How to Install an Underground Irrigation System

Robert MaxvillInstalling a lawn sprinkler system or underground irrigation system can greatly benefit your lawn. Growing landscapes need water to be kept alive. Depending entirely on natural rainfall is not usually the best way to keep your landscape at its healthiest because there often is no rainfall when you want. A properly set up lawn sprinkler system conserves water by directing it at the specific places at your preferred time. Here are a few tips on how to install a lawn sprinkler system.


Installing a lawn sprinkler system is a good way to save money. However, it’s not the easiest do-it-yourself project. You need to be purchasing components and planning where and how to put it. Keep in mind that installing a lawn sprinkler is not really an easy Sunday project. It needs more or less a week to complete with all the fine tuning.

The soil type is a factor that affects the efficiency of the irrigation. Soil that is sandy absorbs more water quickly than soil that is clay. If you ever supply more water than the soil can take, runoff will happen. The type of grass you have in your lawn is also a factor as well. Some grass varieties need more water to sustain them, and some don’t. It is advised that you research for these factors.

Before installing a permanent lawn sprinkler system, you’d need to:

  • See if your local area needs a permit to build an irrigation system
  • You need to check if there are underground utilities before you start digging. Call your local utility company for info. Because if you dig too hard and end up puncturing a gas pipe, you could be charged or arrested.
  • Research your local watering ordinances.

In order to buy the right materials, you’ll need to determine your specific:

  • PSI or water pressure per square inch
  • Size of water meter and size of pump
  • Size of water service line
  • Water flow rate in GPM(gallons per minute)
  • Backflow prevention type required by local code
  • Design mapping your lawn and the flow of which the water will go

When you have all that in check, you shall be ready to install your lawn sprinkler system.


Place flags around where the sprinkler heads shall be placed. Trenches needed for a lawn sprinkler system are shallow. 6 to 12 inches depending on freeze cycles in your area. Trenches must be equal in height. If a head is lower than some, it will reduce the efficiency of sprinklers because of gravity.


Assembling the lawn sprinkler system is easy once you have all the pre-planning done. Lay the pieces out first. Pre-assemble parts before putting them in the trench.


The valve, which open and close pipes for the water can be connected directly to your faucet or by adding a compression tee fitting and an additional valve from the service line to have control of the sprinkler system independently from the house system.


1) Observe the ground as part of your maintenance. Don’t wait for brown spots to appear before looking for clogged sprinkler pipes or head.

2) You want 1 to 2″ of water per week depending on your landscape. Measure by placing a cup in the area and letting the system run for a cycle and measure the water in the cup. This will tell you how long you need to have your system running to get the right amount.



Irrigation in Texas is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
MC-178 PO BOX 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087
TCEQ’s website is