Start to Finish Basics of Irrigation Design
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Start to Finish Basics of Irrigation Design

Friday, 08 February 2019
Video Length:  01:31:27
Presented By:  Jake Lott
Are you just getting started in the industry, or do you need a refresher on the basics of irrigation design? Join us as we cover the basics of irrigation terminology. This webinar will help give you an understanding of how to specify the proper equipment, talk about important concepts of irrigation design, and create a complete irrigation plan from start to finish.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro/TOC
  • Basic Terminology
  • Plan Setup Concepts (Site Analysis)
    • Setting Up Projects & CAD Files
    • Gathering Source Data for Irrigation
    • Confirming Measurements of Landscape
    • Translating That Information Back to the Computer (Plan)
  • Placing & Piping to Equipment
  • Verify Your Work
  • Size Laterals & Mainline
  • Understanding the Design Results (Critical Analysis & Valve Schedule)

0:00 – 7:17: Intro/TOC

Importance of an accurate irrigation design (4:33)

Inaccurate system designs can result in:

  • Poor coverage
    • Dead plant material
    • Wasted water
  • Unusable system
  • Loss in profits
    • Labor & material
    • Future jobs
  • Issues with legibility & inclusion of information
    • Legalities
    • Difficulties for the contractor


*Remember to always check local and state regulations.

7:18 – 26:59: Basic Terminology

Irrigation diagram (7:18)


Point of connection (7:40)


Backflow (8:03)


Remote control valve (RCV) (8:40)


Service line (9:10)


Mainline (9:45)

In general, the mainline is constantly pressurized.


Lateral lines (11:03)

Lateral lines are not pressurized.


Zones (11:25)


Flow & pressure (11:50)

  • Available flow & pressure (Refers to the flow and pressure up to the RCV, or the source water.) (11:50)
  • Demand (12:50) (Refers to the flow and pressure of the design.)


Basic irrigation terminology (13:30):

  • Service line: Pipe from the city main to the water meter
  • Water source: aka point of connection (POC), water meter, pipe stub – main connection point to which an irrigation design is tied
  • Backflow (RPZ/PVB/double check): Device to prevent irrigation water from entering culinary water lines
  • Main/mainline (mainline pipe): Pressurized pipes that go from the POC to the control valves
  • Remote control valve (RCV)/valve: Equipment used to deliver water to the heads
  • Laterals) lateral pipe): Non-pressurized pipes between the RCV and the sprinkler heads
  • Circuit/zone/station: A valve circuit consists of a single control valve and all the fittings, pipes, and sprinkler heads it turns on
  • Flow (GPM/liters per second/leaders per minute): A unit of measure for the water flow rate
  • Pressure (PSI/bars/kPa): A unit of measure for the water pressure rate


Delivery system types (14:06):

  • Dripline
  • Emitters/bubblers
  • Micro-spray
  • Spray
  • Rotary
  • Rotors
  • Impacts
  • Valve-in-head


Understanding performance data (14:55)


A few considerations (20:53):

  • What are you irrigating?
  • Any regulations?
  • Site needs?
  • Site conditions?
  • Water windows?
  • Budget restrictions?
  • Water efficiently, water smart.
  • Do your research.
  • Cover your corners.
  • Always aim for head-to-head coverage.


Breaking up the site (24:00)

27:00 – 44:04: Plan Setup Concepts (Site Analysis

Setting Up Projects & CAD Files (27:00)


Dimensions & coverage (27:40)


Checking uniformity of coverage (31:55)


Irrigation Preferences (34:30)


Pipe Data defaults (35:30)



Gathering Source Data for Irrigation (36:45)

Configuring the water source (36:45)


Placing the water source (38:10)


Confirming Measurements of Landscape (39:00)


Translating That Information Back to the Computer (Plan) (41:30)


Creating a schematic plan using our Schematic Irrigation tool (41:30)


Placing an Irrigation Schedule (43:33)

44:05 – 1:16:51: Placing & Piping to Equipment

Placing heads (44:05)


Copying heads along a line (45:50)


Toggling between coverage radius sizes (47:50)


Fixed- vs. variable-arc nozzles (53:50)


Adding dripline areas (56:45)


Generating a flow total and creating zones (1:00:20)


Running a zone schedule (1:02:45)

Note: Your zones will not determine your valve numbers, unless you want them to.


Placing valves (1:04:05)


Piping to the valves with mainline (1:08:15)


Color-coded pipe connections (1:09:40):

  • Magenta: A pipe connection out in space, not connected to equipment
  • Yellow: Pipe connecting to equipment
  • Cyan: Pipe connecting equipment to another piece of pipe


Piping to heads with lateral pipe (1:10:45)


Highlighting equipment (1:11:48)


Placing and piping to drip line areas (1:12:20)


Determining how many heads to put in a single zone (1:14:40)

1:16:52 – 1:20:29: Verify Your Work

Error checking your zones using our Verify Laterals tool (1:16:52)


Placing pipe hops (1:17:05)


Error checking the mainline using our Verify Mainline tool (1:18:30)


Labeling valves (1:19:22)

1:20:30 – 1:21:35: Size Laterals & Mainline

Sizing the lateral pipes (1:20:30)


Cleaning up your pipe labels (1:20:55)


Sizing the mainline (1:21:34)

1:21:36 – end: Understanding the Design Results (Critical Analysis & Valve Schedule)


Checking the Critical Analysis (1:21:36)


Understanding the Critical Station and using this data to ensure your design meets the pressure requirements (1:21:57)

The Critical Station represents the worst-case scenario in your design from a pressure standpoint.


Placing an Irrigation Schedule listing all equipment used in a design (1:23:07)


Placing a Valve Schedule (1:23:30)


Colorized zones in a plot preview (1:23:50)


Using our Move Piped Equipment tool to move heads you’ve already piped to (1:25:00)

You can even toggle to a new radius for these heads.


More about the Critical Station (1:26:00)


Resizing the lateral pipes after making changes (1:28:00)


Reminder that we’ve added extensive keyboard commands to many of our tools. Press K on your keyboard with one of these tools active to see the available commands. (1:29:15)

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