Robert Lamoureux | Recommendations on sprinkler system upgrade 

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Robert, we have recently moved into an older home, which has a yard that hasn’t been well cared for, for what seems like most of its life. The sprinkler system is broken down, at best, and after digging up a small portion, clearly needs replacing. 

We’ve decided that we are going to take out the entirety of the grass (it’s mostly weeds), sprinkler system and random pavers, and start from scratch so we can have a beautiful yard in our new (to us) home. My question to you is regarding the sprinkler system that we will need.  

I’ve never before installed or worked on a sprinkler system. Is this something that a beginner can do with good results? I can do the hardscape that we want and I can prep the soil and lay the sod – these things I’ve done. What is your best advice? Thank you for any help you can offer.  

— Marty M. 

Answer: Marty, though sprinkler systems are fairly easy to install, it is more about the calculations for water volume and pressure, plus sloping and drainage, that are the biggest issues. You didn’t mention drainage, so as you are in the planning stages, I encourage you to install area drains even if you think they aren’t needed.  

We don’t often get torrential rains, but when we do, even by California’s standards, they can cause flooding of yards and a lot of home damage.  

The sprinkler system: I’d encourage you to reach out to a professional contractor who is versed in calculating the needs of your yard after it is planned out, so that the watering system is most efficient.  

If you are adding in planters and/or trees, first, don’t put trees near the structure, and second, they’ll likely plan drip or lower-volume sprinklers for any planters. 

There are many things to consider, so I suggest that you come up with a solid design on paper and then reach out to a few contractors for bids. Given that you can do all of the other work yourself, perhaps you can afford to hire out this work. Good luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].    

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