Sprinkler System Layout

  1. Residence
  2. Main Line
  3. Zone 1
  4. Zone 2
  5. Zone 3
  6. Stop and Waste
  7. Backflow
  8. Automatic Sprinkler Valves
  9. Pop-Up Spray Heads
  10. Rotor Sprinkler Heads
  11. Drip Emitters
  12. Sprinkler Valve Wiring
  13. Sprinkler Timer

Sprinkler Head Layout

Sprinkler head layout is perhaps the most important part of your personal installation.  If you don’t have a proper layout, you wont have good performance and you will likely waste thousands of gallons of water each season.  

Head To Head Coverage

Head to head coverage is a term you will often hear when having a conversation about sprinklers.    The easiest way to describe head to head coverage; Every spot in the irrigated / watered area needs to be covered by at least 2 sprinkler heads, and each head should throw water far enough that it reaches or slightly overlaps the adjacent heads.  This is done by considering each sprinkler as a geometric shape.  Each sprinkler head is rated with an ARC and Radius, this provides you with the shape you will use to determine coverage.  The geometric shapes will all be based around a circle, while your layout will be based around a square or triangle pattern.  This is where inefficiency come in to play, because you are trying to fit a round object into a square or triangle pattern.

Layout Examples

The shapes in the pictures are representing the space between sprinkler heads
Each sprinkler head used in these examples are full heads to help demonstrate how important layout can be.
As you can see, the triangle pattern is more efficient, but it is less common because it is more difficult to lay out.  Most residential sprinkler systems are done using the square pattern.

Layout can actually be quite simple, if you don’t over think it.  I generally walk around a property with a measuring tape or wheel and place flags according to available products based on distance.  Starting with a corner, I measure one one side or edge of the area to be irrigated, and determine what type and size of sprinkler head will fit best.  I then repeat this for every side/edge of the irrigated property, until I get an adequate layout to provide good coverage.  I then transfer the layout to paper or my computer to see if I have missed anything obvious.  I generally pull the property up on google earth or google maps and take a screen shot, then I use a simple drawing app to apply my layout.  There is software that can aid you in setting up your layout, but it is expansive and it takes time to learn how to use it.  If you have your property measurements, there are some free services offered by all the major sprinkler manufactures, where they will create a custom layout for you, generally free of charge.  Check out their websites, or even ask your local sprinkler supplier if they have a similar service.  Personally, I have always done my own layouts, because it is quite simple once you understand the concept.

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Measure the property for spacing of sprinklers
Measure the property for spacing of Sprinklers
Create a layout using sprinkler heads, use rotors for larger areas if possible.
This is an example of an actual sprinkler system layout
As you can clearly see, the layout is good, but there are still gaps in overlapping coverage.  This is a common problem, but it is unavoidable.

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