Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lawn Part 1

I have been making steady progress over the last few weeks on getting our lawn in.  This marks one of the last remaining big projects for the back yard.  We had planned for a lawn area when we first started laying out our backyard a number of years ago.  Over the last few years, I have researched different grass varieties and began to think that it wasn't such a good idea given our water shortages in Los Angeles.  Yet, at the same time, we both love a good lawn game with friends and we love entertaining.  About 6 months ago, I found a grass that had a lot of promise.  Called UC Verde, it is a buffalo grass developed by UC Davis specifically for Southern California and arid regions.  It requires a quarter of the water that typical grasses require, and it needs little or no mowing.  Some people have not mowed their lawn in 2 years.

After reading a few blogs about people's experiences installing this grass variety, we decided to go ahead.  One thing though, the grass is only available in plugs.  When I first researched pricing in the Spring, there were only a couple of sources to purchase through, now the sources have multiplied and it appears you can even order it through Armstrong.  I ordered mine through Florasource.  Using their recommendations, I determined that about 800 sf of lawn and plugs spaced at 15" intervals would yield roughly 500 plugs.  Four 128 plug trays are arriving tomorrow.

For the installation, I first laid out the sprinkler system: 3/4" sprinkler valve, 3/4" lines, and 6 pop-ups. For the nozzles, I am using these Rainbird brand high efficiency rotary nozzles.  They put out less water per hour, this reduces runoff, allowing the water to soak in properly.  They are also elgible for rebates from the state (25 head min.) and are readily available from Home Depot or your local sprinkler supply house.  I use J. Harold Mitchell in Pasadena.  They are not the cheapest, but they will answer all your sprinkler related questions as well as having lots of hard to find parts.  I have used them extensively for our drip system in our vegetable garden.

Valves for the lower half of our yard.  The lawn sprinkler valve has the
3/4" pvc running down.

Trenching was the hardest part but a pick axe, trench shovel and full day's work will do.  Next, I layed  the pipe in the trenches and glued it up.  This is a pretty easy process.  Cut with the PVC cutter, coat the pipe and fitting with glue, hold together until set.

For the pop-up bodies, I am using a 12" Rainbird 1800 series pop-up.  I decided not to use the cheaper 6" since I thought if I allowed the grass to grow out I may have problems with it the heads adequately clearing the grass.  The pop-up and nozzle assembly is connected to the water line with a swing joint giving lots of flexibilty in adjusting the head as well as raising or lowering the height if need be.

Spinkler assembly: the 12" pop-up body is attach to 2 swing joints, then a
1/2' by 12" pipe, then 1 additional swing joint that is attatched to a threaded
3/4" 'T'.

After all piping and sprinklers are glued up, I removed the sprinkler heads and turned on the valve to flush the line of any dirt or debris.  I let this run for a few minutes before I turned it back off.  I screwed the heads on and turned the valve on again to check for orientation and spray radius.  At this point I just needed to make my final adjustments and fine tune the spray distance with the adjustable screw on top of the nozzle.

The sprinklers installation is complete.  Next up, Part Two: tilling, leveling, and planting.

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