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I'm in the process of learning / planning a simple home irrigation system.

I have a small lawn (<30m2) where I plan to install two small pop-up sprinklers. Additionally I have flower beds (<10 meters) where I plan a drip-feed line.

Option 1: My current thinking is to make these two zones and have 2 independent hoses connected back to the outdoor tap. At the tap I would have a multi-way valve system and eventually a computer.

Qu1.: Would this work in principle? I'm I right in understanding that pop-ups operate solely through water pressure and I don't need to be concerned with solenoids?

Option 2: I am trying to determine if I need/want a valve box for my set-up. Would the correct approach be to have one main pipe connected to a valvebox and then split off the pop-ups and drip-feed from 2 separate valves? This I understand would give me the chance to scale up my system more easily by adding more lines at a late point and I could also put the computer (wireless) in this box and not have a tonne of junk around my outdoor tap.

Qu2: Is this the right understanding as per valve boxes?

I do not have easy access to electricity outside and I'm trying to understand the advantages to the valve box approach.

I appreciate any help to clarify my understanding.

  • Especially as you're learning, I'd think that putting valve boxes in would be your best bet. Yes, it's going to cost more up front, but as you learn, you're probably going to want to change/add to your setup, and having things in boxes (I'd even suggest oversize for what you think you need today) should make future changes easier. – FreeMan Jun 5 at 13:37
  • Thanks for the response. I was about to answer....I don't need additional equipment....but stopped myself! Yes I don't really know what I'll want in the future. So I'll have to figure how to electricity out to the box – Nuphonic Jun 5 at 15:06
  • Did you ever get this resolved? If so, please give a check-mark to the answer that helped you the most, or write up your own answer explaining what you did to get it fixed and give yourself a check mark. That will help others with this kind of problem know that this has a resolution and is a good place to look for their answer. – FreeMan yesterday
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I am having trouble Trying to understand your terminology. Pop up sprinklers require a specific flow to work properly, An example is that with your system you may only be able to run 3 at a time. If two many pop ups are installed on a branch they won’t cover the area they are supposed to. Most drip systems have very low flows but depending on the type of heads and number of devices you may need more than 1 branch , don’t put high flow devices like pop ups on the same branch with drip irrigation drip is low flow and may take hours to water the beds they cover where pop ups are high flow and usually are designed for 1 hour to properly saturate the ground.

Your valve box or manifold concerns, there are many different ways to set a system up, some have a manifold with all the valves at the source, some run a single supply line and have valves branching off where needed so wires are run in ground (usually low voltage wire and valves 6” or more below the surface).

Both styles have merit but depend on the layout to which makes cost sense.

The last topic is are you on city water or well water, both have pluses and minuses but city water usually requires a back flow prevention device or valve on sprinkler systems.

The main cause I have seen in poor designs is two many sprinklers per branch for the available flow. Keep learning and I am sure you can build a system that will meet your watering needs, I used to do valves great way to start, then move up to full controllers where my last home had 24 branches to do everything even 1 outside that filled a water feature , birdbath , and the dog bowl outside yes you can go crazy but it was also fun.

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  • Thanks Ed, Regarding the different flow requirements, my idea would be to have a manifold connected directly to the main tap and therefore the lawn sprinklers and drips would be independent from one another. I think the safest long-term approach is with the valve box. I need to determine how to get electricity to the box. – Nuphonic Jun 5 at 15:09
  • Yes , use low voltage it is much easier code wise to wire up. standard sprinkler valves and switches for now, later add automation , I tied all my valves on 1 side together then 1 wire inside for each valve + the common worked great even when I had to use additional output modules to get all the fun things added it still worked great. I did locate my controller inside even though it was rated for outside use. – Ed Beal Jun 5 at 16:40
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Yes, you need a valve box for your own convenience.It will have low voltage wires running to the valves. You will also want access to the valves to use the manual feature - activating pop-ups on that line to check operation. Boxes I see can hold about 3 valves. Valves can be buried but that is a bad idea. Not to disagree with @ ed beal , I have put up to 5 popups on one 1/2" line , and mixed soaker hoses with pop-ups. If you are on city water you will be required to have a costly antisiphon valve. As said , systems can be very versatile.

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