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How to make a cheap, simple lawn sprinkler system



Tyler Lizenby / CNET


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Owning a suburban home has its advantages. Watering your lawn constantly is not part of that. You have to spend several hours each week standing behind a garden hose or running a sprinkler. If you don't do that, your grass will suffer and weeds will certainly invade. Of course, one way to prevent this job is to drop thousands onto an underground irrigation system, but there is another way.

Here is my quick and dirty do-it-yourself method that is actually very effective, but costs less than $ 100. All you need for this setup for watering lawns is an outside tap, a garden hose, a few ready-made parts and a remarkable sprinkler gadget.

The problem with lawns

Actually there is not one but much. The biggest obstacle to good lawn health is a lack of regular watering. I noticed this problem with my own lawn during the long dog days of summer (late July and August) when the weather here in Louisville, Kentucky, is the hottest, with high humidity but not enough rain.

It was within these pieces when small parts of my green lawn began to turn brown. Although it was not a sign of real grass death, it did indicate that my lawn was under stress and responded by sleeping. This paves the way for aggressive invaders such as weeds, insects and other parasites.

Because I am not lucky enough to own a house with a nice irrigation system, I have combated the problem by watering with a cheap oscillating sprinkler. Unfortunately, the limited range forced me to move the sprinkler at least twice, sometimes three times a week, to effectively cover my entire garden.

Another pain was that unless I rose in water at the crack of dawn, I would lose much of my effort to evaporate under the hot day sun. That would do it or I would encourage the growth of unpleasant fungi and fungi if I ran the sprinkler too close to nightfall.

MacGyver-ed lawn irrigation

The core of my improvised setup is the $ 45 Quick-Snap Sprinkler Kit. This unique device is a water-driven, gear-driven rotating sprayer designed to throw water about 40 feet (depending on water pressure). The purpose and the rotation are also adjustable to cover lawns of all different sizes.

The Quick-Snap sprinkler works on water and rotates.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

To automate spraying and eliminate reporting for the early morning sprinkler task, I chose the $ 29 Orbit Single Dial Hose Tap Timer. The Gizmo is essentially a water valve coupled to a battery-powered electronic timer. Although it is not a smart device in today's modern language (no internet connection or links to objects in a network), the timer has enough brains to control my sprinkler according to a schedule.

Orbit also makes a really smart hose-connected timer, the B-Hyve but it costs a little more. The standard Bluetooth model costs $ 47, while a B-Hyve kit connected to both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi costs $ 61. In addition, Orbit sells its own gear-driven hose nozzle called the H20-6. It is classified to cover more ground, up to 80 feet. For $ 19 this gadget costs less than the Quick-Snap. That said, it is striking above the ground, not below it.

This Orbit timer runs according to a schedule.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The other parts of my system consisted of things I already owned, such as standard 25-foot garden hose (with a diameter of 5/8-inch) plus a few extra items that I found at my local Home Depot, such as hose connections and valves ($ 3 to $ 5 each).

The connection

Connecting all parts of my new water treatment system was easy. Although I had an outside water tap that was far too low, the result of a repair on a sinking porch, I had everything operational within a few hours. I highly recommend investing in a set of channel nippers and some Teflon tape to crush leaks when they appear.

With my hose adapters screwed onto the end of my outside tap, I turned the Orbit timer into place. The next thing in the chain was my garden hose, which I connected to the timer. I then screwed the Quick-Snap hose connector to the other end of my garden hose and clicked the Quick-Snap connector into the adapter.

You may need to use a pair of hose adapters.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

I then chose a spot for the sprinkler, in the ground of a flower bed opposite my front yard, and dug a hole (about 7.5 inches deep by 4 inches wide). I then used the bundled metal key (a screwdriver also works) to adjust the direction of the water flow and how many degrees of rotation I need. A hollow arrow at the top of the nozzle indicates the direction, while a solid arrow indicates how much the nozzle will turn (between 90 and 360 degrees). For my purposes I have chosen a water arch that is slightly less than 180 degrees, because my lawn is much wider than long.

Place the sprayer in the ground.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Finally I put the Orbit Timer on a watering schedule: 6 a.m. for 1 hour every four days. Then I turned on the tap completely for a quick test. Once satisfied with my water zone, I filled the hole I made with soil, so that much of the sprayer is hidden from view.

Set the irrigation schedule with the timer.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Lawn water made simpler

I must say that I am impressed by the budget lawn irrigation system that I have made. It cannot match the range and control options that a serious high-end solution would offer because they are professionally installed and tailored to your specific needs. That said, for around a twentieth of the price, I can now water 90 percent of my house's front yard – not a bad deal. I can also reset the timer watering schedule for a few days if it rains enough, just by tapping a button.

One sprinkler does the job pretty well.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

And although my setup does not reach the edges of my garden, I have the option of installing up to three additional Quick-Snap sprayers on the road. These can be connected in series to function as one unit or used independently when needed. Now, if I could get rid of that stubborn weed just as easily, but that is another project .

Get the tips you need to grow a beautiful, healthy garden with CNET & # 39; s garden guide .


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