I moved into the house in December of 2004 and the backyard was almost bare if it was not for two ash trees (which I hated and took down) and a nice texas redbud (which I love). For two years I attempted to water the lawn with your standard hose a sprinkler which proved to be annoying. Let alone I would sometimes forget to turn off the water before I went to bed and found the backyard almost flooded. Therefore Rachael and I decided to get a sprinkler system. We got estimates and found the cheapest to be $2500. I have helped put in sprinkler systems in Nebraska and it did not seem to be too difficult. So, I thought I can do this and I started researching on sprinkler placement, and how far below the ground to dig, and how to connect to the main, etc. After about a month of research, I came up with a plan. I also thought, since I will be digging up these trenches, why not lay wire for low voltage landscape lighting. Rachael and I also wanted to have flower beds, so I planned to have separate stations for these beds.
Commence digging...I found that in Austin the ground is a bit more rocky than the ground in Nebraska and realized this project will take some back breaking effort. I also invested in a pick axe for trenching. The project took about 2 months to finish with about 2 days on full labor. I was basically solo on this project with a little help from my friend Mike Elsasser. I am not sure if I would ever do this again, but who knows...I like a little pain. Some afterthoughts, or things that I would do differently....
- I used the thickest 1" PVC pipe for the water main, which I recommend, but I think I went overboard with 1" PVC pipe for each station. I think 3/4" PVC should suffice. Water pressure for me is great though.
- I would buy the 12" guage landscape lighting wiring and sprinkler control wiring in the lighting and sprinkler sections, but I found you could buy it in bulk at a cheaper price in the electrical wiring section.
I also put in low voltage lighting which spotlights all of the trees in the front yard and backyard and also spotlights some features of the house. One of the pictures in this post shows the front of the house with the landscape lighting at nighttime, although I could not get a very good picture. Oh well.
Due to the incredible amounts on yard waste that I disposed of, I decided I could make better use of the yard waste and I bought an Envirocycle Composter. I bought it in July and am still on my first batch. I am still learning about what to put in and what not to put it, so the first batch is taking awhile. We are also able to put kitchen waste (excluding meats). I can't say that I bought this because I am an environmentalist...I just thought what a good way to reuse the yard and kithchen waste.