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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been putting this project off for a few years. I have been able to limp along without a formal irrigation system, but I do get tired of dragging hoses. Let me back up - it's not really the hose dragging that annoys me, it's the amount of time it takes to water the lawn via hose end sprinklers… it's really a flow (GPM) issue.

I have also made some significant changes to my landscape over the last several years - like reshaping/adding beds, pouring a sidewalk on the north side of my house, and doubling the size of my patio. So in a way I'm glad I put this project off until the shape of my lawn/landscape settled down a little.

I designed the system myself, with the help of the fantastic information available over at Irrigation Tutorials; however, (spoiler alert) I will not be doing the install myself. I've done all the research and I'm confident I could do it, but the decision really came down to the value of my time. I have a busy job, a wife and young daughter, and some civic duties, etc. I just don't want to sacrifice the free time right now - not to mention I'm sure I'll have my work cut out for me in getting everything level again. I have a competent installer lined up that has done a couple landscaping projects for me at work, so we sort of understand each other. He was willing to basically install my design, so that was a big plus.

Anyway, before I get into the details of the design/install, my first step was getting a new water tap and meter. Water and sewer rate structures vary depending on where you live. Our sewer rates here are tied directly to our volumetric water consumption - meaning there is no cap or winter averaging mechanism to account for the water I use for irrigation purposes. I am charged a sewer fee for every gallon of water that goes through my meter, so for my situation a second "garden meter" made the most sense. I will not be billed for sewer on this second meter. The new tap/meter wasn't cheap, but I expect a payback on this within just a few seasons.

Having great water pressure available pretty much eliminated the need for multiple design iterations to get the pressure losses to work out. This service is on an 8" main, and I was told to expect a minimum of about 120psi. This is a good problem to have.



 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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Looking forward to the pictures and the final outcome of this. I'm sure you will have to start a new thread on fixing all the damage that will be done. :)
 

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Tifgrand—7,500 sq/ft—Baroness LM56
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J_nick said:
GrassDaddy said:
You will love it! The first few times you might even wake up to see them go off at 3am. At least I assume everyone else did that too...
+1
+2 :thumbup:
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I currently have two hose connection points on my house - one on the north side and one on the south side. They are "centrally located", but it's kind of annoying because they are not really close to where I usually need/use water.

So in an effort to get some hose connections a little closer to where I actually use water, I'm going to have a few Rain Bird Quick Coupling Valves strategically located along the mainline - below grade in small round valve boxes.


To use them, you lift the hinged yellow lid and insert a Quick Coupling Key. Gripping the t-handle and turning it 180-degrees locks the key in place while simultaneously opening the valve. On top of the key is a swivel elbow with 3/4" MHT. Here I will use an Eley Quick Connect System to hook up an Eley Hose Reel Cart. If you haven't heard about Eley products, be sure to check out this thread.

 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So this is my design. I'll be using a Rachio Gen 2 controller. All the heads are Hunter MP Rotator in PRS40 pressure-regulated bodies. All the shrubs (Zone 6) will be drip line with 2GPH point source emitters. Zone 3 (lower left side of drawing) will be MP Rotator 5x15ft corner strips and 5x30ft side strips. This is a narrow area between my fence and a future sidewalk. The sidewalk is part of a larger sidewalk project the city is working on. It is currently in the engineering phase, but I don't want to put my project on hold. I am moving forward as if it were there, and will set that row of heads just inside my property line. The heads will be connected to the laterals with funny pipe, so I will be able to make minor adjustments once the sidewalk is constructed. In the meantime, I will probably replace those nozzles with 360° nozzles to throw some water on the area where the sidewalk will be.

Design-wise, the MP Rotators were a dream to work with. Most of the models offer a matched precipitation rate of 0.4 in/hr regardless of the arc or radius setting - meaning you can mix/match models within a zone as well as adjust each one anywhere within its setting range and not worry about precipitation rates. The exceptions are the SR Series (6-12ft short radius models) and the Side Strip models. The SR Series has a precipitation rate of ~0.8 in/hr and the Side Strips have a rate of about 0.56 in/hr.

The only thing I'm still not 100% on is the number of drip zones. I had originally planned on 3 zones, but point source drip is so dang efficient that I wasn't going to see much flow at all through each of those 3 valves. I am currently planning on consolidating all of the drip into one zone, with a PVC header looping around to deliver water to each bed.

 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lawn Nut said:
Looks awesome! You've certainly put a lot of time into planning this properly.

I can't wait to see the outcome
Thanks! I've been massaging that AutoCAD drawing off and on for a few years, and I think my landscape is finally to a point where it isn't going to change much. I was also delaying the project because we were unsure how long we were going to live here, but last year we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage at 2.75%. That low rate makes moving much less attractive. :D I was a little bummed about the upcoming sidewalk project at first, but everything can be fixed, right? :nod:

One thing that hasn't changed over the course of all this is my interest in the MP Rotator nozzles. I'm not sure why, but I'm kind of looking forward to something a little different than traditional rotors and sprays.
 

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I love the garden hose couplers.

My connection is very low tech but the "installers" connected it to a metal stake in the ground to keep pressure off the plastic pvc pipe in the ground if the hose was pulled too hard. With your cart and my secured reel, it isn't much of a concern, but if someone were to connect a long hose to the coupler, is there a need to stabilize it? Would a good pull of the hose might break the pipe in the ground?
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dfw_pilot said:
I love the garden hose couplers.

My connection is very low tech but the "installers" connected it to a metal stake in the ground to keep pressure off the plastic pvc pipe in the ground if the hose was pulled too hard. With your cart and my secured reel, it isn't much of a concern, but if someone were to connect a long hose to the coupler, is there a need to stabilize it? Would a good pull of the hose might break the pipe in the ground?
Yeah, I plan to use some sort of stake to secure the couplers. Here is a detail drawing from Rain Bird showing one connected via swing joint. A tee on the mainline will be more secure, but you get the idea...

 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
gijoe4500 said:
Is there any concern with over watering parts of your lawn? Looks like some spots are double covered, while some are quadruple covered. Or is that not a big deal?
The short answer is no - it is actually highly desirable. Jess Stryker (irrigationtutorials.com) covers sprinkler coverage in his design tutorials here. To summarize what he has to say about this subject:

"The area watered by each sprinkler must overlap substantially the area watered by the adjacent sprinkler. This overlap may seem like a waste at first, but it is a very important necessity. Without this overlap it would be impossible to design sprinkler systems that provided uniform water coverage."

"Sprinklers are intentionally designed to require 100% overlap of watered areas. That means each sprinkler throws water ALL the way to the next sprinkler in each direction... That's right, 100% overlap of watered areas is REQUIRED or you will get dry spots!"

"One more time: The water from any single sprinkler should actually get the sprinklers on each side of it wet!"

Here is a graphic Stryker uses to illustrate how a sprinkler head's precipitation rate is not uniform across its entire radius (from 0 ft to __ ft), and why it is important to design a system with head-to-head spacing/coverage:


To back this up with a real-world example, here is a profile chart for an MP2000 published in Hunter's MP Rotator Design Guide. Note how the precipitation rate decreases across its radius:


The precipitation rates published in Hunter nozzle performance charts assume head-to-head spacing, and are provided for both square and equilateral triangular layouts:


If you really want to get into the weeds, this graphic explains why the precipitation rates are different for square and triangular layouts:


Sorry for the long-winded response, but this is something many people get wrong when designing a system - even some professional contractors and some of the "free design services". Their goal is to get you to select them to do your install or buy their components, and they know most people are more likely to choose a contractor or design that requires less money/fewer heads. I've had a few irrigation contractors look at my project over the years, and you would be surprised how many of them are complacent with a design that ensures nothing more than getting all of the grass wet. :?

The downside to that approach is the homeowner ends up with a system that must be run longer to avoid dry spots, which ends up overwatering in other areas. My design may look like it has a bunch of heads, but it will actually be very efficient. :thumbup:
 

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Ware said:
Lawn Nut said:
Looks awesome! You've certainly put a lot of time into planning this properly.

I can't wait to see the outcome
Thanks! I've been massaging that AutoCAD drawing off and on for a few years, and I think my landscape is finally to a point where it isn't going to change much. I was also delaying the project because we were unsure how long we were going to live here, but last year we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage at 2.75%. That low rate makes moving much less attractive. :D I was a little bummed about the upcoming sidewalk project at first, but everything can be fixed, right? :nod:

One thing that hasn't changed over the course of all this is my interest in the MP Rotator nozzles. I'm not sure why, but I'm kind of looking forward to something a little different than traditional rotors and sprays.
I have MP Rotators. I love them and wouldn't go with anything else. I have gone with the "1000" model everywhere as I didn't want to have each sprinkler covering a too large area. I even installed them at my sisters place aqnd my best friends place
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Lawn Nut said:
I have MP Rotators. I love them and wouldn't go with anything else. I have gone with the "1000" model everywhere as I didn't want to have each sprinkler covering a too large area. I even installed them at my sisters place aqnd my best friends place.
That's great to hear! :thumbup:

J_nick reminded me the other day that they were originally known as "Walla Walla Rotators". Evidently Hunter bought the rights to them somewhere along the way, but they are still manufactured by Nelson Irrigation in Walla Walla, Washington (USA).
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So here are a few shots from this morning. Everything is off to a good start, with the exception of my cable internet. They broke a line that wasn't marked with the trencher. :(

Another small surprise is we're using Rain Bird valves. I planned on using Hunter, but the supply house was out of the model with flow control. This is one of those things that wouldn't have happened if I was ordering parts online and doing the job myself, but it is what it is. At the end of the day it shouldn't make a difference.









 

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You will love the convenience. I recently changed my controller to the Rachio after reading reviews here. Have you seen the trenching technology that allows flexible tube to be pulled thru he soil without leaving a trench? https://youtu.be/64dMZDM20pM
 

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Bermudagrass, 3.75 acres, Arkansas
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
gijoe4500 said:
How were you watering? Single sprinkler on the end of a hose?
I was mostly using a couple of these sprinklers on these sprinkler bases. I don't have a large yard, and we're pretty fortunate to get some rain here throughout the summer, so I never really got in a bind, but this system will make life much easier. :thumbup:
 
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