How to Troubleshoot Your Garden and Irrigation System Yourself

Every landscape owner has an irrigation system for watering of plants, trees, shrubs, and lawns. No matter how expensive the irrigation system, it needs periodic repair and maintenance. Sometimes the problems occur like inadequate watering, faulty sprinklers and pump not working, etc.

For highly technical problems, you need to call a professional, but it is possible to troubleshoot and fix minor issues yourself. It is best for landscape owners to monitor their irrigation systems from time to time and fix the problems immediately. This post shares some easy tips to troubleshoot your garden and irrigation system without professional help.

Faulty sprinkler heads


The most common problem in irrigation systems is the defective sprinkler heads. However, they are very easy to fix. All you need to do is look for the broken or cracked plastic casing on the sprinkler heads. It is common to find the tips of sprinkler heads completely broken. It is simple to replace the broken sprinkler head as they are available both online and offline. Make sure you buy the same type of head that you need to replace.

Replacing the sprinkler head

To replace a broken sprinkler head, you need to dig a wide hole around it and use a shovel to cut the cord into removable pieces. You need to dig up to the riser that is connected to the sprinkler head. Now turn the head anticlockwise to remove it completely from the riser. IF the head does not turn conveniently, hold the riser with pliers to stop it from twisting loose.

Then put the new sprinkler head on the riser and turn it tight using your hand. Before you fill the hole and replace the sod, don’t forget to set the required sprinkler pattern.

Reset the spray pattern


You may need to change it to water a particular area when putting a new sprinkler head on or using the same head after cleaning. Tools for modifying differ. You can adjust some types of heads by using a screwdriver to turn a slot at the top. Others require that you insert a special key into the head and turn. Some heads also allow you to adjust the pattern of the spray by turning a tiny screw near the nozzle.

Set the heads before they are mounted, then fine-tune them once the sprinkler runs in place. Next, turn the top in the clockwise direction until it stops. The position of the nozzle is the starting point (from there, the head turns counterclockwise). Change the head from the starting point to set the rotation of water somewhere between 40 and 360 degrees anticlockwise. Place your head inside the canister. Standing behind the head, align the nozzle with the right edge of the area you’d like to water, like a driveway along. Squeeze your hands in the canister. Fill the hole carefully and replace the sod.

Inadequate trenching

Poor trenching can lead to frequent puncture of the pipes (either by yourself or your gardener) and can lead to frequent system maintenance. Unless there are some unmovable structures such as a rock or foundation, pipes should be trenched to at least 400 mm under the surface and pop-ups attached to the pipe via swing-joint elevators or flex-pipe. This not only keeps the hoses away from standard gardening tools but also allows you adjust the length of pop-joints easily.

Drippers blow off

If you drippers blow off, or your pipes split continually, it’s a sure sign of having too much pressure in your irrigation lines. To prevent the drippers from blowing off, you can install in-line pressure reducers and regulators to keep your system together. The reducers are devices that reduce the water pressure while regulators maintain the pressure around the required level.

The regulator or reducer you need to install comes with various capabilities. The one you need depends on the number of drippers or sprinklers you have on your system. You need to get an estimate of the number of drippers you have before buying a reducer or regulator that suits your requirements.

Damaged dripper lines


When the dripper lines get old, they become brittle and need repairs time and again. If your drippers need frequent repairs, it is best to replace them. Spending money once on new drippers is better than repeatedly spending on repairs.

Leaking Sprinklers

If the water leaks out from your sprinkler system even when the irrigation system is off, your solenoid valve might be blocked. Check for sediments and debris inside the valve, which is usually the problem. If there is some amount of water around the valve, it might be broken that needs replacement. Sometimes, the pool of water is there due to a broken pipe. Therefore, you need to check which part is broken and replace the same.

Obstructed sprinklers

Sometimes the supply of water to the sprinklers gets reduced or completely blocked despite in good working conditions. The flow of water is blocked due to some landscape features. Check the plants, trash cans, lawnmowers, garden tools, and any other objects in your garden that might block the flow of water through a hose.

Some tips to trouble your irrigation system

Check your garden for the areas that remain too wet or covered with green grass. There is a possibility of leakage of water in such areas.

Turn on the irrigation equipment and walk around the garden to check for any leaks in the pipes. If the lines are under the soil, listen carefully for escaping the sound of water or soggy patches in the lawn.

Turn off the irrigation system in the rainy season, but turn it on once a week for a few minutes to prevent blockages. Using the irrigation system once a week also flushes out any dirt or insects that enter the pipes.

Final Words

These are the ways to check and troubleshoot your irrigation equipment. The key to having a well-maintained irrigation system is to check it often and get the repairs done as soon as a problem occurs. Following these tips can help landscape owners to troubleshoot their irrigation system and keep them in working condition throughout the year.

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