The Q&A Archives: Existing sprinkler system

Question: We just moved into our new home, well it's actually a resale, but new to us. We have a HUGE yard with about 8000 sq ft of grass and would like to re-landscape. Our plan includes planting new trees, laying a walkway all around the yard and a patio at the end. The problem is that there is a sprinkler system already installed. Now normally this wouldn't be a problem, but we don't know where the lines run and we are afraid hitting the lines in the process. We also would need to take some of them out or turn them into a drip system ... if that's possible. So the question is, how would we go about figuring out how the lines are run? And is it possible to convert the some of the existing lines into a drip? We would obviously need a pressure regulator on those lines... but how could we convert the sprinkler heads into something that would work better and use less water for those areas?

Answer: The answers to your questions will be more involved than I can go into in detail in the space alloted, so I'll just give an overview: you can find the sprinkler system pipes without too much trouble; most run line of sight from one to another. Start by digging the grass and soil away from one of the sprinkler heads and you'll be able to see which direction the pipe runs. Do this with each sprinkler head and you'll have a rough idea of the layout. In Phoenix, I doubt the pipes are more than 3-4" deep (although most systems are about 8" deep). It is possible to convert your system to drip. You can find printed information about the process in the sprinkler system section of your local Home Depot. Hope this information is helpful. Good luck with your renovation project!

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