Single Zone Faucet Connection For Lawn Irrigation

March 10, 2023

faucet sprinkler system

In our overview of irrigation article, we introduced a system that connects directly to an exterior faucet and provides control for a single zone. This design is the least expensive and most easily installed irrigation system. 

Benefits of a Faucet Irrigation System

  • The least expensive, due to single-zone configuration.
  • Controllers are less expensive, ranging from $20 to $50 depending on the brand and options.
  • Ease of installation, depending on the geometry of the area to be irrigated.

Cons of a Faucet Irrigation System

  • Limited to a single zone, which limits the area to be irrigated.
  • The single zone means all plant types within the zone receive the same degree of irrigation (frequency and duration).

How a Faucet Sprinkler System Works

The controller is connected to an exterior faucet. It is preferable to install a “Y-Type” splitter with valves which will allow for the faucet to still provide service to a garden hose. The irrigation controller is then connected to one side of the splitter. The controller incorporates some sort of timer device as well as an internal valve that turns the water supply on and off at programmed times. 

Analog devices usually provide a single time for the on-off function. Digital versions may allow multiple times for operation, such as morning and evening water times. The frequency can be controlled as to the number of days and the duration of watering.

These types of controllers incorporate threaded connections like a hose. The threads are not compatible with the type of threads used on plumbing connections and conversion fittings must be installed to allow attachment of PVC plumbing piping.

Once the conversion to PVC is accomplished the supply line will be laid out to each sprinkler head. Again, the area to be irrigated is limited to the available water pressure delivered by the faucet.

Sprinkler heads are each rated in terms of gallons-per-minute (GPM). Broadcast sprayers for lawn applications deliver higher quantities of water and therefore fewer may be supported by this type of system.

The smaller sprayers designed for planting beds are rated at much lower flow and more can be connected to a single zone system – as many as 8-10 units. Keep in mind that each lawn is different with varying irrigation requirements and there is no “one size fits all” application.

It is certainly possible that one or more single-zone systems can be used within a larger system to provide the needed irrigation to all regions of a landscape. Remember, these systems are connected to faucets so the location of those faucets will be a limiting factor in the overall design.

Here is a breakdown of time, expense, and degree of difficulty for installation of such a single-zone faucet irrigation system.

How long does it take to install a faucet sprinkler system?

This will vary widely depending on the area to be watered. Landscape beds require more sprayer heads and may mean working around established vegetation.

Lawns typically need longer runs but fewer obstructions. Excavation by hand as compared to trenching by machine will affect time, labor, and expense as well. Installation of this type of system could be completed within a half day to a full day.

How much does it cost to install?

Again, there are many variables to consider, but listed here are some examples:

  • Controller – $20 to $50.
  • Sprinkler heads – 3 to 5 lawn broadcast sprayers at $5 to $15 each – $15 to $75
    8 to 10 planting bed sprayers at $5 to $10 each – $40 to $100
  • PVC piping & fittings – Figuring 100 feet of pipe with various fittings – $100.

Is it difficult to install?

A faucet irrigation system (also known as a faucet sprinkler system) can easily be installed by a competent do-it-yourselfer if you are not afraid of getting your hands dirty. Some digging, twisting, and gluing of pipe connections, and simple programming of the controller will have such a system up and running.

This type of system should allow you to “set it and forget it” for watering a front or back yard, or a few planting beds. It should remain maintenance-free for several seasons. During extremely cold weather, the controller may have to be removed or wrapped to prevent freezing. The controller battery will need periodic replacement but could last 2-3 years with no problem.

If you need to water more planting beds or larger lawn areas you may need to consider a multi-zone system, which we cover in our other articles.

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