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Guide to Buying Your Next Lawnmower
Increasing Garage Storage Space
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Water Gardens: A Touch of Paradise at Home
Installing a Sprinkler System
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What Kind of Sprinkler Do You Need ?
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Installing a Sprinkler System

Maintaining the beauty of your lawn is an important part of maintaining the overall appeal of your home. There's a lot involved with this, too. Quality landscaping means fertilizing, trimming, mowing, weeding, and more. But of all of the tasks involved in maintaining your lawn, which would you think is the most involved?

Would you believe watering? It's true--if done right. Because when done right, watering your lawn requires more than just five minutes running a hose over it a couple of times. You have to pick the most strategic location for a top quality sprinkler. Then you have to install it. Finally, you have to set each sprinkler so that it runs only as long as it needs to run, and sprays exactly where it needs to spray. If you get this wrong, you could wind up paying too much on your water bill. But if you get it right, your lawn will be a beautiful, finely-manicured work of horticultural art.

Before you shop for the sprinkler, you need to arm yourself with some information. The first bit of data you need is the water-flow rate on your property. How many gallons will your faucet put out when going at maximum? You can figure this out easily. Get a container that will hold exactly one gallon, and place it beneath your outside water faucet. Turn it on at maximum thrust. Using a watch with a second hand, find out the number of seconds required to fill the container. Divide this number by sixty and you'll have your gallons per minute. Write down this number.

The next information you need to find out is the exact layout you want for your sprinkler system. Remember, you want to provide water for your entire lawn, and you want to avoid having two sprinklers water the same area. Jot down a diagram on a piece of paper.

Finally, you need to call City Hall and find out what kind of codes are in place that might impact how much you can water or what kinds of sprinklers you can install. Now you're ready to shop for your sprinkler system. As you do, you'll find a variety of heads. There are some that will shoot out a direct stream, while others spew a fine mist. Consult with a lawn-care expert about what works best with the type of vegetation in your yard. The most important thing, though, is to be consistent. Use the same type sprinkler throughout your lawn.

Now that you've selected the head that you're considering, take it to a knowledgeable hardware representative at the store. Ask if he knows how much area this particular head will cover. This will give you an idea of exactly how many sprinklers you need to buy for your entire lawn. Remember to have the number you wrote down earlier regarding your water-flow rate. This might help the hardware representative to better advise you.

The hardware clerk should also be able to help you figure out how much PVC or CPVC pipe you need, as well as how many connectors, elbow, and T-fittings you need to buy. The clerk will probably advise you that the width of the PVC pipe is greatly affected by your water-flow rate--another reason to have that number with you.

After you're done at the hardware store, and before you start digging, call the local utilities. You need to make sure that it's safe to dig in the area, lest you accidentally hit an underground ca ble or gas pipe. Once you get the utilities' blessing, you can begin the actual process of installing the sprinkler system. This might take a couple of days, but by taking the careful, well-planned approach, you'll ensure that your sprinkler system will give you years of service and a nice, lush lawn.

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