Photos & more explanation here:

I recently paid a lawncare company to move my sprinkler box ... I was busy with work, patio was being installed, and I hadn't thought ahead far enough about sprinkler system - so it was a rush job done by a company recommended by a friend.

In anycase, they did a horrible job. They installed it directly into the clay muck without any drainage, and I couldn't get to anything in it - water wouldn't drain, started to smell rancid. I just dug it out completely ... It's still completely dug up.

So, I've got some gravel to put into the hole, 4x concrete pavers to put down - a box base to put on top of the pavers, and a box to put on top of the base.

However, this clay soil is SO DENSE, that any water stuck in this stuff is really not going to drain off - so if i put gravel in the bottom, then the water is probably just going to sit in the gravel underneath and never drain off into the surrounding ground ...

I also realized that putting a bunch of gravel in right there against the side of the house without some kind of valve/drain to move it away from house, may cause more water to be pushed up against the side of the house and potentially causing issues with basement (we already have issues with basement & water).

So I'm looking for ideas to do a really good job with the drainage. I thought about putting a pipe in the gravel, and running it out - but at some point, it's going to need to come back up to the surface ... and without some special kind of valve the pipe will fill up, but nothing will push the water out through the pipe against gravity.

  • 2
    You might consider not putting any of that equipment underground. Route the supply and and sprinkler piping so all of the equipment is above ground, than creatively hide the equipment with a shrub or statue or something. In my locale, all the valves are required to be elevated above the highest turf level sprinkler head (drip emitters excluded). Jul 12, 2015 at 18:53
  • Interesting, good idea, hadn't really thought of that ... the new box is 12" deep and the base is 4" high, so I planned to put the base down about 10" and have the top 6" of the box exposed.
    – nfarrar
    Jul 12, 2015 at 19:01
  • Keep it all up and exposed, easier for future maintenance too. Mine is nicely hidden behind some horsetail shrubs. Jul 12, 2015 at 19:06


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