Most irrigation work can be done by the homeowner, except for one component. Tapping into your home’s main water line needs to be done by a licensed contractor to ensure it is completed safely. To help homeowners know how to select and work with a contractor, we have provided the Irrigation Association’s Irrigation Consumer Bill of Rights in the Appendix.

To make sure you have an efficient system, we highly recommend that you hire a professional irrigation designer to create a custom plan. Having a custom plan minimizes water waste and the chance of problems in the future and also helps ensure an efficient distribution of water, which reduces water usage. We also recommend asking a designer to produce a “call-out” list of all the parts required for the installation or renovation. This helps homeowners decide whether to DIY or hire a contractor.


When you begin to plan a drip system, whether you’re installing a new system or retrofitting an existing system, it is imperative to design it so the drip valves are separate from your lawn valves. If you plan to grow a vegetable garden or water annual beds with a drip system, those areas also need to be on separate valves.

The next thing to do is organize your drip zones by plant watering needs. This means that higher water plants and lower water plants should be on separate valves (hydrozoning) whenever possible, so watering is much more efficient. Hydrozoning is not always possible when retrofitting an established landscape. In that case, you can adjust your water delivery with various sized drip emitters so plants with higher water needs receive more water per hour.

Check out our New Irrigation Efficiency Guide: Beautiful Landscapes with Less Water. Download the guide here.  

Read more articles about irrigation here:

The Water Conservation Gift that Keeps on Giving

Best Practices for Watering with a Drip Irrigation System

The Balancing act of watering trees in the Fall and Winter

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