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DIY Irrigation System

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  • Apr 12th, 2020 8:26 pm
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Mar 20, 2009
9332 posts

DIY Irrigation System

Am hoping to get some irrigation advice.

For a few years, I've been planning on designing and installing an irrigation system.
The goal, unsurprisingly, is to cover the basics for lowest price.
Years ago, I did all sorts of research, and came up with a pseudo plan.
Did not implement it because I decided I would redo the backyard landscaping first, which is now almost complete (started last summer, but did not finish before winter).

I'm a fairly handy DIYer, but have no experience with irrigation systems.
The property is average sized (for Etobicoke house built in 60s).

The priority is the vegetable garden - herb garden + containers - flowers - grass.
Watering the grass is the lowest priority, and this functionality would only be used in extreme cases of lengthy drought. My plan was to use a basic 4 zone system with a fairly basic controller/splitter attached to hose spout.

Question #1 - is it OK to mix drip and lawn spray systems, so long as they are on separate zones?

Zone 1 - Heavy Watering Vegetables in backyard (zone which will be used the most)
Zone 2 - Lighter Watering Vegetables (in backyard, including containers)
Zone 3 - Various Trees/Shrubs/herbs
Zone 4 - Lawn/flowers for both front and backyard.

Question 2 - As mentioned, watering grass would be infrequent. Zone 4 distribution would T split to front and back. In both front and back, I have grass, and flower garden. Would it be possible to install a split valve which would allow you to choose grass or flowers? To clarify - pipe would go to front of house, and then have a t splitter with a shutoff valve that would determine whether grass or flowers are watered. It would mostly be left and used for flowers, but if needed, could turn the valve and have grass watered instead of flowers? If possible, I would do this instead of dedicating an entire zone for grass (which would almost never be used)

Is the above a good idea, or am I missing something?

When I get a chance, will post my blueprint, which will have measurements and offer a better visualization.

Lastly - once I figure out what I want and what I need, was planning on ordering with IDC (Irrigation Direct Canada). Any other places to consider? Does anyone have experience with them? Are they helpful for DIYers, or annoyed when inexperienced noobs ask for help?

Presently, thanks to Covid, it is not possible to place order and pick up in Burlington. Delivery would be the only way, which seems to be more expensive. I still will need a few more weeks to finish landscaping, and am hoping emergency restrictions might lighten to allow for pick-up. If not, will just bite the bullet and order delivery.

Would very much appreciate feedback and advice from anyone with experience....
"When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author . . .” ― Lemony Snicket
3 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2624 posts
Alliston, ON
#1 - yes it's ok to mix drip and regular irrigation. You'll probably need a pressure reducing valve on the drip zone as drip usually only needs 10-20psi VS the standard 40-50+ psi that's usually in the lines. You'll likely need more than 4 zones if you want to do the front and backyard as the back lawn and front lawn and garden you'll want on separate zones for ez of control.
#2 - you can do it 2 ways, you can have the automatic valves for each front yard zone located in the backyard and run 2 lines to the front for the separate zones. Or you can run one main feed line to the front and have each zone valve near the front yard and run your pipe from there. If you're automating the watering process why would you want to have manual valves you have to remember to open and close to water certain areas. Automatic valves aren't that expensive in the end.

I wouldn't get to basic of a controller, after a bit of use you'll probably be wishing you had upgraded to something with a bit more control/ez of use
Jr. Member
Mar 1, 2017
105 posts
Your zones need to be split based on number of heads to keep the pressure up and add based on type of material being watered. You group similar water types in the same zone since they will run for the same duration.
You need to have a large water supply to your zone valve box. Usually 3/4 and right off your main water feed inside the house.
Make sure to include a valve for draining and blowing out the system.
For a controller look at the Rachio.


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