Lawn Sprinkler System – Is Mine In-Ground?

Question: How can you tell if you have an in-ground lawn sprinkler system? I recently purchased a house with a sprinkler system. The front and side yards all have pop-up sprinkler heads, but the back yard doesn’t have any. The control board for the system says there are 4 zones, but the 4th zone doesn’t appear to do anything.

I suspect the 4th zone is an in-ground irrigation system for the back yard, but I currently have no way of telling (short of digging up the entire back yard searching for such a system). I tried running it for about 20 minutes one day to see if the back yard got spongy, but, it didn’t from what I could tell…but it probably takes more than 20 minutes to make the yard muddy.

Answer: My guess is that zone 4 is connected to nothing. I’ll also guess that you are on city water with a limited amount of pressure and flow. Therefore, zones 1, 2 & 3 are for the front and the two sides since you can see the pop up sprinkler heads, If you have not seen heads in the back yard, there are no sprinklers there.

There are two ways to check. Open the controller box and look at the wiring. There will be no wires connected to zone the 4 terminal or turn zone 4 on and look at the water meter. If the meter is not moving, there is no water flow.

Below ground soaker hoses will only deliver water within a few inches of the hose and not the entire yard. You can always get a lawn sprinkler system contractor to install more sprinklers for you. The contractors like to leave their contact information on the box for you to call when you have a problem and you will. Don’t forget if you live in northern climates to blow out the pipes before winter.

Dave Altman

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