Aaaand we’re back. We’ve had one of those weeks, you know? Cancelled flights, work deadlines, dentist appointments… there’s been a perfect storm of craziness this week to keep us from our typical posting schedule. We’ve got two great posts left this week though to make up for it.
Last week Kevin and I shared our plans to finish our backyard before our big crawfish boil on March 16. A major part of that plan is to install a sprinkler system in the backyard to water all of our soon-to-be new baby grass. With Dallas’ hot, dry summers it would be like throwing money into the wind to lay new sod and not have a sprinkler system to water it consistently (at least, if you’re as forgetful about watering things as we are).
We’ve been planning on DIYing our sprinkler system and started researching the process last week. Here’s what we found.
Designing a sprinkler system will be hard, even for two engineers (one of which deals with piping systems every day… that’s me), so we’ll likely have it professionally designed before building it ourselves. Toro has a free design service for DIYers; all you have to do is send in a detailed sketch of your yard and they design your system and send you a parts list to get you started.
There’s a lot of red tape involved in DIYing your own sprinkler system, too. First, if you haven’t filed your homestead exemption, it’s illegal for a homeowner to DIY their own sprinklers. Even if you have everything on file, you’ll need a couple (expensive) permits, several inspections by the city, and and a professional to complete several parts of the installation, no matter what. I’ve spent hours going over Dallas’ irrigation code trying to decipher what we’re allowed to do, what we have to call a plumber for, and when we have to have the city plumbing inspector come out (a very nice lady, by the way… I’ve already spoken to her twice with questions about the irrigation code).
The alternative is to hire professionals to install our system start to finish. Inevitably this will be the more expensive option, but considering the work involved to DIY everything, we’re not convinced that it might not be worth it in the end. That’s why we’ve called several companies (three, in fact) and asked them to come out and give us an itemized estimate on both grading our yard and installing our sprinkler system.
We’re also going to go ahead and use the Toro design service. This will not only allow us to get a good estimate on how much DIYing the project will cost, but will also give us a check on how much the contractors are charging.
We’re hoping to have all of our estimates in by next week and are going to work on getting our sketches submitted to Toro this weekend.
Have you ever DIYed a sprinkler system? When do you call in the pros? Are you as forgetful about watering the lawn as we are??