Sprinkler System First Steps

Sprinkler System First Steps

Posted on June 10, 2014

Hand Writing an Estimate for Garden MaintenanceAutomatic sprinkler systems are a wonderful convenience to have on your property.  No more dragging that hose around every week (or every other week in many areas) to water your lawn, flowerbeds, foundation, etc.!  You may be interested in a new sprinkler system because there isn’t one installed on your property, or the one you do have is in such a state of disrepair that it would actually be financially better to call it quits with the old one and start from scratch.  Whatever your reasons for wanting one, there are different options and possibilities when it comes to installing a new sprinkler system.

What to Think About Before Calling for Estimates

Will there be any significant alterations to your landscape?  If you are planning on adding new flower beds, changing the boundary of existing beds, building a shed, adding a pool, planting trees, building a patio, etc., then it is important to have this planned before installing a new system.  A new sprinkler system can be installed before or after a landscape change, but the main thing is that it is coordinated and that all of this information is communicated to the Licensed Irrigator who is stalling the sprinkler system.  In a perfect world, it is easiest to install a sprinkler system after major landscape changes have taken place, but before delicate things, such as flowers, are planted.

How many zones would you like to have?  There is not enough water pressure to water your entire property at one time.  Thinking of your lawn, typically a property has a couple zones in the front yard, a couple in the back yard, likely one on the side yard.  Large open areas can be covered by rotary spray heads that can cover a large area; however, they would need to be on a separate zone from the pop-up spray heads used along fences, walkways, in parkways, etc.  Flower beds and shrub beds tend to be on separate zones as they may need more or less water than the grass next to them.  Drip irrigation is a great option for your flower beds and foundation; however, they need to be on a separate zone from spray heads.  Good rule of thumb – same equipment, same zone, different equipment, different zone.  Are there areas that stay wetter longer than other areas?  If so, you may want these areas on a separate zone so that they are watered less often.  The Licensed Irrigator that you choose to install your sprinkler system will know about all of these items and can configure a system that works best for you and your property.

Have a Rough Budget in Mind.  A sprinkler system is a major purchase and a major undertaking on your property.  Many people have a bit of sticker-shock at the actual cost of a sprinkler system.  Installing a new sprinkler system can range anywhere from $2,000 to above and beyond $4,500.  The main thing to keep in mind with the price is that “it all depends.”  It all depends on property size, type of landscaping, the number of zones (more zones = more $$), the type and quality of products used, and if there are special designs to be implemented.

When You Call for Estimates

Get at least three estimates from different companies.  Most companies offer free estimates for new sprinkler system installations.  Also, most companies should ask that you be at your property when they come by to take measurements and make notes.  This is so that they can ask you questions about your property as well as what your needs, preferences and priorities are.  Have a vague idea of what you want.  An experienced and professional person should be able to effectively walk you through the process; however, it is good to have a feel for it before hand.  Be sure to ask if they are Licensed Irrigators.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires that a sprinkler system is installed by a Licensed Irrigator.  It is a criminal offence if they are not licensed.  Ask the people preparing the estimates lots of questions…products, time to complete, planned zones, permitting, backflow testing, etc.  It is ok to share the plans of one company with another during the estimate process, but keep the price a secret.  It’s important when it comes time to compare estimates, that you are comparing apples to apples.

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