Archive of ‘Garden’ category

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.

Repiped Sprinklers_01

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.

Repiped Sprinklers_03  Repiped Sprinklers_02

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!

Repiped Sprinklers_04  Repiped Sprinklers_05

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

Repiped Sprinklers_06

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!

Repiped Sprinklers_07

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!

Painted Terra Cotta Pots

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_Cover

The previous owner of the house left a lot of stuff in the yard which included a ton of terra cotta pots filled with dead plants. After seeing a few inspiring designs on Pinterest, I decided to clean up a few of them and paint them. Here’s what you’ll need to make my painted terra cotta pots:

To start, I had to clean up the terra cotta pots in the yard. They were pretty gross.

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_01

I took a hose and a scrubbing sponge to them out in the yard and followed up with a good wipe down with a paper towel.

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_02

After reading around online, I found out that you have to waterproof the pots because the moisture will make the paint separate from the pots. I went with Thompson’s waterproofing spray that I sprayed on the inside and outside of the pots.

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_03

Note: You have to do this before you put any paint on the pots. I tried to waterproof after spray painting, but it just leaves a greasy film on the surface. Oops.

After the waterproofing was dry (about 30-45 min), I spray painted the pots white using a 2 in 1 paint and primer. I sprayed 2-3 coats to get full white coverage. I also made sure to spray about 3-4 inches along the top of the inside to make sure all the visible parts of the pot were painted.

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_04  Painted Terra Cotta Pots_05

I let this dry for about an hour or two and used the time to plan a black and white geometric pattern I wanted to paint on the pots.

I started by drawing a diagonal grid on the pots using a scrap piece of mail and a pencil.

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_06

I started filling in certain squares with black acrylic paint and a paint brush to get the diamond geometric pattern.

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I did this all the way around the pot. I also painted a second one with a mix of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal stripes.

Once the acrylic paint dried (about an hour), I took the pots back outside to put on a clear coat of spray paint to preserve the design.

Painted Terra Cotta Pots_08

I let this dry for an hour or two and decided to finally plant the avocado seed I had been growing on my window sill in a plastic cup. You can barely see it in the pot, but I’m super excited for avocados one day…probably waaaaaaaaaay into the future.

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A New Scarecrow

Scarecrow_Cover

This isn’t a traditional straw scarecrow mounted on a stick that you’re thinking of. This is better and hopefully much more effective.

The other day, I walked into my yard and found a bunch of pieces of poop and assumed it was my dog who left me a few little gifts. As I picked it up with a poop bag, I discovered more and more and more. There is no way my dog can create that much poop. I ended up collecting 3 lbs of poop. Guess who’s poop? A big, fat orange cat. This stupid cat that turned my yard into its own ginormous litter box. Let me say that I HATE CATS. HATE. And nothing reinforces that hatred than picking up 3 lbs of cat poop. Since its not nice to kill cats (although the thought certainly crossed my mind), I turned to Google for a solution–as usual.

I found the Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler, with awesome reviews to boot. 4/5 stars and 3,500+ reviews. It was kinda pricey, but this was a big (3 lbs of feces big) problem. I hit order (along with a 2-Way Connector to attach an extra hose). I had an extra hose on hand to hook up the Scarecrow.

I couldn’t wait to install this thing. As soon as the mail came I dropped all my work to go outside and install this thing. (Sorry day job. Not really.) Here’s all the stuff I used:

  1. Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler
  2. 2-Way Connector
  3. Plumbing Pliers
  4. Hose
  5. 9v battery
  6. Optional: Medium sized pot
  7. Optional: Gravel

Scarecrow_01

To start, I unpacked the box, popped open the battery compartment, and installed the battery. I tested the battery by turning the sensitivity on and waving my hand in front of the sensor and waiting for a clicking sound. SUCCESS.

Scarecrow_02  Scarecrow_03

Next, I screwed the pieces together according to the instructions. Super easy assembly. I used plumbing pliers to twist the pieces together extra tight to prevent leaks. All the pieces came with rubber washers to ensure a tight seal.

Scarecrow_04

The instructions give an option to add decal stickers to make it look like a crow. These are some intense decals. I skipped this step because all I wanted to do was get this thing up and running and the decals kinda creeped me out.

Scarecrow_06  Scarecrow_05

Next, it was time to hook this thing up to some water. I removed the old hose and attached a 2-way connector to be able to use a hose and have the Scarecrow hooked up. I hooked the two hoses up to the 2-way connector, using one for the Scarecrow and leaving one as a regular hose. I set the new-ish hose on four pavers I moved over from another part of the yard to keep the hose off the gross floor.

Scarecrow_07

Once the hose was hooked up, I screwed the other end into the Scarecrow, using the plumbing pliers to get a tight seal.

Normally, you’d stab the thing into the dirt, but I wasn’t able to stab the stake into the ground. The dirt in my yard is SUPER SUPER hard and impenetrable. It may as well be a huge rock because its SO HARD. I’m amazed weeds are able to grow in it. As a work around, I filled a pot with some gravel/rocks from another part of the yard and shoved the stake in there. Problem solved.

Scarecrow_08

I read quickly through the instructions and adjusted the spraying arc, distance, etc. on the sprayer and turned on the water to test it. This took a few tries and sprayed myself 2-3 times before I got this right. Expected and worth it (and probably a good reason to read instructions more carefully to avoid to hit in the face with jets of water). The sensor sensitivity works well (and can be adjusted to avoid false alarms) and the spray functionality has pretty good coverage. It covers the entire area of the fence where the cat has been entering my yard.

Its on, stupid cat. NO MORE POOP IN MY YARD! I can’t wait until the Scarecrow pelts water into the cat’s face. I really wish I could catch this happening on camera…

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