Prep Sprinkler System for New Shed

Do you remember when you first moved into your big, beautiful suburban castle? You were so amazed at all of the storage space. You fantasized about all of the incredible lawn equipment you would stuff in that large and lovely garage.

The basement too. You were going to get a foosball table and a ping pong table. You were going to have it all.

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A shed sure beats getting a monthly bill from public storage. You already have a mortgage you can barely afford for your dream McMansion. Why should you pay monthly rent for the foreseeable future on a small, unheated box when you could just install a shed in your backyard for a few hundred bucks?

If you have an irrigation system in your backyard you will need to prepare it, but sheds generally have a pretty small footprint; so it should not be too big of a deal.

You will just need to contact your sprinkler company and ask them to reroute the sprinkler heads, pipes, and wires in the area where the new shed is going. 

A shed is generally placed on a concrete slab. Or if you want to go with the low effort option, on some cinder blocks.

Admittedly, the cinder block option may not be the most aesthetically pleasing (unless you’re going for a throwback Jed Clampett vibe), but it does have the benefit of being the least disruptive for your irrigation system. 

A concrete slab on the other hand, has a larger footprint.

Regardless, you’re going to want to have your irrigation system components rerouted around the cinder blocks or the concrete slab.

Depending on the size of your glorious new shed, you may get lucky and only need to move and adjust some sprinkler heads. If no mainline pipe, wire, or valve boxes are in the shed zone, you will just need to move and adjust sprinkler heads.

Moving sprinkler heads is not terribly complicated. It will just involve:

  • Digging up the sprinkler head(s)
  • Cutting the funny pipe (irrigation flexible pipe)
  • Inserting a barbed funny coupling
  • Adding the appropriate amount of new funny pipe to the line, on the other end of the barbed funny coupling
  • Inserting a barbed funny 90° fitting
  • Screwing the head back on the funny fitting
  • Burying the sprinkler head underground
  • Adjusting the sprinkler head

In addition to moving sprinkler heads, it is possible that a sprinkler head or two may need to be added. If one or two sprinkler heads were covering the whole area pre-shed, you may need one or two new sprinkler heads to deal with the new angles.

A little bit of water on your shed may not seem like a big deal, but remember that if a sprinkler head is soaking the same area over and over, eventually the wood will rot out. 

You don’t want that; so you may need to adjust the head that was spraying the grass in that area so that the spray doesn’t hit the shed.

Then, you can add sprinkler heads at the corners of the shed spraying out away from the shed.

If you do have valve boxes, mainline pipe, sprinkler wire, or feeder lines in the path of the new shed, unfortunately things are going to be a little more complicated than moving and/or adding sprinkler heads.

Your sprinkler company will need to find the mainline pipe and determine where it’s located.

This can be done easily if you or they know where all of your sprinkler valves are. If not, it’s time to start tracking the irrigation wire down.

This can be done by using electronic tracking equipment. These irrigation tracking devices can be expensive, so if you are tackling this project yourself you’ll be better off renting a tracker at your local irrigation distributor.

A competent irrigation company should know how to use an irrigation tracker. They will connect it to your controller and then walk the property using the wand and headset to listen for beeping that will indicate that there is wire around.

Once they find the path of the wire, it can be followed to locate the mainline pipe and valves.

Then, your sprinkler technician(s) can cut the pipe and wire and reroute it around the shed to avoid any potential damage during the installation process.

As soon as that is done, the shed installation contractor can get to work. And before you know it, you may be getting into some wild stuff like actually being able to park your car in the garage, or walk through your basement without injuring yourself by tripping over a pile of boxes.

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