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Want to install an inground irrigation (sprinkler) system?

The idea of an in-ground irrigation system appeals to a lot of people. An automated machine to water your lawn so you don’t have to! And a well installed irrigation system really does take a lot of the worry and hassle out of watering, which can only result in better grass.
So let’s assume you have decided that an in-ground irrigation system is the next step you want to take towards your ideal lawn. You want a good quality one, and you don’t want to pay more money than you need to. Here are the questions you need to ask, and what you can expect.

1) Pick an installer who understands what you are irrigating and why. A lawn dominated by a mature maple tree has very different needs than one that has a wildflower garden instead, and different again from an all-turf lawn in the city with high foot traffic than a larger lawn in the city or an acreage in the country. You want an irrigation system that properly hydrates all your plants – not one that just gets them wet. Since we are a lawn & tree care company and not just an irrigation installer, we’ve studied the water needs of grasses and trees for over 20 years. So we know what questions to ask to learn what results you expect, and we have the experieence to know what set up will best benefit your grass and other plants so you get those results.

2) Make a plan for the lawn and garden you want to have. Irrigation is a big investment so if you are planning to do landscaping make sure you and your installer are planning your sprinklers for what will be growing, not just what is growing right now.

3) Find out what warranties are available. Your installer should warrant their work for at least 2 years if they are maintaining the system also, but the manufacturers of the piping, heads, valves and control boxes all offer generous warranties for their products – quality lasts.  An average budget for a typical suburban lawn and for a good quality system will cost about $3300.00-$3900.00 including all parts and labour.

4) Work with your installer to come up with a plan that meets your budget and needs. A lot of things influence what an irrigation installation will cost:

  • The number of Zones – that is the number of regions which can be independently adjusted and turned on and off.
  • The number of heads and rotors – the more you have the finer control over the shape of the irrigated area, but they can drive cost and complexity up quickly.
  • The depth of the buried pipe – deeper pipe is safer from damage but costs more to install. A minimum depth of 8 inches or more is sensible.
  • The installation of valve boxes – properly installed valve boxes will make the long-term future of your system less stressful by both protecting key valves and components, and making them easier to service. Spending a little more here for durability and security will save you and your installer a lot of headaches over the life of your system.
  • The controller – irrigation technology is progessing rapidly and so are the laws that govern water use and efficiency.  Make sure your controller allows you to conserve water, is expandable and can be upgraded with newer enhancements as the need arises.
  • Planning ahead – being aware of sources of long-term wear and tear on a system and planning to minimize them in the initial design. Choosing a more durable stainless steel component over a plastic one in a hard-to-service area or placing a valve box slightly farther away to ensure run off is not going to collect in it and freeze over the winter. Moving things up a notch here and there at the beginning can save you a lot later.

The saying “pay now or pay later really” applies, our business thrives on systems installed for $1500.00- $2500.00 that need expensive upgrades and repairs to the system, let alone the costly problems created to the plants  while inadequate and improper watering promotes turf insects and diseases, all caused by an inferior system…

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