Step-by Step Guide to Installing Your Sprinkler System

This landscape sprinkler and drip/trickle installation tutorial will take you step-by-step through the process of constructing (or assembling) your new sprinkler irrigation system.  During the process you will learn a lot of tricks as well as how to “speak irrigation talk” which can be helpful when you are working with others in the industry.  Why speak the lingo?  Well for example when buying your materials it is a quicker if you can say “I need a three-quarter by three-quarter by half slip-slip-thread tee” rather than “I need a outlet thingy to go on my pipe to connect a sprinkler to it.”  That first description may seem confusing to you now, but you will know exactly what it means very soon.  We’ll also give you some checklists and forms you can use to make this all easier and save a lot of trips to the store to pick up stuff you forgot.

Quick reminder, if you haven’t designed your sprinkler system yet you need to do that before you continue.  See the Sprinkler System Design Tutorial.


Sprinkler System Installation Tutorial
Table of Contents

  1. Creating Your Shopping List of Materials (aka a “Take-Off”.)  Creating a complete and accurate “take-off” is the first step to install your irrigation system. This section tells you how to do it right!
  2. Take-off Form. A easy to use fill-in-the-blank form that lists the most common materials used in the installation of drip irrigation and sprinkler systems.
  3. Fittings take-off Form.  A ready to use form that lists the most common PVC fittings used when installing a sprinkler or drip irrigation system.
  4. Checklist.  A checklist of items commonly needed to install a sprinkler or drip irrigation system.  Review it before heading to the store!
  5. Understanding Fittings.  A complete guide to common PVC fittings, including the correct terminology to use when describing them to others. Includes sketches of each fitting.
  6. Sprinkler Risers. The sprinkler riser plays a large part in determining how often you will need to repair broken sprinklers!
  7. Anti-Siphon Valves. The most common valve type for residential irrigation systems.
  8. Globe-Valve Installation.  The most common valve type used for commercial irrigation systems.
  9. Miscellaneous Installation Details.  Lots of sketches showing how to fit it all together!  Don’t guess how to put it together, save tons of time using these!
  10. Irrigation Installation Tools.  Tools and tips for using them that make the job easier.
    OK, time to get outside and start kicking up dirt!
  11. Layout Your Irrigation System.  Mock up the system.  Make sure you have everything, check for design errors before you start digging!
  12. How to Make a Leak Free Threaded Pipe Connection.  How to connect threaded pipe ends so they won’t leak.
  13. Safety First!  A list of safety precautions and tips to make the job more pleasant.
  14. Connect to Water Supply. How to tap into the water supply.
  15. Install Underground Piping. Tips for installing the piping and wire.
  16. Backfill & Flush. Proper flushing is critical to your system’s survival.
  17. Install the Sprinklers on the Risers.  Install them the right way and it will massively reduce the need for future repairs.

That’s a lot of pages of information but a lot of it is checklists and diagrams that you will just skim over quickly, so don’t get discouraged!  Better to spend 15 minutes reading the tips here than an hour installing it wrong, and two more hours removing and redoing it!