What to expect when having a system put in...
1. Pipe Installation:
Pipe is installed with our vibratory plow - a trench-less pipe-installing machine that leaves a narrow scar in the lawn that is then leveled with the existing lawn. Normally no reseeding is required and the lawn will recover within a week.
2. Crossing sidewalks and paved surfaces:
Occasionally the irrigation design requires that we cross sidewalks with pipe and/or wire. Our trained Aquarius staff has three options:
a) For narrow walks we often use the hydrodynamic method - where a tunnel is created by using water pushed through a pipe that works its way under and across narrow paved areas such as sidewalks. Voids that may result from this are backfilled and tamped to maintain the integrity of the support for the paved surface being crossed.
b) For wider paths and driveways we can use our soil auger boring method that allows us to pass under driveways and narrow roads. Although we are careful to install the pipe or wire well below the paved surface, there may be some small voids created that over time (measured in years) may result in a fine crack in pavement that has may have been installed with insufficient base material.
Heaving due to freeze and thaw cycles common in the North Country also may contribute to the cracking process. Often it is possible to locate municipal electric wires, cable lines and gas pipes where they cross the driveway - we try to avoid this whenever possible.
c) Rather than crossing a driveway, we try to go around the back of the structure to avoid the need to bore under the driveway whenever possible.
3. Installing valves:
The electric valve is equivalent to the shoulder, knee or wrist in the irrigation system. It is activated by an electrical signal and sends water to the various sprinklers that are connected to it. Occasionally the Aquarius service technician needs to access this electric valve to trouble shoot a problem or to verify the continuity of the control wire. Aquarius tries to locate valves in clusters in valve boxes that are recessed level with the soil surface. These valve boxes should also be kept accessible and maintained by the owner for future access. We try to cluster the valves to reduce the number of valve boxes and to make it easier to maintain valve accessibility.
4. Installing sprinklers:
The sprinkler is the active portion of the irrigation system. It needs to be kept free of vegetation that may grow into the path of the water spray pattern and prevent water from landing where it does the most good.
Grass can quickly completely cover a sprinkler - making it difficult to locate or affecting its operation. It is also important to install the irrigation system so that the sprinkler is set below the level of paved surfaces to avoid damage from plows or snow shovels. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that gardens do not encroach into the lawn - fully engulfing a sprinkler and rendering it ineffective.
Installing a sprinkler in the lawn requires a small excavation. Our trained installers remove as little turf as possible then return the soil and sod around the sprinkler so that the grass will grow once the irrigation system is activated. Each sprinkler has an interchangeable nozzle and an adjustment to regulate the watering radius - these are generally adjusted once the system is operational and may need to be readjusted as the landscape matures.
5. The controller:
We prefer to install the controller where it is accessible to the owner and to the Aquarius service staff. The ideal location for the controller is in the garage or on the outside wall if a weatherproof model is selected.
Locating the controller in a locked space or basement may seem logical because of the threat of vandalism in public spaces however this is not normally a problem on residential property or secure public locations. The controller can be located anywhere that the control wire can be routed however there must be an electrical outlet within 6 feet of the desired location.
6. Completing the installation:
“The client's property should be as clean or cleaner than when we arrived.”
The Aquarius crew is instructed to pick up all debris, restore all lawn (reseeding where needed) and to treat the client's landscape with respect. Obviously, the installation of 24 sprinklers, 3 valve boxes and 1/2 mile of pipe in a lawn will leave some short term impact. However we take pride in minimizing this impact so that the lawn will surpass its original condition in a short time.The installation foreman will verify that all zones operate as designed and enter a basic program into the controller. You will then receive a brief lesson as to the systems operation. Full payment is expected at this time.
Aquarius will then contact you to make a thorough check-up of the irrigation system so that a complete As-Built diagram of the system can be prepared. A full function program is then installed into the controller based on landscape needs, well-water characteristics and client activity schedules.