When it comes to sprinklers this is definitely a case of getting what you pay for.
You can buy a sprinkler and nozzle all in one for around $3.00 in some places. Or you can buy a reputable brand name sprinkler body (Toro, Hunter, Rainmaster) as well as nozzle for a bit more.
When buying sprinklers the question I suggest you consider is how long will it last and how much am I prepared to mess around with it?
If you are happy to pull it up, push it down, clean it out etc then buy the cheap one every time. If you want a sprinkler that will do what its supposed to do for around 5 years then spend a few extra $$ and get quality.
I use Toro sprinkler bodies and recommend them as they seem to have the best durability.
The first time I did some DIY retic I tried to install my kerbside sprinklers by digging along the line of the kerb.
After 10 minutes I had all but given up. You see the soil along the kerb is actually roadbase. It is hard and rocky and not easy digging. If you want to install sprinklers along the kerb then dig a trench one metre away from the kerb and parallel to it and then ‘t’ off to the point where you need sprinklers. You will still need to do some hard digging but it will save you a lot of effort and you will do the job right.
The other tip with kerbside sprinklers is to make sure they are well below kerb height – because they will get driven over. If you’re lucky they won’t get damaged, but if they are even sticking up a little bit then expect to replace them regularly.
I get calls from one client a few times each summer to replace the same sprinkler. Personally I reckon it would be easier just to sink the sprinkler a bit lower…
We offer some general guidelines on our home page here, but the truth is it can vary considerably depending on the type of soil we need to dig in, the ease of accessibility and the simplicty or otherwise of the job. A new house is fairly easy to give an estimate for and we suggest that typical costs to expect are:
- Retic cut in by licensed plumber $180.00 + GST
- Hardwiring of controller $160.00 + GST
- Wireless rain sensor (only compulsory if you wish to get a lawn watering exemption) $150.00 + GST
- Electronic Controller $200.00-$400.00 + GST (depending on what is chosen)
- Installation / pipes / sprinklers etc see below
To give you an idea of what to expect a very rough ball park figure for a 4 x 2 home on a 600m block with 5 or 6 stations is usually around $2600.00 + GST including plumber and sparkie. These prices do vary with the seasons so if you ‘need it done now’ over summer chances are that with any retic business you will pay a premium. If you can wait until winter then you will probably save 10-20%.
A front install on this kind of home would be around $1500.00 + GST and a rear install usually around $1100.00 + GST.
If your home is established and we need to dig through grass, tree roots and flower beds then we will charge extra for that, but a straightforward installation is usually in the ballpark of the prices above.
But the best way to go is to get in touch and we can then meet up onsite, walk thru the plans and get a clear picture from there.
Which sprinklers should you run from a bore?
You have a couple of things to consider:
a) Flow rate: often bores allow you to run much greater numbers of sprinklers than a standard mains pressure system. 80l/min is normal as opposed to 30 off the mains.
b) Pump run time: every minute your bore is running is costing you money in electricity and wear and tear on your pump.
That said you don’t want to simply be governed by the cheapest option. In my own backyard I have 3 different types of sprinklers running. We have 4 big heavy duty gear drives on the verge, regular pop ups in the garden beds and then MP rotators in the lawn areas. It means the pump runs for aprox 2 hours each time it comes on, but we have chosen sprinklers that will fit the areas and do the best job.
A lot of people ask me what the best sprinklers are, and the answer is that it depends on the job it needs to do.
Here are some pros and cons of various types of sprinklers:
Standard Toro/Rainbird pop-ups: are good sprinklers in that distribute a lot of water in a short space of time and they are cheap and easy to replace. If well maintained the sprinkler body and seals can easily last 5 years. Their negative is that their spray can mist and get easily blown by the wind.
Gear Drives – Gear drives are tough and are generally used over larger areas or where there may be traffic expected. You wouldn’t use gear drives in smaller lawn areas as they are really suited to areas 8m and larger. You can generally only get 3 gear drives/station off suburban pressure, but if you have a rectangular backyard then these could suit. They are more expensive than the standard pop-up, but you will use fewer of them.
MP Rotators – These are nozzles that slot inside regular sprinkler bodies. They distribute water slowly and allow better penetration. They can also span large areas and an entire front lawn can often be done on one station because of their low water requirements. Their negative is that they are expensive and if you have a bore they will result in your pump running for longer.
Impact Sprinklers – these are the classic old ‘machine gun’ types that pump out a heap of water over a very long distance and have an adjustable arc. These aren’t pretty because they need to sit above surface level but they can cover a huge area so if you are tight on $$ and want to do the job cheaply one of these in each corner might just get you by.
This is not a question with a simple answer, because the response depends on the type of sprinklers you are using and how they apply water.
The goal is to get 10ml of water to your lawn/garden each time they operate so different nozzles will require different run times. For example regular pop-ups can be run for around 12 minutes to apply 10mls.
Toro precision nozzles need to be left on for around 25 mins to get the same result. Then there are the MP Rotators which need 45-50 mins to deliver 10mls.
There are specs for each type of sprinkler available from the manufacturers or your retic guy can help you make sense of it. Here’s an example of how to find the answer. The chart shows that PGP needs to be on for 60 mins to apply 10ml.
The important thing is to remember that not all sprinklers deliver water at the same rate.
Get them too low and you won’t get the coverage you need as they will be spraying the soil.
Get them too high and the mower will hit them.
If in doubt go for too low as it’s much easier to raise them up than to lower them.
I saw two jobs today where the height was wrong and it will be a problem down the line for sure
Typically sprinklers should sit 10-20ml below the finished level and turf should sit flush with paving / concrete.
If you live in Merriwa and need some repairs done then give us a call. We are nearby in Butler and should be able to get there quickly.
We garauntee excellent, friendly service, punctuality and reasonable prices.
Look forward to hearing from you
If you are moving house then at your pre-settlement inspection everything should be in working order.
The sprinklers should all be spraying properly and retracting and there shouldnt be any leaks or blocked nozzles.
If you arent happy with the condition of the retic then get your agent to call us and we can arrange to get it all sorted at the current owners expense. If yiu dont sort it now then it will become your problem very soon and it shouldnt be.
Some of you will know how to do this, but if you don’t then you need to know because in Western Australia today is the start of winter and it needs to be turned off for the next 3 months.
Basically whichever controller you are using, the dial needs to be turned to the off position. If you aren’t sure what to do then you can either give me a call, simply turn it off at the switch or remove the fuse if its a hardwired box.
Hopefully it will be pretty straightforward.
We desperately need lots of rain this winter and for everyone to turn their retic off!