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Guide: The Basics of an Automatic Lawn Sprinkler System to Workings

Updated: Apr 26

The Basic Components of Lawn Irrigation Systems in South Texas

Installing a sprinkler system for your lawn in the South Texas region may seem like an easy task, however it is an intricate process. Combining electricity and hydraulics, individual sprinkler heads, PVC piping, electronic valves, and lots of wire all come together to create a system that waters your plants, trees, flowers and grass evenly. This allows your outdoor space to stay green and healthy all year round. Here are the bare minimum basic components needed in order to install a residential lawn sprinkler system.

These are the basic components that make up an automatic underground landscape sprinkler system.

Sprinkler System Controller
Smart Irrigation Controller

Irrigation Controller

The “brains” of the whole operation, it tells the rest of the system when and how long to water. You used to have to walk out to your garage to operate it, but today’s Smart technology lets you command it from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop from anywhere in the world. (As long as there’s Wifi)

Irrigation Control Valve Manifold
Irrigation Control Valve Manifold

Water Supply Lines

The water lines are buried underground and transport the water. One Main Line, connected to your water meter, supplies all the zone valves, which in-turn supply the Lateral Lines that then supply the sprinkler heads or drip lines that make up your irrigation system.

Irrigation System Backflow Preventer
Irrigation System Backflow Preventer

Backflow Preventer

The backflow prevention device, which is a State Required Component prevents contamination to our drinking water. Most sprinkler systems in South Texas are connected to potable municipal water supply lines. The water from the irrigation system could be contaminated with fertilizer, dirt, germs, bacteria, viruses or pesticides. Allowing water to flow back into the supply line contaminates the water, making it unsafe to use or drink. This what a backflow prevention device does, protects you and your neighbors.

Exploded view of an Irrigation Control Valve
Irrigation Control Valve

Irrigation Control Valves

Each valve in your sprinkler is like a faucet, which turns on and off, electronically, the water flow. Once the irrigation controller sends an electrical current to a valve, it opens and allows water to flow through the Lateral Lines and out the Sprinkler Heads.

4" Pop-Up Sprinkler Head
4" Pop-Up Sprinkler Head
4" Pop-Up Rotor Head
4" Pop-Up Rotor Head

Sprinkler Heads

Placed underground, heads pop up when the water flow reaches them and in turn water your lawn. They come in a variety of types and sizes, each has it’s advantages and are made to speifically water each and every part of your landscaping.

Watering Zones

Each area of your yard gets divided into sections called zones. These zones are set up so every part of your landscaping gets the perfect amount of water for its particular needs. The number of zones needed is determined by the size of the area and the amount of water pressure available through your water meter.

A well-designed Irrigation System combines a variety of sprinkler heads, at just the correct spacing, for your grass, shrubs, flower beds get the right amount of water, without any waste. These are the basic components of a normal Irrigation System. There are other components that you can add in order to make your sprinkler system a more efficient and Smart Irrigation System. I will cover these on the next post. Until then, as Andy “the Sprinkler Nerd “says “Happy Sprinkling.”

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