Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flashback: All Systems Go

When we bought our house, I knew there was going to be some manual labor involved in the near future, since it was lawn-less. Looking back, though, I had no idea! As you can probably guess from the picture in my previous post, our first order of business was to do something about the desert that existed around our house. But before we could even think about planting grass seed or laying sod, we needed to put in a sprinkler system. And, before I continue any further, I should inform you that my husband Luke’s three favorite letters are D, I, and Y. That makes me, by association, a DIY-er as well (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Luckily, Luke had helped a family friend install a sprinkler system once before, so he had some idea of what was involved. We also took a free class that was offered at a local sprinkler system company, and paid $65 for a DIY design and materials list to give us a starting point.

Once we had our system mapped out to our liking (thanks to AutoCAD), it was time to buy all the parts we needed – from elbows, tees, and couplings, to rotors and spray heads, to poly pipe and funny pipe (although I never understood what was so funny about it). We also rented a Ditch Witch to pull our poly pipe deep below the ground. But unfortunately a machine couldn't do it all for us. We did our share of trench-digging too, in order to find the poly pipes so we could connect them to each other, and make our connections to the sprinkler heads via the funny pipe. Yeesh.

While we were digging, we also ran into some lovely construction waste buried in the dirt, like some sort of concrete graveyard. Here are the remains piled on our driveway.

These are three sprinkler heads connected to the funny pipe... it looked like some sort of giant prehistoric clawprint, which is why I probably took the photo.

And these are some of the many trenches we dug to get to the poly pipe after it was pulled through the ground by the Ditch Witch. We had to be very careful when digging to find the pipe, so as not to puncture it with the shovel.

I took this picture to celebrate our very first connection!

The whole thing was a very physically and emotionally draining process as far as I was concerned (the phrase "blood, sweat, and tears" comes to mind), and there were times I felt we’d never get it done. At one point, we had unsightly blue poly pipe sticking up all over the yard for quite some time, which prompted some questions from passersby about what it was for. Not too long ago, I probably would have asked the same question, but now I was all too familiar with it!

After what seemed like several weeks of working on the sprinkler system whenever we could after work or on the weekends (as long as the weather was cooperating), we had finally almost finished it – thanks to the help of Luke’s parents, too. Why almost? Well, I'll get to that in my next post.

I can truthfully say that I'm proud we did it all ourselves and saved hundreds of dollars in the process (even though my sanity and overall well-being was put to the test). However, once was enough... one of my prerequisites for our next house is that it already has a sprinkler system... or we'll pay someone else to do it!

I know I didn't go into a lot of details on the whole process (maybe because I've tried to block it from my memory?), but if you have any specific questions about it, I'd be happy to try and answer them! Likewise, if you have any of your own sprinkler system adventures -- or misadventures -- feel free to share!


micah @ the yellow front door said...

Never had to do this, and hopefully never will. Want to install a sprinkler system at our house?? :)

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Holy cow, what a hard project! Thanks for your kind words about my bedroom, it's much appreciated.

Amanda said...

Micah - Maybe Luke would be willing to, but I can't say the same. I draw the line at the kitchen demo ;)

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