Repiped Sprinklers

So…last week it rained in LA. A LOT. So much rain that it turned the rock hard dirt in my yard into nice soft diggable dirt. It was definitely time for a backyard project now that it was finally possible to dig more than one mm into the ground. I decided to repipe the sprinklers so I’d have water for my brand new grass when it will inevitably not rain for months and months on end again.

I didn’t quite think to take pictures until I dug everything up. Oops. It wasn’t the exciting part anyway.

Here’s what I used for this sprinkler project:

  1. Shovel
  2. Spray paint (optional)
  3. 10′ sticks of 3/4″ PVC Pipe
  4. 3/4″ Couplings (straight, 45°, and 90°)
  5. 3/4″ coupling to 1/2″ 90° coupling
  6. 1/2″ riser 2″ length
  7. 1/2″ connector between riser and sprinkler
  8. PVC Pipe Glue
  9. Plumbing Tape
  10. PVC Pipe Cutters
  11. Sprinker Head(s)
  12. Gloves (optional)

Okay, so I have this stupid sprinkler smack in the middle of my small circular grass patch (painstakingly planted by me from itty bitty seeds). So if you’re staring at the grass patch from the house, I wanted to move the sprinkler from the center to what would be 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. I began digging. My shoulders, arms, abs, body, glutes HATE me. So much. Skip the gym, dig trenches in the yard.

I dug a nice hole around the original sprinkler and exposed 3-4″ of the pipe that leads back to the water source.

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Then I dug a trench about 10″ wide and 6″ deep in both directions away from the original sprinkler. Now, you’d think that digging in a straight line would be easy. Its not. After digging a super crooked line in one direction, I came up with the bright idea of spray painting the dirt to give myself a guide. Hence, spray paint optional. You don’t need it, but if you can’t dig in a straight line, I recommend it.

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This took me a few hours. I took a break and piped the sprinklers the next day. I was pooped.

So the next day, I drew a super hokey mapping of the backyard and wrote down measurements of the trenches (the distance between original and desired location of sprinklers). I went to OSH and looked like my helpless self and got an associate to help me gather supplies.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Sprinkler pipes moving water from the source to the sprinkler are usually 3/4″
  • The connection from sprinkler to water pipe is only 1/2″ so you’ll need a converter
  • You must get a connector that converts from 3/4″ to 1/2″ at a 90° angle to turn the pipe upward for the sprinkler
  • Buy extra couplings (things that connect the pipes together) because you don’t want to get half way through and have to run back to the store

Okay, so I got nine 10′ sticks of 3/4″ PVC pipe, a bunch of couplings in varying angles, two 3/4″ to 1/2″ couplings at a 90° angle, two risers, and an extra sprinkler head. I re-purposed the old one to one of the new locations. I had all the other stuff left over from my front yard re-piping project.

Time to connect the pipes. This is like putting Legos together. Its super easy. If you mess up, cut it off and try again. To start, I cut off the original sprinkler using my pipe cutters. This is super easy to do. You just clamp down, release, and reclamp down until it cuts all the way through. There was some water left inside the pipe, so I let it drain out before moving on.

Next, I opened my glue up. There’s a stick attached to the lid of the jar. The stick has a round cotton ball thing attached to the end and you use that to apply the blue goo. It’s super stinky so wear a mask if you’re starting to get loopy (or maybe before that happens).

I recommend gloves for this part, unless you want to accidentally glue your fingers together or have dried blue gunk stuck to your hands for awhile. I smeared a bunch of glue around the PVC pipe about 1-2″ in length, making sure to cover it well. Then, I shoved a coupling on and twisted it slightly to wiggle it into a good connection. Basically, continue until you connect all the pipes the entire length of the trench!

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Thankfully, PVC pipe bends a little so my crooked digging wasn’t a big problem. Looking at the picture, it was SUUUUPER crooked.

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Once I connected the pipe all the way to the sprinkler location, I attached the connector that converts from 3/4″ to 1/2″ at a 90° angle. The 1/2″ end should have threading to attach a riser. This is to elevate the sprinkler out of the ground and high enough to spray what you want. If you get a less crappy sprinkler where you can adjust the spray angle, you might not need the riser.

Before I screwed in the riser, I wrapped it with plumbing tape. Its super thin and silicone-y and I just wrapped it around the threading 3-4 times on each side and screwed one end into the 1/2″ end of the converter and the sprinkler into the other end. I did the other side and I was done!

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Next up, I tested my work. I turned on the sprinklers and checked for any leaks. I checked all the connection points and the sprinkler area. NO LEAKS. I literally squealed with joy. No repeat visits to the hardware store! I’m still amazed that they work.

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Last step, bury everything. I used a rake to scrape the dirt back into the trench and stomped on it to make it flat. Real professional. With each stomp I was chanting NEW-GRASS-NEW-GRASS (in my head). YAY!

In total this whole project cost me less than $35. I went back to the hardware store to return all the extra parts I bought. I thanked the associate who helped me pick out all the parts. He told me he was so proud of me for doing this. I’m so proud of me! So excited for more grass!

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