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How to Work With a Master Control Valve Box

Learn how to install an underground valve box and start connecting the zone valves.

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install underground valve box
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Install the Valve Box

Slip the master control valve box over the backflow prevention device and master valve. The goal is to have the lid of the box flush with the ground, so add or remove dirt as needed. Place the lid upside down on the valve box (so it's easy to grab onto) and backfill (Image 1) until the dirt is placed firmly around the valve box (Image 2). You'll come back later and wire the master valve after the zone valves have been installed and wired.

Step 2: Divide the Lawn into Circuit Zones

Since all the sprinklers can't run simultaneously (because the water pressure would not be sufficient), it's necessary to divide the lawn into circuit zones. Each of these circuit zones will operate independently. In our case, our lawn is divided into four circuit zones: Zone 1 (Image 1) will water the right side of the lawn; Zone 2 (Image 2) the left side; Zone 3 (Image 3) the smaller area of lawn by the sidewalk; and Zone 4 (Image 4) the shrub and flowerbeds by the house. Each of these four zones will require a separate valve box.

Step 3: Install a Zone Valve

Dig a hole about 14" deep and 14" wide. Attach the electronic valve to a short piece of poly pipe using stainless-steel clamps. (Use two clamps for extra tightness.) Slide two clamps over the end of the main pipe. Attach coupler into the end of the short pipe and into the end of the main line. Crimp tightly using two stainless-steel clamps. Place valve box in hole and level, making sure the lid is flush to the ground. Backfill the dirt around the box and pack tightly. The wiring of the valves will be done after all of the valves and boxes have been installed.