DIY Network

How to Trench and Install Pipe

After measuring and planning for the irrigation system, learn how to dig trenches and install pipes.

More in Outdoors

dig trenches and install irrigation pipes
  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Plan Where the Pipes Will Go

Plot the underground location of the main pipe and zone pipe. In this demonstration, the first run will be the main pipe, which will go from the control box to the water meter. The second run will be from the street toward the backyard, where homeowners will eventually expand the irrigation system. All the zone pipe will connect with main pipe as well as to each sprinkler head. Each zone will have a separate valve box -- in this case, a total of four watering zones and four valve controls.

Step 2: Calculate How Much Pipe Is Needed

Remember a good rule of thumb: Add and measure twice, order once. Add the total linear footage for poly-pipe and control wire. This will give a measurement for the mainline pipe, the zone-line pipe and the control wire. Add sprinkler heads and fittings (it's a good idea to order a bit extra, just in case -- you want to be sure you have enough, and you may be able to return any unused portions).

Step 3: Lay the Pipe

Now it's time to get some pipe into the ground. For this demonstration we're using a special piece of equipment called a vibratory plow (Image 1). The plow actually slices the ground (Image 2) and pulls the poly pipe underground at a depth of about 8". You can rent this machine or a standard trench-cutting machine for the job. Based on the scale drawing and the location of the main and zone pipes, install all the necessary pipe in the following way: When you're using the vibratory plow, start by digging a 2' trench where a sprinkler head will be located. Using the plow end, pull the necessary pipe underground to the next sprinkler head location and repeat the process.

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