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How to Add a New Zone to a Sprinkler System

How to Add a New Zone to a Sprinkler System

Dec 4th 2023

Adding a new zone to the sprinkler system is a great way to cover more turf with the right water coverage and lower demand in other zones. Zones are added to ensure that different areas of your garden or landscape get the right amount of water without waste. Expanding the sprinkler system is a simple process. However, it requires basic knowledge of cutting and gluing PVC pipe and the ability to perform a lot of trenching.

A sprinkler system comprises a control box commonly known as an irrigation timer that works as the brain of the system, valves that allow the distribution of water to sprinklers, and a network of piping and sprinkler heads that waters the landscape. The original sprinkler control box doesn't need to be replaced to add a zone. However, piping, additional valves, and sprinkler heads are required.

In this article, our irrigation experts will explain the step-by-step process of adding a new zone to the sprinkler system. Let's get started!

Evaluate Your Existing Sprinkler System

Take some time to assess your current sprinkler system before starting the zone installation process. Determine the water pressure and flow, locate existing zones, and identify the type of sprinkler system you have (spray, rotor, or drip). Understanding your system will help you choose the right components for the new zone.

If you plan to add a new zone to the sprinkler system, consider whether your existing sprinkler controller can handle new zones. Some controllers have a fixed total capacity or maximum number of zones they can operate. In case your irrigation controller capacity is fixed and you're already using all available stations, you'll need to upgrade your sprinkler controller.

In addition, your sprinkler wire is another crucial thing to consider.

Does your sprinkler system leave you enough extra wires? If not, you'll have to install a second controller in a new area or run a new wire from the current controller. Once you have confirmed that your sprinkler system controller can handle additional zones and you have enough wires to expand your system, you are ready to add a zone.

Gather Necessary Materials

Here is a list of tools and materials you will need for this project:

  • PVC pipe
  • PVC primer and glue
  • Sprinkler heads
  • Sprinkler control wire
  • Control valve
  • Pipe cutter

Adding a Zone to Sprinkler System

  1. Locate the current sprinkler valves. They are usually buried underground or above in a plastic valve box with an exposed lid. If underground, remove the cap and dig soil on one side of the existing manifold. This is where you will install a new control valve.
  2. Turn off the water supply to sprinkler valves.
  3. The control valve is the center of your new zone. Connect a new sprinkler valve to an irrigation mainline pipe using a T fitting, PVC primer, and glue. The new valve will be wired into the sprinkler wire.
  4. Carefully dig a trench for PVC pipe that will supply water to a new zone. The trenches need to be 2 to 3 inches below the depth of frozen ground or a minimum of six inches deep. Dig the trench in parallel lines with 45- and 90-degree turns to change direction.
  5. Place the pipe in the trench, cutting it to the required size and using T or elbow fittings for turns and branches in the pipe network. Make sure all the pipe and fittings except the end of the line are glued together. You may use thread sealant tape commonly known as Teflon tape on threaded connections to prevent leaks.
  6. Attach the new sprinkler heads to PVC pipes and space them according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will help you determine how many sprinkler heads you should use per zone. Make sure the heads are level with the ground and adjusted for the best coverage.
  7. Turn on the water supply to valves to test the zone and check for leaks. If the system runs smoothly and there are no leaks, cover the trench with soil and bury the PVC pipes.
  8. The system is now ready to use. To protect it from severe weather, make sure to insulate it properly.

The Bottom Line

Increasing your garden size means increasing the size of the sprinkler system. If the current zones in your yard are unable to handle extra coverage, you will have to add a new zone to your sprinkler system. Adding a zone to a sprinkler system is a manageable DIY project, especially when you ask a professional for help. DripWorks is here to meet all your garden and landscape irrigation needs.

We carry all irrigation products and equipment you will need to add a new zone to your sprinkler system. For product information you can contact us at 1-800-522-3747 or email us. Our irrigation experts are always available to help you fulfill your irrigation requirements.