Return to the Landscape Design Forum | Post a Follow-Up

New home w/irrigation system, how do I plan my gardens?

Posted by LadyLatitude 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 11, 11 at 15:09

Hello! I need some advice!

I just moved in with my fiance and he has a beautiful house with a HUGE yard. It's a bit more than .25 acre. We want to get married in the backyard (YAY backyard wedding!). So, I'm eager to start making the backyard pretty! I've always grown plants, but only in pots, so I guess I'm a newbie to gardening outdoors in the ground.

The situation is a huge yard with two tiny trees and nothing else BUT, already has a sprinkler/irrigation system. Aren't most watering systems installed after gardens or landscaping is done? How do I proceed? I know where the heads are, but not the pipes. My fiance is REALLY nervous about me going to town making flower beds and retaining walls without us knowing where things are. Is there a way to find out? Is it okay to dig to a certain depth w/o knowing where the pipes are? Is there a way to find out where they are? Should we just build flower beds around the current location of the heads?

We are willing to invest in our home and have a yard that's pretty and inviting, but we would like to keep it on the cheaper side of life. I just want some advice on how to get started w/o hitting a pipe or causing an expensive repair.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New home w/irrigation system, how do I plan my gardens?

Sometimes a map of the system comes with the installation sometimes not but then a configuration for lawn is going to be different from a what you now plan so either add to what you have making cutting through a pipe essential or install new pipes but keeping the pump and controls. coming from the other end: if you know where the heads are and where the control box is the connections will most likely follow a straight line (no guarantee) and the depth will be less than you think.

RE: New home w/irrigation system, how do I plan my gardens?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 12, 11 at 2:21

Your question is so general that it is really difficult to get specific answers. Irrigation systems usually have separate valves/zones for different types of plantings, so you may need to adjust your design to the existing irrigation, or adjust the irrigation system to fit your intended garden design. As 1 example lawns are usually irrigated separately from garden beds and planting areas.

Regarding your question about locating irrigation lines, you can locate pipe directions by carefully digging around each head until you hit the pipe. If the pipe is cheap thin wall plastic pvc pipe, you will need to dig very carefully because the pipe cuts all too easily.

RE: New home w/irrigation system, how do I plan my gardens?

You're going to hit pipe. You will. Accept it, make peace with it, learn how to repair it, and move forward. A lot of people are terrified of their irrigation systems because they don't understand one simple fact: water is not moving through those pipes until the controller opens the valve for that zone. Worst case scenario, you shut that zone off until you fix the leak (or have a pro fix it). If you get super unlucky and hit the main line from the house to the valve boxes (this is the only line that is always charged) your system should have a main shutoff valve right at the house (may be on the backflow preventer).

Since you have nothing going on besides lawn and a couple trees, you will need to move heads as you put in beds. The lawn heads will need to be moved to the edge, and you may decide to add irrigation zones for the beds as well. So no matter what, you're going to want to either develop a relationship with an irrigation contractor or start learning about irrigation.

If you do any of it yourself, just remember the irrigator's prayer. "Lord, I know you wanted water to flow downhill. Please look the other way before I flip this switch. Amen."

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Landscape Design Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here