How High Should Sprinkler Heads Be

How High Should Sprinkler Heads Be

The leading cause of sprinkler system failure is corrosion. The metal pieces on your sprinkler system are already guaranteed to be exposed to regular water, so they risk oxidative damage.

Even though sprinklers are made of corrosion-resistant metals, all iron-based metals can eventually succumb to rust. A properly installed sprinkler system is less exposed. How high should sprinkler heads be?

How High Should Sprinkler Heads Be

For sod, the proper height for sprinkler heads should be ¼ inch above ground level for best water coverage, to limit tripping hazards and for lawn mowers to pass over without causing damage. For Hydroseed, sprinkler heads need flush with the ground for proper coverage. The highest any sprinkler should be set is ½ to ¾ inches above sod level.

How High Should Sprinkler Heads Be Before Sod

Sprinkler heads should not be flush with sod. It’s important to keep the head near flush with the ground level.

The highest you should go is ½ – ¾ inches above the top of your sod. Setting things this way will get you the best water coverage and help keep everything watered.

Although you can install sprinklers after putting down the sod, it’s better to install them beforehand. Doing this will cut down on the amount of labor you would otherwise need to put in digging sod out of the way to lay the lines.

Plus, it won’t disturb the existing grass. Fortunately, with a little basic plumbing knowledge, you can install a sprinkler system that’s perfect for your sod.

How To Install Sprinklers In Sod

You can do most of the work yourself however you’ll need a licensed plumber to connect a pressure reducer and backflow valve on the waterline. Sometimes it’s a requirement due to building codes, but it’s always a good idea.

Follow the steps below to layout and install your sprinkler system.

  1. Check the manufacturer guidelines on how far apart you need to set the sprinklers. Usually, rotor sprinklers need to be no more than thirty-five feet apart, while spray sprinklers should be about eighteen feet from one another.
  2. Measure your yard and use graph paper to map out the best setup for your sprinklers. Every yard is unique, and it’s important to avoid overlapping the sprays or leaving gaps. Too much overlap can lead to root rot for plants, while no coverage will dry out parts of your yard.
  3. Mark out where your lines need to go.
  4. Dig a hole for your valve box. From here, you can dig a trench to the water source. Areas that freeze need deeper trenches, around ten inches, but southern climates can have shallower pipes.
  5. Connect the water source and valve box with a PVC pipe.
  6. Put your system controller in a sheltered area near the valve box but out of the way. This will need to be close to a source of electricity.
  7. Connect the valve box.
  8. Dig your trenches and lay the pipe. Once this is all connected, you may want to turn on the system to clear out the pipes for a few minutes.
  9. Connect the sprinklers and turn the water on again. This is a great tie to check for leaks and ensure your glue is set up properly all down the line. Make sure that you avoid overwatering or let the soil dry back out before you put down sod.
  10. Finally, you can bury everything except the sprinkler heads. Take time to tamp down the soil, and then you can install your sod.

Should Sprinkler Heads Be Flush With The Ground

Sprinkler heads should be nearly flush with the ground. In some cases, they need to be at or below the surface level, and in others, the head can be up to three-quarters of an inch above ground level.

The depth of your sprinkler head depends on three things.

  • First, what is on the surface of your yard? Hydroseed is different than sod.
  • Secondly, what type of sprinkler are you installing. Head styles have various ways of accomplishing their task, and how the head does its job will affect the necessary depth.
  • Third and last, the manufacturer specifications should tell you what you need to know. Unless you have unique circumstances or are a sprinkler installation expert, it’s best to follow the directions.

After all, the company that makes the sprinkler has done extensive testing on its products to provide you the information.

Can Sprinkler Heads Be Raised

All sprinkler heads can be raised; the only difference in difficulty level typically depends on how well the system was installed.

A properly installed system is faster and easier to work with. Remember to cut off the water before you get started to avoid costly messes.

You need to measure how much each head needs to come up. Then you’ll dig around the heads until you reach the fitting it’s attached to.

Remove all the dirt so that it doesn’t get into the waterline, then you can unscrew the head. Add the extension you need and replace the head.

Then it’s smart to turn the system on and check for leaks. Once you’re sure the new piece is tightened down and leak-free, fill the hole in and move on to the next sunken head.

Sprinkler Head Too High

The trouble with sprinkle heads that are too high is that they are far more likely to get damaged. Not only will too-high heads get in the way of mowing, but they pose a risk to people and animals in the yard. Fortunately, the solution is straightforward.

Using the same technique, as you would to raise a sprinkler head, dig down, and clear debris. This time, instead of adding a piece, you’re going to install a shorter riser. It’s that simple.

All you do is swap out the connector for a shorter connector, check for leaks, and rebury the underground portion of the sprinkler head.

Helpful Tips To Know About How High Should Sprinkler Heads Be

Setting up a sprinkler system is about more than simple convenience. Not only will sprinklers keep your lawn healthy, but they raise property values by thousands of dollars and give your home added appeal.

Here are some helpful tips to know about how high sprinkler heads should be.

  • The average sprinkler system is buried eight to twelve inches underground.
  • You can dig trenches manually using a shovel or even a trowel. However, ending a trencher is much faster, and it will save you a lot of back pain.
  • Sprinkler head levels can sink or rise after installation. The ground may feel firm under your feet, but it moves. Water and pressure cause soil compacting, while wind can erode the topsoil leaving your heads more exposed.
  • Corrosion and damage from being set too high are the two most common causes of sprinkler damage. You should check the height of your heads and inspect them for signs of rust at least once or twice annually.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to trip over a sprinkler head and injure themselves, and you certainly don’t want your sprinklers to rust unnecessarily.

The height you set your sprinkler heads at matters more than you might think at first glance. Lawnmowers need to clear sprinkler heads as they pass, so you must stay low to the ground or barely above the surface.

Otherwise, you’ll damage both the mower and the sprinkler system, which can be an expensive mistake. Setting a sprinkler too deep can cause dirt to fall on top of it, clogging the head.

Sprinkler heads make terrible underground watering systems. Fortunately, a properly set up system will add value to your home and keep your lawn watered for years to come.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

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