Lawn irrigation systems in New Zealand- what goes on under the ground?

Smart Irrigation Controllers

Have you ever looked at your neighbour’s beautiful lawn and wondered how they make it look so good? The chances are pretty high that a big part of their success is a well-designed lawn irrigation system. Lawn irrigation equipment suppliers have become experts at designing lawn sprinkler systems to meet the demands of the New Zealand climate. However, when you are looking enviously at your neighbour’s lawn, you can’t see all the sprinkler system design work that has gone on in the planning process or all the components installed by your neighbour’s sprinkler system contractor.

So let’s take a look at what goes on under the ground when preparing lawn irrigation systems in New Zealand.


In the design phase of your project, the site will be inspected and measured to allow your sprinkler system designer to customise an irrigation system to suit your lawn. As part of the design process, it is important to check for existing water pipes, gas or electrical pipes and cables. Your sprinkler system contractor in New Zealand will be able to access this information from your local council.


Once your sprinkler system design process has been finalised it is important to preorder all the components from your lawn irrigation equipment supplier. In New Zealand, Think Water has an excellent network of stores that supply lawn irrigation equipment. We stock high-quality products which make the installation process easier for your sprinkler system contractor.

Preparing the site

When preparing the site, refer to the plans from your designer. Layout the water pipes on the surface to check that you are happy with the layout and you have enough materials to implement the design. Do a final check with your contractor before digging.

Dig trench

When digging your trench ensure the trench is deep enough for the lawn sprinklers. The way to work out the depth is to line up the top of the sprinkler with the soil level of the lawn. You can decide to dig a trench by hand with a spade or bring in something like a bobcat for larger projects. Instead of doing it yourself, you may prefer to bring in an experienced sprinkler system contractor to do the hard work for you leaving you more time to enjoy the New Zealand outdoors or the rugby.

Put water pipes in the trench

Once your trench is dug you can actually put the water pipe in the trench. For lawn irrigation systems the water pipes are typically made from poly which is easy to cut and connect. It is helpful to peg the pipe in place with an irrigation pin every metre or so.

Fit attachments

Fit all the attachments and elbow joints. Poly water pipe is particularly versatile as you can place it in hot water to make it expand and soften, making connecting irrigation components a breeze.

Attach pop up sprinklers

Wrap some plumbers tape around the elbow where you want to attach the sprinkler to make sure it seals well. Screw in the sprinkler, making sure it is well sealed. Repeat, repeat, repeat until all the lawn sprinklers are attached. A word of warning: don’t forget to seal off the end of the water pipe. If you forget this step you will have no water pressure and a big flood at the end of the pipe.

Connect and cover

Finally, check everything is well connected, backfill the soil and you are ready to roll.