorial.

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 Pressure Loss Calculator.

A web-browser based calculator for calculating pressure loss in pipes. Uses English units. Requires that Javascript be installed and enabled in your web browser.
PVC pipe pressure loss calculator. Note: this page loads slowly due to size of the calculator script.

Irrigation Systems for Windy Areas Tutorial.

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 and Expansive Soils Tutorial.

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.

Low Head Drainage & Sprinklers that Spit Air Tutorial.

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.

Irrigation Glossary

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.)
Irrigation Glossary.

Formulas, Conversions, and Calculations for Irrigation.

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.

Irrigation Installation Detail Drawings.

Sample detail drawings show some possible ways of putting your irrigation components together.
Irrigation Detail Sketches.

Irrigation Calculation Spreadsheets Index.

A collection of spreadsheets for various purposes related to irrigation.
Irrigation Spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets for Pressure or Friction Loss in Pipes and Tubes

 

Saving Water & Irrigation System Operation:

How to Save Water with your Irrigation System Tutorial.

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.

Irrigation Scheduling Tutorial.

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.

Irrigation System Winterization Tutorial.

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.

Irrigation Calculation Spreadsheets Index.

A collection of spreadsheets for various purposes related to irrigation.
Irrigation Spreadsheets.

 

Repairs and Fixing Irrigation Problems:

Sprinkler System a Tune-Up Tutorial.

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.

Water Hammer and Air in Pipes Tutorial.

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.

Connecting Plastic Pipe to Metal Pipe Tutorial.

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.

Make a Simple Electric Valve Activator Tutorial.

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.

Buzzing Valve Solenoid Tutorial.

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.

Solenoid Valve Repair Tutorial.

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.

Sprinkler Heads That Do Not Completely Pop-Up Tutorial.

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.

Water Leaks from Sprinkler Heads when Valve is Off Tutorial.

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.

Replacing Your House Water Supply Pipe Tutorial.

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.

Irrigation Detail Drawings.

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.

 

Is your question not answered here?

Suggestions for finding additional help with your questions.

 

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. This is a website for folks who like to have fun exploring!

My Family Website. Primarily meant for my family and friends, but you're welcome to visit! My vacation pictures and stories, mostly National Parks. Yellowstone, Mt. St. Helens, Rocky Mountains, Oregon Caves, Roosevelt N.P., Mount Rushmore, Mammoth Caves, Great Smoky Mountains, etc. We visit more each year, and I post my photos and stories. Wow! There's even photos of my own front yard and irrigation system! You'll also find the touching and ever-popular sob-fest known as The Frisky Story (if you have pets, make sure you have a full box of facial tissue handy before reading it!)




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