DIY: The 5-Minute Automated Sprinkler System

A few months ago, I wrote a piece for the blog about how to quickly set up an irrigation system for your lawn. Truth to be told, the article has not aged properly for one main reason: The system that I had devised required all manual work after installation, meaning you still had to get up and turn on/off the faucet for the system to work and here is one detail I did not consider…

The best time to water your lawn is from 4 AM to 6 AM

Think about it, this is the coolest time of the day (at least in Houston) and there is less wind, so the grass can absorb most of the water. The problem is who is going to wake up at 4 in the morning to water the lawn? With this in mind, I decided to revise my previous blog entry and write up a new one. This time going over how to install a system in less than 5 minutes that is completely automated, and did I mention affordable? Let’s continue…

(If you are tired of having to do it yourself and tired of seeing the hoses laying around the backyard, it is time for a real sprinkler system. While this is something you can do yourself, I do not recommend it unless you are used to working directly under the vibrant Houston sun for hours a day. For everyone else, contact us here to get a free estimate)

What You Need:

Here is a list of what you will need with images and direct links to shop Amazon (not affiliated)

1) Hoses - We recommend the rubber kind as they don’t tangle as easily as the others and they are easy to store. Budget for at least two hoses, one for the backyard, and one for the front yard. Estimated price: $64

Easy to untangle, Houston weather resistant
Easy to untangle, Houston weather resistant

2) Oscillating Sprinklers or Above-Ground Sprinkler Heads. Estimated price $40 and $20, respectively.

Oscillating sprinkler.jpg
Above Ground Sprinkler.jpg

3) Single Outlet Hose Watering Timers or a Multi-Outlet Hose Watering Timer depending on your home’s configuration. Estimated price: 1 Outlet $30, 2 Outlets $50, and 3 Outlets $62

Single Outlet Hose Watering Timer.jpg
Multi-outlet watering timer.jpg

And that’s it. Plug them into your water faucet and voila, you are ready to go!

Once you have all the components ready, you have to set up the timer to start at 4 in the morning and run for the specific time you need. If you don’t know how long you need to water the lawn for, here’s a short article that can answer the question.

Setting Up the Timer

PRO TIP We recommend using an Orbit timer since those are the easiest to program. However, the setup steps may change if you have a different brand.

Programming is done by turning the dial counter-clockwise

  1. Set the current time by turning the dial to “Clock Set” and use the plus and minus buttons to select the time. Pay attention to the AM/PM sets on the screen.
  2. Next, turn the dial to the next position “Start Time” use the plus and minus buttons to navigate to the time you would like the timer to start. We recommend 4 AM - 6 AM.
  3. Turn the dial to “How Long” and select an option between 1 and 240 minutes. If you don’t know how long to water for, start with 45 minutes and adjust accordingly. Use plus and minus buttons to select water duration.
  4. Then, turn the dial to “How Often” to set up the frequency of the watering session. You can select between 6 hours, once a day and every 7 days. For Houston weather, we recommend at least once a day during the warmer days and once every 3 days during the cooler days.
  5. Finally, turn the dial to “Auto” to complete set up. The dial must be on “Auto” for the timer to run on the settings you programmed.
  6. Turn the dial to “Off” to stop all watering when needed.

If you rather watch a video than read the instructions, here is a helpful video from the manufacturer.

So there you have it, an above-ground automated sprinkler system that can save your time, your lawn, and your wallet. We hope this is helpful and when you are ready to install an in-ground sprinkler system, we will be happy to assist you!

1-Minute Controller Overview

Setting Up Watering (or run) Times