I have some really old sprinkler valves. They’re not ancient, but the last time they started to leak I found out that the parts were no longer made. That time the parts were available, but I knew that the next time there was an issue the sprinklers would need to be replaced.
Recently one of the sprinklers started watering on its own. It seemed random, but it wasn’t. The short summary of a long investigation is that even with the timers disconnected, the water was turning on when some of the front yard sprinklers would turn on.
I had been thinking of making some backyard changes, but wasn’t ready to start them so I thought I would just do a quick fix. I’d do nothing more than dig down just enough to cut the pipes to be able to put in new valves. Of course the new sprinklers had different spacing than the old, so I had to dig down enough to get some flexibility in the pipes so the new spacing would work.
Yards in this area consist of rock and clay. It’s difficult stuff to dig in and you pretty much have to soak it down to dig at all. Soak, dig, and after going down about six inches I started hitting rocks.
Are landscapers crazy or mean?
Why do landscapers put rocks back in with the fill dirt? It makes it much more difficult to remove the dirt later. Are they evil and does that make them want the next person to have as much trouble as they did?
Hitting rocks wasn’t totally unexpected, and soon I was hitting pipes as well as rocks. The rocks had to be dug carefully around so I didn’t risk breaking the pipes. It was kind of like archeology, where I had to use a small shovel to remove bits of rocks and dirt without damaging any of the stuff I wanted to keep.
There still wasn’t enough of the pipes to bend them, so I kept digging. Eventually the mess of pipes, to the left, was uncovered.
Why do landscapers attach the valves in the order that will cause the most pipe crossings?
Having done all the work to uncover this, I decided to rebuild this section instead of just bending the pipes. That required digging just a little more. But what’s this? A shutoff valve buried down here? That seemed dangerous, at best. The best course would be to remove it, so it looked like a little more digging was needed to get to the other side of the valve..
Why do landscapers bury parts that are likely to corrode and fail?
I figured that I may as well move the whole mess the 6 feet or so that I had been considering. After all, the digging was easier once it wasn’t such a confined space and it would be digging across instead of trying to dig down.
I knew from some previous repair work that the pipe with the valve would follow this planted area to the source near the gate. I removed a couple of plants and started digging a hole for the new group of valves.
But, WTF?!? I mean, WTF #1?
There’s a 1 1/4″ pipe getting throttled down to 3/4″. Well, I guess that’s okay because the pipes after the valve are all 3/4″. But I wanted to replace this with 1″ valves. But there’s no room to cut off the restricted portion because…
WFT?!? I mean, WTF #2.
…it comes out of the retaining wall. It comes out right at the bottom of the wall, and it’s pushed up against the wall, MF.
No room to cut off the old connector. No room to put a new fitting over the pipe because the wall is already pushing it down.
Why do landscapers not leave space for fixes and modifications?
I’m back to thinking they’re being mean. I’m not feeling like digging out from the top.
And so there you have it. I had to leave in the flow restrictor, attached by a threaded pipe attachment 18″ underground. It had to go the wrong direction, then do a 180 degree turn to go back to where the new valves was being installed.
And the next person to work on this will think:
Are landscapers crazy or mean?