Lateral Line Piping (Draw Lateral Pipe)
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Lateral Line Piping (Draw Lateral Pipe)

We recommend reviewing the Pipe Data to determine which type of lateral pipe you'll use on your project before beginning the actual piping process.


It's assumed that you've already grouped, or Circuited, your lateral heads into zones that will be controlled by one valve, and that the flow for a grouping does not exceed the maximum allowed by the water source or point of connection (POC). After locating and placing a control valve for the lateral system, you can pipe those heads to the control valve.

In previous versions of Land F/X, deleting a section of pipe that had already been called out would turn the pipe labels into "zombies" that cluttered the drawing. We've engineered the Verify Laterals tool to make those "zombie" labels disappear. For details, check out our Zombie Pipe Labels Power Tip.

Before Drawing Lateral Pipe: Set Selection Cycling to -2

Before you start drawing lateral pipe, make sure to set the Selection Cycle system variable to -2. This setting will prevent a selection dialog box from popping up as you draw your laterals, which in turn requires extra mouse clicks.



Type SelectionCycle in the Command line and press Enter. When prompted to enter a value, type -2 (that is, minus 2).

Drawing Lateral Line Piping

To begin piping, select our Draw Lateral Pipe tool:



F/X Irrigation ribbon, Draw Lateral flyout


F/X Irrigation ribbon, Draw Lateral flyout






Irrigation Pipng toolbar


Irrigation Piping toolbar

F/X Irrigation menu


F/X Irrigation menu, Draw Lateral Pipe option




or type LateralPipe in the Command line




The cursor will turn into a pickbox for you to select a head.


Once you click a head to select it, that head will be highlighted in yellow. You'll also see a pipe extending from the head and following your cursor.

Head selected and highlighted in yellow




Pipe to another head

You can then click the next head (or point or pipe).


If you pipe to another head, it will be highlighted in yellow as well.




When you use Draw Lateral Pipe, clicking items such as heads will highlight them to let you know what you've clicked. These highlights will be color coded to indicate the following items when you've piped to them:

  • Yellow: head or valve
  • Magenta: a point in space
  • Cyan: an existing pipe
  • Green: an existing fitting
Yellow highlight showing selection of head or valve


Yellow highlight showing selection of a head or valve


Magenta highlight showing a point clicked in space

Magenta highlight showing that you've clicked a point in space




Cyan highlight that appears when you click another pipe to connect to


Cyan highlight that appears when you

click another pipe to connect to

Green highlight that appears when you click an existing fitting


Green highlight that appears when you click an existing fitting



Imagine using Draw Lateral Pipe as placing actual pipe in the field.

  • The pipe you draw will only connect to items related to lateral line, such as heads, valves, fittings, pipe, or simply a point in space that will act as a fitting. The pipe will not want to connect to items that are not related to lateral lines, such as meters, backflows, trees, etc.
  • The pipe will automatically "snap to" heads, fittings, or pipe if they are at the pickbox area of your crosshairs. If you want to place a pipe near an entity, such as a head, but not snap to it, zoom in closely to select the area and avoid the head.



Draw Lateral Pipe makes selections for finding and snapping to an entity in the following order:

1. Head

2. Valve

3. Pipe to which it can connect a fitting

4. A point in space, where the pipe you draw will assume you are piping to an end point fitting


Keyboard Shortcuts

When you select Draw Lateral Pipe, the Command line will prompt:

Next point or head [Xhair Angle, Arc, Zone layer on/off, Head autosnap On]:


We offer several keyboard shortcuts for drawing laterals. You can type K at any time when drawing laterals to see the screen pictured below, which shows all these commands.


The following keys on your keyboard will help you jump quickly between commands and modes when drawing lateral pipe:

  • Type F8 to enter Ortho mode.
  • Type a number key (1 through 9) to toggle to the corresponding pipe category.
  • Type X for Xhair Angle.
  • Type A to draw the pipe as a graphical arc, for better readability.
  • Type L to draw the pipe as a line (as opposed to an arc)
Keyboard commands for drawing lateral pipe
  • Type C to toggle between pipe categories if you have added more than one type of lateral pipe to your project.
  • Type Z for Zone, to turn on and off the Zone (Circuit) layer state.
  • Type H to turn on Head Autosnap


You can always type U, for Undo, to undo any command.


F8 for Ortho Mode

Pressing the F8 key will activate Ortho mode, which limits cursor movement to horizontal and vertical directions in relation to the current User Coordinate System (UCS). If you only plan to draw pipe in these two directions, Ortho mode can make your job much easier.


1 through 9 to Toggle to a Specific Pipe Category

Use the number keys to toggle to a specific pipe category. For example, if you type 1, you'll toggle to Pipe Category 1 you've set in the Pipe Data. To toggle to the next pipe category, type C.


X for Xhair Angle

Typing X will activate Xhair Angle (formerly known as Snap Angle) – a Land F/X tool that allows you to orient your crosshairs to a specific angle by:

  • Clicking another line (thus matching the orientation of that line)
  • Clicking two points in space
  • Typing a number, or
  • Rght-clicking to bring the crosshairs back to 0 orientation

Note: You can also use the AutoCAD Ortho command, accessed by either pressing the F8 key or clicking the Ortho button. The pipes will be drawn in an ortho (straight) relationship to the crosshairs. This command can be toggled on and off freely while you draw piping.


A for Arc

Typing A during piping will allow you to select another head or point, and then define an arc between where you started and ended. This feature is intended to create a larger graphic arc, and not a pipe hop, which is automatically accomplished during Verify Lateral Piping.


Here's an example of a pipe arc.

Pipe arc example




L for "Line"

Type L to go back to drawing your pipes as lines, as opposed to arcs.


C to Toggle Between Categories

If you've added more than one class of lateral, you can type C while drawing the lateral piping to toggle between your pipe categories. The first type of pipe you added to your project will be assigned a continuous linetype, and other categories will be assigned other types of line graphics, such as dash-dot, etc. The system will keep track of the length of each class of pipe used. To toggle to a specific pipe category, press the corresponding number key (1 through 9).


Z for "Zone"

Typing Z during piping will toggle the Zone (Circuit) layers on or off. This can prove helpful in clearing the drawing of extraneous information during piping.



Here's an example of a zone in a drawing with the Zone (Circuit) layers turned on.

Circuit layers turned on, example




Circuit zones turned off

Typing Z while piping will turn off the zones for a clearer image of the project.




H for "Head AutoSnap"

Typing H during piping will turn on Head AutoSnap. Click a head to start piping from it, then type H for Head AutoSnap. As you move your mouse now, you will connect a pipe to any head you pass over, allowing you to pipe a line of heads quickly.


Head AutoSnap on




Move the mouse along the line of heads to pipe between them quickly.


Heads piped

You'll need to be a little careful when using Head AutoSnap. If you sneeze, for example, your mouse could go up to heads to which you had no intention of piping. Always use Verify Piping to verify that the heads you just piped are correct, and that you did not connect to any heads unintentionally, or missed some that you wanted to pipe.

Piping to Drip & Schematic Areas

You now have several options for piping to drip areas and Schematic Irrigation areas. For example, placing a valve directly into a drip or Schematic area will cause the area to automatically "read" that valve as if you've drawn pipe to it from the valve.


For information on piping to these areas, see our pages on:

In previous versions of Irrigation F/X, you would have been required to dead-end a lateral pipe from a valve to a drip area for the valve to be recognized as piped to that area. With Version 12.29 (February 2016), we engineered drip and Schematic areas with the ability to connect automatically with valves placed within them. If you've placed a valve within a drip area but that area doesn't seem to be recognizing the valve, you may need to update to the latest version.

Lateral Pipe and Shut-Off Valves

Note that the Draw Lateral Pipe tool will only allow piping to a shut-off valve (AKA gate valve) if valve-in-head (VIH) rotors have been added to the project.

Using Multiple Pipe Classes

Our Pipe Data tool allows you to specify up to 9 classes of lateral pipe and 6 classes of mainline in each of your projects. As long as you meet a few specific criteria in setting up your pipe classes, the system will automatically assign each of your classes to the correct size of lateral or mainline pipe.

More information about using multiple pipe classes

Pipe Data

Valve-in-Head (VIH) Rotors

Valve-in-head (VIH) rotors are generally piped with constantly pressurized pipe, which, by definition, is mainline. However, you should use our Lateral Pipe tool when piping to and between VIH rotors. Why? Because our system allows areas connected with lateral pipe to be turned into separate stations or zones – plus many designers refer to these pipes as "laterals." The system will recognize the valves in the heads and will treat the pipe as if it's mainline. See our VIH Rotors page for more information.

Lateral Line Error Checking

Lateral line error checking is a critical step in the piping process. You must determine any errors in piping before you proceed with the design. Our main error-checking tools for lateral line piping are Highlight Station, Verify Laterals, and Verify Mainline.



Highlight Station

Highlight Station is a must-use tool during the piping process that allows you to confirm that heads are being connected properly and that all heads are connected to the valve.

For detailed information, see our Highlight Station documentation page.

Highlight Station also allows you to colorize specific zones. For more information, see our Colorize documentation page.



Verify Lateral Piping

Once you've piped all heads in the project, you can select the Verify Laterals tool to ensure that you haven't missed any heads.

For more information, see our Verify Laterals documentation page.



Verify Mainline

Our Verify Mainline tool also plays a key role in error checking your lateral pipe.

For information, see our Verify Mainline documentation page.

Insert Pipe Sleeve

Our Insert Pipe Sleeve tool allows you to insert a sleeve on a particular pipe. Sleeves you place in your drawing will be called out in the Irrigation Schedule.

For more information, see our Insert Pipe Sleeve documentation page.

Note: You can also place a sleeve where no pipe exists. This might be a case where you want a sleeve for future use, or one that is intended for just wire, etc. Instead of clicking a pipe, simply click two points and a sleeve will appear, spanning between those two points. In addition, you can use our Pipe Label tool to label the sleeve as a size of your choice.

Insert Manual Pipe Hop

Our Insert Pipe Hop tool allows the manual insertion of a hop or arc in a pipe that conflicts with another pipe, head, or other equipment.

The Verify Laterals tool provides pipe hops automatically. Our manual Pipe Hop tool is intended for extremely specific situations.

Related Webinars

  • Irrigation for Beginners: We'll show how to navigate through the Irrigation ribbon and build a familiarity with our conceptual-level tools. You'll also learn the basics of adding equipment to a project, placing, piping, sizing, and scheduling. (1 hr 45 min)
  • Getting Started with Irrigation F/X: Join us for this webinar to get going with the essential capabilities of Irrigation F/X. We'll show how to navigate through the Irrigation ribbon and build a familiarity with our conceptual-level tools. You'll also learn the basics of adding equipment to a project, placing, piping, sizing, and scheduling. (1 hr 8 min)
  • Irrigation Tools – What You Need to Know: We'll show you the ins and outs of basic irrigation setup using our software. (1 hr 6 min)


Issue: How can I account for future expansion of my design system?


Issue: When I pipe to a head, the "snap" point is wrong


Issue: The pickbox and pipe extension are reacting differently with different heads, often snapping to a point away from the head


Issue: CAD becomes extremely slow during piping


Issue: CAD becomes extremely slow, or cursor lags or becomes jumpy, during piping


Issue: After laying out your pipes, you discovered that you used the wrong pipe category (class)


Issue: The mainline or lateral pipe symbol has the incorrect linetype in your Irrigation Schedule (Solid, Dashed, etc.)


Issue: Your lateral pipe is jumping or hopping, whether or not you are using Head Autosnap.


Issue: You have lateral pipe running through the middle of one or more of your spray heads


Issue: Lines in your Xrefs are becoming excessively thick when you draw lateral pipe


Issue: You want to use custom linetypes for different pipe sizes


Issue: Your lateral pipes are not snapping correctly to some or all heads when you use the XHair or Ortho setting

Last modified on Thursday, 09 February 2023 08:45
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