How to Install a Smart Sprinkler System: DIY or Contractor

Now that you have your Irrigreen system let’s walk through the steps to install the sprinkler heads and controller box, connect the water, and set up the app. Soon enough, your smart sprinkler will be up and running!

Pre-Installation Checklist

With a new project ready to be tackled, we’re sure you’re excited to get started, but before digging up your yard, take care of these items first.

  • Call 811 to locate all underground utilities and electrical lines. They will come to your property and mark where everything is buried so you can trench without worrying about hitting anything.
  • Unbox the Irrigreen digital sprinkler system, ensuring it contains all the parts.
  • Purchase the needed supplies not included with the system to construct the water supply line feeding the sprinkler heads. You’ll need to buy 1” (or bigger) PVC pipe, 1” t-connectors with female pipe threads, fittings, elbows, a PVC cutter, Teflon tape, and PVC glue. While optional, installing a shut-off valve and a 6” valve control box by each sprinkler is also helpful.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Installing an Irrigreen Smart Sprinkler System

A typical Irrigreen system uses 80% less piping and 87% fewer sprinkler heads than a conventional, automatic sprinkler system. So, installing an Irrigreen smart sprinkler is much easier and quicker.

If you have questions or are unsure what to do, you can access how-to videos in the Quick Install Guide.

1. Check the water system

Before you get started, you must check your water supply to ensure it meets the Irrigreen system requirements.

To run an Irrigreen smart sprinkler, you’ll need the following:

  • Constant water pressure between 40 and 80 psi
  • A minimum water flow of 8 GPM
  • Clean water without particulates

    How to measure water pressure

    Water pressure is essential, as the psi directly impacts how far the heads throw water. A minimum force is needed, and higher pressures equals greater distance. Knowing the exact pressure will help you determine sprinkler head placement.

    The most accurate way to check water pressure is by using a pressure gauge from a local hardware store or your favorite online retailer.

    Attach the gauge to a hose bib outside your house to measure the pressure and turn on the spigot. Then, read where the needle falls on the indicator.

    Based on the psi reading, you can determine the achievable maximum spray distance and place the heads accordingly.

    How to measure the flow rate

    The easiest way to measure how much water comes out and how quickly it does so is by conducting what is known as the bucket test. All you need is a 5-gallon plastic pail and a stopwatch.

    Place the empty plastic pail beneath the hose spigot, turn on the water at full pressure, and time how long it takes to fill the bucket. If you fill the bucket within 45 seconds, the flow is at least eight gallons per minute.

    Is there particulate in the water?

    If you’ve noticed grit or sand clogging faucet aerators or the water looks a bit murky when you fill a glass, there’s a good chance you have particulate matter. When left to flow through the sprinkler lines, this sediment will clog the sprinkler heads.

    Any questionable water source requires installing a 500 Micron water filter to prevent sediment from moving through the lines. It’s best to install the filter somewhere easily accessible to make changing it simpler.

    2. Determine sprinkler head placement

    Now that you’ve tested the water pressure and know approximately how far your sprinkler heads can spray, it’s time to determine their placement. Before digging and installing heads, ensure the water can hit the farthest corners of their zones.

    Some tips for head placement:

    • Use a separate head for zones with different watering requirements (flowerbeds, highly shaded areas, etc.)
    • Don’t overlap sprays or zones
    • Place one head per zone
    • Remember that heads have a minimum throw distance of 5 feet
    • For zones less than 10’ wide, place a head along the edge instead of in the center
    • After placing your heads, you may have to tweak their location to meet minimum distance requirements

    Starting at the edge of a watering zone, you’ll want to take your tape measure and come in the maximum distance your psi supports. So, if your water supply sustains a 30’ span, you’ll want to measure from the edge of the property and come in thirty feet. This will ensure the heads reach the furthest corner.

    Once you set one sprinkler, move to an adjoining zone until you’ve covered the entire watering area.

    At this point, you are only marking the layout, so set the heads on the lawn or mark the location with spray paint or a landscape flag.

    3. Choose a location for the controller

    You’ll only need to select where to install the controller right now. The installation will come later. Choosing the location first helps you run the cable from the controller box to the first sprinkler head.

    The sprinkler box needs:

    • Close access to an outdoor electric outlet
    • Strong Wi-Fi signal (at least 4 bars)

      4. Locate and tap into the main water line

      First, you need to find an access point to the home’s water mainline to tap into to provide water to your Irrigreen system.

      The main line is typically found near a spigot, the irrigation shut-off valve, or the irrigation valve box if you already have a sprinkler system installed.

      You can have more than one connection point if it makes installing your system easier.

      Once you find the mainline, shut off the water supply at the main shutoff. Cut the mainline beneath ground level and glue in a tee connector. Make sure to check the local backflow and anti-siphon valve regulations.

      Installing a shut-off valve just past the tee connector is also helpful. It makes it easier to shut the water off to the digital sprinkler system if it needs maintenance or repair.

      5. Trench the supply pipe and sprinkler heads

      Now it’s time to start the digging! Using your head placement as a guide, trench the ground everywhere you need to run the 1” supply pipe. Start where you tapped into the main water line, digging to the closest sprinkler head. Then, trench from that head to each subsequent one across the yard.

      Run the trench about 2 feet from the sprinkler head and then trench a short offshoot to the head. At each head, dig a hole approximately 13” deep to set the heads, but do not bury the heads or backfill the trench until the entire system is up and running.

      Irrigation lines for residential sprinkler systems should be buried eight to twelve inches deep. The depth depends on your local climate’s freeze cycles and frost severity. The Irrigreen sprinkler cable will run in the same trench as the 1” PVC supply line.

      6. Build the supply line

      With the trench dug around the property, you can move on to building the supply line framework for the whole system.

      Starting from the junction at the main water line, begin laying the pipe, adding fittings to connect the lengths of PVC in the trench and elbows to make the necessary 90-degree turns.

      At the junction where you want the head to come off the supply line, install a T-connector and run a small section of PVC pipe with a fitting on the end or a shut-off valve. The shut-off valve is optional, but installing one allows you to shut the water off to one head versus shutting the entire system off when you need to perform repairs.

      7. Connect flex pipe to supply line

      Once the supply line is constructed, install the flex pipe that connects the sprinkler heads to the supply line.

      Take a 12-inch flex hose and wrap the 1” end (the big side) securely with two to three layers of Teflon tape. Screw it onto the PVC fitting or shut-off valve, not cross-threading the connection.

      Once the flex hose fits snugly, tighten it until it is wrench-tight.

      8. Flush the flex hose line

      To ensure no PVC glue residue, dirt, or debris in the flex pipe, you must flush the line before connecting the sprinkler head.

      Point the end of the flex pipe out of the trench and turn the water on, letting it run for 3 minutes.

      Operating the system with unflushed debris in the 1” pipe of the flex pipe voids the warranty.

      9. Connect sprinkler head

      For this step, do not use any Teflon tape. Thread the sprinkler head onto the small end of the flex hose, taking care not to cross-thread the connection. Make sure it’s firmly hand-tightened, but there’s no need to tighten this connection with a wrench.

      Once connected, turn the water on using the shut-off at the t-connector to check for leaks.

      10. Connect Irrigreen cables to the sprinkler head

      With the water running to the head, it’s time to hook up the electrical components. Start by using a key or a flat-head screwdriver to pop the clips off the two cables running from the sprinkler head.

      Remove the black cap from the cable coming from the control and the red cap from the line labeled “this end towards the controller.” The other cable will be used if you need to daisy-chain more heads.

      Put the male and female ends together, line up the arrows, and then push them together until tight.

      After you’ve connected the cables to the sprinkler heads, use the CableLok clips to protect all connections. Place the top of one over the connectors, aligning the ridges on the bottom of the CableLok and the top of the connector, then snap it into place. Repeat with the bottom CableLok.

      The CableLoks prevent water from getting into the connections and causing corrosion, which can short out the electrical components in the wiring.

      Repeat the process if you need to daisy-chain more sprinkler heads. Connect the second cable attached to the head to the cable running to the next sprinkler.

      11. Add valve boxes (optional)

      To help make maintenance and repairs more accessible, you can install a 6” valve box next to each of the heads on your system, covering the shutoff valve. Coil the excess sprinkler cables and connectors inside the valve box.

      12. Mount and wire the controller box

      First, remove the top bracket from the back of the controller and set the bracket against the wall where you want to mount the controller box. The fold should be at the top and face outward. Ensure the bracket is level, and then attach the bracket to the wall using the included screws.

      Once attached to the wall, put the controller box against it, lining up the screws on the back of the controller with the holes on the top of the bracket. Slide the controller down until it’s secure, and put screws in the two holes on the bottom bracket to hold the controller in place.

      After the controller is mounted to the wall, plug the AC adapter into an outdoor-rated electrical box and attach the sprinkler cable from the controller into the cable running to the first sprinkler head.

      13. Download and set up the app

      Search the App Store (or scan the QR code in the quick install guide) or Google Play for “Irrigreen 2”, and download the app to your smartphone or tablet.

      To pair the controller to your app, press the green “Add Controller” button and allow app access to your location and camera. Scan the barcode on the left side of the controller box and enter your WiFi credentials.

      14. Verify sprinkler connections

      To make sure all of the sprinklers are properly connected and are being picked up by the system, open the app and press “More” on the bottom right of the screen. Then press “Test Sprinkler Wiring” and “Test All Connections.”

      The system will perform a self-check and ensure it has an electrical connection to each sprinkler head. If everything is hooked up correctly, you’ll see a green dot next to the zone, showing the head is working. If you get an error, check the cables and wiring connections on the specified sprinkler, ensuring everything is tight.

      15. Bury heads and valve boxes

      With all the sprinkler heads verified, go back through the yard, bury the heads, and backfill the trenches.

      Set the sprinkler heads so the tops are about ½” above grade (the soil surface, not the grass) and parallel to the ground. This height is low enough to avoid hitting them with the lawnmower but high enough to keep dirt and debris from plugging the heads.

      If your sprinkler head is on a slope, you want to split the difference between burying the head parallel to the surface and keeping it perpendicular to the flex hose line. Bury it at about half the slope angle.

      Bury the valve boxes completely so grass grows over it. Tamp the soil down by walking on it or use a lawn roller to level it.

      16. Calibrate system

      Before setting the watering zones and schedule, calibrate the system.

      • Open the app on your smartphone or tablet.
      • Tap the “Zones” at the bottom of the screen and then select “Digital Zone 1.”
      • Press the green “Recalibrate” rectangle and follow the on-screen instructions for calibrating the system.
      • Repeat for each zone.

      17. Set watering zone shape

      After calibrating your Irrigreen system, the next step is to set the shape of each watering zone so your sprinkler heads know where to water.

      The system will prompt you to input individual watering points along the edge of each zone, and then it creates a dot-to-dot map to establish the perimeter. With each point, you’ll be able to fine-tune where the water is sprayed.

      • Open the app on your smartphone or tablet.
      • Tap the “Zones” at the bottom of the screen, and then select “Digital Zone 1.”
      • Press “Set Watering Shape” and follow the on-screen instructions for setting the zone watering shape.
      • Put in individual watering points, continuing to add points until you have drawn the whole zone.

      Always set points about 6” in from the zone's outer edge. The water will seep out to the edges and cover that remaining distance. Set a “0” point at corners or edges where you want the head to stop watering.

      18. Set up a watering schedule

      Lastly, it’s time to get your smart sprinkler system up and going! Yet again, you’ll follow the app's intuitive, user-friendly on-screen instructions to create a watering schedule.

      On the bottom of the app screen, press “Schedule” and “+” to create a new schedule. Enter the details, including a schedule name, start time, and days.

      Once you create the schedule, you can turn on the “Auto Water” feature to let the system adjust when and how much to water based on local weather conditions, or you can input the water amount yourself.

      19. Let it run

      There you have it! Your new Irrigreen smart sprinkler system is completely installed and set up. Sit back and enjoy the ease of automatic watering while saving water and money!

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