Monday, July 29, 2013

Sprinklers and Mud

Last week we turned the lawn area around 3283 to "basic black" with the installation of topsoil. It looked great. The loam was nice and dark colored and relatively dry. But what fun is good black soil if it's dry. The task assigned to West Ottawa Sprinkling was to provide a system to make it wet. And so they did. 

Last Thursday Doug Wedeven, the plumber they subcontracted, came to 3283 and made the connection for the new sprinkler system to our well pump piping. He ran copper pipe from the copper near the pressure valve/tank to the basement ceiling; then PEX pipe to the north wall of the addition where the sprinkler connection and control valves would be located. On the outside of the building he installed a vacuum breaker / back-flow prevention device between the house water system and he underground piping for the sprinklers.

Doug is cutting into the existing supply line to make the sprinkler connection.
One more PEX pipe line was snaked through the basement ceiling.
Our water supply popes are red and blue. Sprinkler supply is white.
Copper pipe was used to connect the vacuum breaker to the system.
The completed piping...ready for the sprinkler valves to be attached.
After the plumbers left 3283 on Thursday I headed across state to visit my 'other home' and to give Bobbie a break from her cross-state driving. I was also able to do some things around that house for a change. And we got to spend Saturday evening with some good friends who we haven't seen in months.

I returned here late Sunday night. And thus, I was here when the West Ottawa Sprinkler crew arrived around 8:00 this morning. Scott Dykstra, West Ottawa's owner, was here first thing along with his guys. He marked sprinkler head locations, defined the zones that each valve will control, and met with me concerning the locations for the sprinkler control panel and the rain sensor. He stayed beyond that to see one pipe be pulled and sprinkler heads attached. Once this was done the crew tested the flow rate and pressure that our well was able to provide. Scott then raised the system pressure to allow the sprinklers to run more efficiently.

He then left the project in the capable hands of Adam, Carlos and Evan who did the majority of the installation. The first step was locating underground stuff. Consumers Energy and Semco Gas had marked the electric and natural gas supply lines -- which, obviously, are located right where nearly every sprinkler supply line was to be connected to the valve manifold. The crew had to locate the septic line, the electric line to the front deck light, and the sleeves that were installed by the sidewalk contractor to allow piping to pass underneath.

After pulling the first sprinkler line.
Locating the septic line.
One of the 4" PVC sleeves under the walks.
Following the testing and locating the crew went to work pulling 100s of feet of 1 inch diameter plastic pipe  We estimate that just shy of 1000 feet of pipe was buried in the yard of 3283 today. This included pipe to water all lawn areas, the area north of the addition where we will use ground cover, and provision to add sprinklers at a later time to the flower/shrub bed areas -- including the retaining wall terraces.

The machine made many passes across the yard to bury pipe.
Here the pipe is being pulled along the south sidewalk.
Irrigation piping was provided to each terrace.
Sprinkler heads will be installed once we know what will be planted there.
Adam worked to install a rain sensor on the west eve of the addition. This will allow the controller to skip sprinkling cycles during and following rain events. Since the addition walls are yet to be insulated and dry-walled, the control wire could easily be run indoors. He also ran the wires from the valve manifold to the control unit.
The rain sensor on the west addition eave.
More holes were drilled to run the wire to the control panel.
We were able to re-use the control panel from our old sprinkler system.
Adam mounted it on the basement wall next to the water heater.
The white PVC pipe is the manifold to which all control valves are attached.
Its buried just north of the addition. 
Much of the rest of the time the crew was there was spent making connections between pipe runs and installing sprinkler heads. There is a lot of pipe and many connections throughout the yard.

Pipes heading east from manifold/control valves.
Evan connecting a sprinkler head.
Running pipe under the septic line.
Working on complex junction adjacent to a sidewalk crossing.
The area north of the addition is where all our utilities enter the house. It is also where the sprinkler valves are located. Carlos did a great job regrading the area after installing the valve manifold and connecting all the pipes to it. The green valve covers will be eventually covered by mulch/bark and ground cover plants.

The "mess" during installation.
Nicely finished with top soil replaced.
When all the pipe and sprinkler heads were installed the crew energized each zone and made adjustments to the sprinkling pattern. This is when the most mud was created. I'm sure the new sod will love the water once it arrives. But today the sole activity of the water from the sprinklers was to make mud.

The crew did a good job of attempting to clean the sidewalks. But I think it will take a few days/weeks of rain and sweeping to get all the dirt off ... especially where the machine's tires pressed it onto the walk. I'm not concerned -- a power washer will definitely make them clean again.
Testing by the back porch.
Adjusting one of the main back yard sprinkler heads.
Adjusting sprinkler heads in the front yard.
Our muddy yard at the end of the work day.

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