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How To Install Drip Irrigation Using a Simple Sprinkler System Conversion Kit

It is easy to install drip irrigation by converting an existing automatic pop-up sprinkler system. 

We recently moved into a new home.  In addition to an automatic lawn irrigation system, the builder installed pop-up sprinklers in the shrub beds.  I have never liked watering landscape plants with sprinklers.  A little water sprays over the roots and a lot ends up where you don't wanted it; on the stems, trunk and foliage of landscape trees and shrubs, as well as sidewalks, driveways, and the house foundation.  

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Benefits of Drip Irrigation

  • Saves water, money, and time.
  • Reduces risk of disease, trunk, stems and foliage remains dry.
  • Control water placement and output at each nozzle.
  • Drip irrigation is easy to install.

Tools and Supplies Needed

I used the Raindrip pop-up conversion kit to replace Rainbird 1800 Series pop-up sprinklers.

The kit has a built-in pressure regulator and filter. It simply threads onto an existing 1/2 inch riser.

Rainbird manufactures a similar kit.  All of the required drip irrigation equipment can be purchased online or at your local home improvement store.

The first summer in our new home, I refused to use the pop-up sprinklers to water plants in the landscape beds.  Where we live, the soils are sandy and the summers are usually dry.  Our new trees and shrubs required frequent watering.  

My lovely wife drug the hose around the yard hand watering three to four days a week.  It took her an hour and a half each time.  

After several loving hints, I decided it would be a good idea to convert the landscape beds to drip.  After all, it's a really easy project that will likely keep my shrubs and my marriage healthy.

install drip irrigation using a conversion kitPop-up sprinkler wasting water.
  • Pop-up sprinkler conversion kit
  • 5/8 inch polyethylene drip irrigation distribution tubing
  • 1/4 inch drip tubing
  • Barbed connectors
  • Drip emmitters
  • Compression tees and couplings
  • 3/4 inch hose thread x 1/2 inch compression swivel adaptor
  • 1/2" compression end plug
  • Stakes
  • Pipe cutter
  • Drip tubing hole punch

Installing Drip Irrigation is Easy

  1. Excavate around the existing pop-up spray head and then remove it.
  2. Thread the conversion kit onto the 1/2 inch riser.
  3. Connect the 5/8 inch water supply tubing by using a threaded hose end adapter.
  4. Cap off the remaining pop-up sprinklers.
  5. Connect the 1/4 inch tubing and drip emitters to the supply line.
Drip irrigation conversion kit
Converting pop-up sprinkler to drip irrigationExcavate around the existing pop-up spray head and then remove it.
How to convert sprinkler to drip irrigationCap off the remaining sprinkler heads. The pop-up on the top waters the lawn. The shrub head on the bottom was capped with a plug that comes with the kit.
Drip Irrigation KitInstall the drip irrigation conversion kit onto the 1/2 inch riser.
How to install drip irrigationConnect the 5/8 inch water supply tubing by using a threaded hose end adapter.
How to install drip irrigationUse hole punch to connect 1/4 inch tubing to water supply line.
drip irrigation emitter attachmentConnect the 1/4 inch tubing and drip emitters to the supply line.

I recommend flushing the system to clear dirt and debris before installing the drip emitters.

We purchased all of the supplies from a local home improvement store.  The total cost of supplies was approximately $300 to convert both the front and back yard sprinklers to drip irrigation.  

Overall, it was a simple project that took about eight hours to complete.  Now I can use our automatic sprinkler system to water the landscape beds; saving time, money, and knowing that water is getting to the roots...not on the sidewalk.

how to install drip irrigationWatering trees and shrubs, not the sidewalk, driveway or house.

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