Above Ground Sprinklers

5 days ago

Hello all,

I am looking to install an above ground sprinkler system in my yard. I am choosing an above ground system because my yard is in really bad shape, and would need some aerating in the future, so to avoid the sprinkler heads and lines, I want an above ground install. I currently have using 4 way faucet splitter off my outdoor faucet, and Rainbird heads connected to 5/8 25ft and 50 ft water hoses. I currently have 5 heads coming off splitter, and 5 heads coming off another splitter. I wanted to use another splitter line for a different section of my grass, but when I turn it on, the water pressure is low, and causes the other sprinkler heads not to open fully.

Would it be better if I use the irrigation tubing instead of 5/8 water hoses? Would that allow more water to reach the sprinkler heads?

Comments (15)

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    "... and would need some aerating in the future..."

    Aeration, barring having trucks riding over the soil, is almost never actually required. I've heard some extremely uncompelling arguments to contrary, but would really love to know when nature brings in the aeration equipment post-rainfall, personally...

    That having been said, stick with hoses for now, given the lack of data points you gave us--your pressure at the head, and your water volume per hour/minute at the head, plus the water pressure/volumes at the sprinkler heads.

    Unless you know all that data and can make a very good set of calculations determining that the frictional losses in the hoses are the cause of your low's not worth the upgrade and the trouble.

    Off the cuff, five heads per zone already sounds extremely high unless each is very low output (and each zone pretty small). That can be problematic, in and of itself, in terms of wind interference with the water streams, but that's another story entirely.

  • Christopher C Nc

    Would it be better if I use the irrigation tubing instead of 5/8 water hoses? Would that allow more water to reach the sprinkler heads?

    No. The narrower dripline will decrease the water volume and pressure that gets to the sprinkler heads. It sounds like your are trying to run too many sprinklers and sections at a time. You can only water one zone at a time and each zone will have a maximum number of heads, depending on type that it can run at full output.

  • dchall_san_antonio

    Where do you live?

    What kind of grass do you have?

    Back in 2012 Morpheuspa finally convinced me to "aerate" using a surfactant instead of core aerators. I had core aerated before but never really saw any improvement in my lawn. My soil then was was pretty hard, so I read morph and 'listened.' His suggestion was to spray the soil with a special recipe of soap ingredients that he had put together on another forum. I did not want to have a lifetime supply of soap ingredients in my garage, so I decided to try something I already had in my house - shampoo. It worked great! I sprayed the lawn at a rate of 3 ounces of shampoo per 1,000 square feet. It cost me about 60 cents. I did that once in 2012, and when I moved away in 2015, the soil will still very soft when it rains and firm after it dried out. I will never core aerate again.

    As for your sprinklers, I have tried every sprinkler on the market since 1959, twice and sometimes three times. After all that I have settled on oscillator type sprinklers because they are the only type that gives perfectly uniform coverage to my rectangular lawns spaces. Rainbird type impact sprinklers are extremely fiddly to get even coverage, and once you do that, then you have to pull out another sprinkler to cover the corners. Or you need several to overlap like you're talking about. When you look at the spray pattern on an impact, it sends the entire stream to the circumference of the circle and gets almost no water to the interior area of the circle. There is a flow interrupter that screws in and out of the stream to make the stream splash into the interior. That is the fiddly part. I have one oscillator sprinkler with no adjustments except for sweep. Actually I have one sprinkler in front and one in back. When I had a 30,000 square foot yard, then I had four oscillator sprinklers (each side of the house), so I did not have to keep moving them.

    If you decide to try an oscillator sprinkler, get one that costs about $20. The ones under $10 are crap with the mechanical linkage that can break right out of the box. The more expensive ones have a turbo mechanism inside the guts. That seems to work reliably, even at very low pressures, for years.

    Oscillator sprinklers can seem to be slow in applying water. That's fine. They cover more area anyway. Mine takes 8 hours to apply 1 inch of water. Again, fine. There are no dry spots, and the job is done. Give it a try before you commit to a more expensive rig.

  • wacokid

    OT, but I can send you some of our wild hogs from Texas to show you when nature brings in the aeration equipment. This year I have never seen it so bad.

  • PRO

    You are running too many sprinklers at one time. There are all kinds of Rainbird heads, so mentioning the brand says nothing about the water volume each uses. It will not help much, if at all, to use a different kind of pipe. Instead of running these off of manifolds, you should be electrically valving the different zones and running them off of an irrigation clock. To run them manually would be a time consuming operation.

  • roysterfam

    Thank you all. I currently have 5 Rain Bird 32SA gear drive rotors (19'-32' spray distance), 4 Rain Bird 1804VAN pop up sprinklers (8'-15' spray distance), and 1 Orbit 55662 Voyager II pop up gear drive rotor sprinkler (25'-52' spray distance). I also have various 15'-50' 5/8 hoses. I plan on purchasing a 2-zone water timer to water the grass at least 3 times a week in the early am. Sorry but I don't know the pressure at the head nor the water volume per hour/minute. I am new to all of this and just wanted to beef up my grass before the summer.

    My soil seems pretty good to hold a good amount of water, I was looking at aeration to help give my soil more nutrients to help the patches and low spots of grass of I have in my yard.

    Once I purchase the timer, I will adjust the to water the grass one zone at a time to help with the water output through the sprinklers.

    I will look into the shampoo effect on the grass as well. I am probably running up against the clock to aerate my grass here in the North East before the temperature heats up. Since my yard is oddly shaped, having grass on all sides of my home that have different problems in each section, not to mention a long rectangular section of grass in the back of the home, I will look into the oscillator one as well.

    Thank you all for your help, any more suggestions or advice so I can do this on my own and not pay someone to do it, will be greatly appreciated. I can provide pics/vids if that helps as well. Thank you.

  • dchall_san_antonio

    Shampoo can be done any day of the year. I think it works better/faster during the rainy season.

    Whatever problems you have on any side of the yard, overwatering is not the solution. Deep and infrequent watering is often all that is needed.

  • PRO

    I could see shampoo making sprays better at not beading up and rolling off leaves, thereby being better at sticking. But I cannot see shampoo working to entren air into the soil, while the soils sits there. The shampoo does nothing to create pockets of air. If you could add food scraps to the yard, worms would come and they would aerate for free, (works best in mulch bed.) Over time/ Shampoo alone, being water soluble, would run on and through soil over time, carrying itself and nutrients to lower levels, out of reach of plants and their roots.

  • wacokid

    Here's a picture of the "aeration" by the hogs behind this trap.

  • roysterfam

    Thank you. I mainly wanted to install the sorinkler system for when I install new grass seed, or fertilizer, I’m not standing over it myself. So if shampoo nor aerafimf wont work, how can I address the bare spots, low and thin areas, mole/gopher holes, and weeds?

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    Shampoo does work. Yardvaark's ignorance of the chemistry notwithstanding.

  • roysterfam

    I heard of the Jerry Baker method which is a mix of different solutions. I guess it won’t be that alone to fix my grass, or will it?

  • dchall_san_antonio

    Re Jerry Baker: Back in the early 2000s we mostly thought of him as a bit of a crackpot. Today I'm thinking he was way ahead of his time. Baker's potions included ammonia, a known fertilizer. They included Coca Cola, which at the time was unknown as a source of food the the then-unknown soil microbes. Now that we know about soil microbes, Coke is food. They included beer, which, ditto the Coke feeding idea. They included dish soap, which seemed to be totally out of the blue, but today we know it as a surfactant allowing water to penetrate the soil deeper. They included mouthwash, which I'm still not sure has an application, but he thought it did. Mouthwash only has 20% alcohol, so it's not good for much. It smells good.

    Regarding a surfactant as a soil softener. This is going to get a little sciency, so if that's not your bag, stop reading now. Yardvaark is right in that the surfactant itself does not open the soil. At least I think he's right about that. That limited perspective is what kept me from trying shampoo for a couple years after I first read about it (on another forum). But member after member wrote in to proclaim the benefits of morph's soap powders, so I had to start paying attention. What the surfactant does is allow water to penetrate deeper into the soil where temperatures are cooler. The infusion of moisture to deeper temperatures allows the entire soil mass to moderate its temperature and hold temp for much longer. Even with evaporation at the surface, there is still moisture down lower in the soil. This sets up the perfect environment for the beneficial microbes, particularly the fungi, to thrive. One thing we all know about fungi is what bread mold looks like inside a bag. Remember that going from one green spot on the bread to a bag full of trillions of fungal strands (called hypha or hyphae (plural)) takes only a couple days. There are literally miles and miles of hyphae inside a bag of moldy bread. This is what happens in the soil. Those hyphae literally shoot out in all directions in the soil. When the hyphae are moist, they swell slightly and push the soil particles apart. The soil bacteria step in and exude their slime which later hardens forming a crust like material. This is soil structure. The hyphae then shrinks as the soil dries out allowing air and future moisture to enter the soil. These openings become the capillary structure within the soil. Trillions upon trillions of hyphae in the soil swell and shrink to open trillions upon trillions of tiny holes allowing air into the soil. Compare this to a few thousand holes punched by a core aerator. So the surfactant itself does not open the soil. It is the microbes reacting to the surfactant that open the soil. Aeration with shampoo costs roughly 10 cents per 1,000 square feet, it works, and it does not interfere with any sprinkler system. I would suggest Yardvaark give it a try before commenting on its value. (and if he had St Augustine, I would suggest the same for corn meal).

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    " Yardvaark is right in that the surfactant itself does not open the soil. "

    That's not absolutely correct but again, the chemical situation gets to be rather complicated. Surfactants can be anionic (negative charge on one end), cationic (positive), amphoteric (carrying both charges, also called zwitterionic), or non-ionic. The majority on the market are anionic because "cheap, effective, and harmless." (Sidenote: companies that advertise that anionic surfactants are somehow all carcinogenic are lying through their tiny little dishonest minds).

    Your liquid and cake soap is anionic; it's generally sodium- or potassium-based, but ammonium-based is certainly not unheard-of and there are plenty of others.

    One can certainly do the full-scale research if one wants, it's way beyond the scope of a simple post here (and frankly, the rabbit hole is extremely deep; I have two printouts for simple soap recipes I'm tweaking sitting next to me that list just a few basic fatty acids and characteristics I work with; seven acids, and five characteristics). General surfactants can do many things. The ones we're interested in are particularly used to interface between oils and water, and to remove soil and dirt from human skin and hair. Because, surprise, human skin and hair and soil and water aren't all that different.

    The sodium, potassium, and so on part is the bit that renders the surfactant or soap (a soap is a type of surfactant with special characteristics, specifically always the salt of a fatty acid) soluble in water. This will bind to the soil and either hang around or get washed away, depending, over time. It's not a vast amount of any resource and doesn't need to be calculated.

    The "tail" of the molecule, fairly weakly bound, is of more interest to us. It's hydrophobic. It hates water. It snags onto a soil particle's and twists and folds desperately searching for a way to get away from water. The most likely way to do that is to find another soil particle and bury its tail into that, sticking together into a tiny ped. And so on.

    Now go look up the word "flocculation" as it applies to soil particles.

    I'll wait.

    And that's why, over time, shampoo, soap, and the like actually help out by aerating the soil all by themselves. Plus, of course, that fatty acid you just added is food for bacteria, which will then come along, eat that, and make nice little homes. They're better at doing the job of aeration anyway.

  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)

    " I heard of the Jerry Baker method which is a mix of different solutions. I guess it won’t be that alone to fix my grass, or will it? "

    Not as such, no. It won't fix a resource shortage, or a pH that's wrong, or a thousand other things. It doesn't feed your lawn in the broad sense.

    Spraying a couple cans of Coke over the lawn won't hurt, but certainly isn't going to magically fix your lawn. It's only a little phosphoric acid and sugar, after all, in water.

    When we discuss using shampoo, we're not saying a single app of 2 oz per thousand square feet will fix everything. It won't. But you might notice a slight difference.

    Combine it with organic feeding and things will repair faster than they otherwise would have. Get a soil test, fix what's wrong, and things improve faster still. And so on.

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