A step-by-step tutorial on building a simple DIY above ground sprinkler system made from PVC pipe.
If there was one summertime chore you could remove from your list forever, what would it be?
For us, it’s constantly watering the lawn.
Who has the patience to drag the garden hose around, making sure to soak every spot evenly, while the hose twists and tangles with every step?
We were hoping to install a new sprinkler system this year but our HVAC had other plans for us. So, we’ll have to wait until next year.
In the meantime, my husband came up with a simple sprinkler solution – a system that runs automatically above ground and covers a large area.
Here is how you can build a simple sprinkler when you aren’t quite ready for a full in-ground system yet.
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DIY Above Ground Sprinkler System
- 2: 360-degree sprinkler that sprays 12-15 feet
- 2: 10ft 1/2″ PVC pipe
- 2: 12″ 1/2 pipe riser (both ends are threaded)
- 4: 1/2″ PVC caps
- 1: 1/2″ cross fitting
- 1: 1/2″ tee fitting
- 2: 1/2″ tee fitting with one side threaded
- 1: hose connector
- PVC pipe glue
- PVC cutter
- tape measure
You can print the material list and instructions below.
SIDE NOTE: We started with 3 sprinklers but after using it, we realized we didn’t need the middle sprinkler. So, that is why ours will be slightly different.
TIP: PVC glue dries quickly so make sure to work on only one piece at a time.
CREATE THE SPRINKLER CONNECTIONS
After purchasing the supplies, you can set up the sprinkler parts.
First, cut the PVC pipe to these lengths:
- first 10 foot pipe = 2.5″, 2.5″, 11.5″,11.5″,11.5″, 11.5″, 11.5″, extra
- second 10 foot pipe = 100″, extra
Now, starting at the hose end, take the hose connector and attach the pipe end to the 11.5″ PVC piece.
TIP: Do not glue that side of the connector that goes to the hose or you will not be able to attach them together.
Next, take the other four 11.5″ lengths of PVC and glue an end cap to each piece (one per 11.5″ PVC piece).
After, take the 4-way cross PVC fitting (looks like an “x”) and attach 2 of the 11.5″ pieces (with caps) to the fitting. The two pieces will be opposite each other on the “x”; glue them together.
Then, on one of the other open ends of the fitting, glue one of the 2.5″ pieces. (See picture below for example).
Taking the last two 11.5″ pieces (with caps), attach them to the 3-way fitting with no threaded ends. Again, the pieces will be opposite each other on the fitting. Then, glue the last 2.5″ pieces onto the other open end of the fitting.
Next, take the other two 3-way fittings that have one threaded end. Attach the 12″ pipe extension onto each fitting, only tightening by hand and NO glue.
Then, attach the sprinkler to the top of the extension pipe; again, NO glue.
ASSEMBLE ALL SPRINKLER CONNECTIONS
Now it’s time to attach all the pieces together.
Starting at the hose connector, glue the hose connector to the last open end of the 4-way cross fitting.
After, glue one open end of a 3-way fitting that has a sprinkler attached, to the 2.5″ piece. Adjust the sprinkler fitting so that the sprinkler will be straight.
The two PVC pieces from the 4-way fitting are the supports of the sprinkler and they will be flat on the ground. It will look something like this:
TIP: Remember the glue dries fast so adjust the fitting quickly.
Next, attach the 100″ PVC pipe piece to the last open spot of the last added fitting.
Before attaching the other sprinkler fitting to this piece, attach the supports to the sprinkler fitting first.
This is done just like the other sprinkler fitting, adjusting if needed. However, make sure you attach the support to the right end of the sprinkler fitting so that both sprinklers will be facing up when everything is connected.
Once this sprinkler is attached to the supports, glue the last fitting to the 100″ PVC piece. Again, adjust the fitting if needed to make everything straight or level.
The glue should dry within 10 minutes but wait about 30 minutes just to make sure.
And now you have a simple sprinkler that does all the work for you! Simply connect your garden hose to the end with the four-way fitting, place the sprinkler system where you need it and turn on the water.
Later on, you can enhance the system by adding additional sprinkler connections to cover a larger area. And you can even convert it to an automatic system by connecting a hose timer.
This easy, light-weight and versatile system will save you time and money! Sit back, relax and enjoy your hard work.
I love sharing the cost of projects so here is the breakdown for this simple sprinkler.
- $6 – 360-degree sprinkler ($3 for each)
- $4.90 – pipe ($2.45 for each)
- $2.74 – 12″ 1/2 pipe riser ($1.37 for each)
- $1.64 – 1/2″ PVC caps ($0.41 for each)
- $1.38 – 1/2″ cross fitting
- $0.39 – 1/2″ tee fitting
- $1.20 – 1/2″ tee fitting threaded ($0.60 for each)
- $3.59 – hose connector
- $6.57 – PVC pipe glue
TOTAL COST $28.41
I hope this will help you water a larger area of your yard a little quicker. Where do you think you could use this sprinkler the most?