Build a wonderful garden sprinkler with pvc pipe and Rain Bird nozzles

Building a portable spray sprinkler with pvc pipe and Rain Bird irrigation parts from Home Depot.

Several years ago I got tired of buying garden sprinklers that just didn’t work.  One day, while installing an underground sprinkler for a client, I thought, “If someone would just use this wonderful sprinkler technology for building a portable, hose connected sprinkler…”  Then I asked myself one of my favorite questions, “I wonder what would happen if…”  That’s when I got busy and designed this sprinkler.  It’s easy to build, and it really, really works.

Ms. Micky loves her new sprinkler

Ms. Micky loves her new sprinkler

I’m going to give you instructions for building an inexpensive, light weight, versatile sprinkler that shoots out a fine spray.  A list of materials will appear at the end of this article so you can copy, print, and take it to the store for help.  One of the good parts of this sprinkler is that you can move it around while it is running without getting wet. Assembly time is approximately 30 minutes start to finish.

You will need a ten foot piece of ¾ pvc pipe (not pictured) and the parts in the picture.  I will show you how to use them one at a time.  You may use fancy rachet pipe cutters (pictured, cost about $10) or you may use a hack saw.  There is only one cut to be made. I’m sure they will cut it at the store for you if need be. You will also need a flat work surface.  I use a patio here, being sure to use newspaper to catch any dripping glue.  Here are the parts:

Parts and materials for building a sprinkler with pvc pipe and Rain Bird nozzles.

Parts and materials for building a sprinkler with pvc pipe and Rain Bird nozzles.

The nozzle, Rain Bird 15h (fifteen foot, half circle) will come in a package that looks like this.  Be sure it has the pipe adaptor and filter with it:

Package for Rain Bird 15H spray nozzle with shrub (pipe) adaptor

Package for Rain Bird 15H spray nozzle with shrub (pipe) adaptor

The nozzle, adaptor, and filter will look like this:

Rain Bird spray nozzle with shrub (pipe) adaptor and filter

Rain Bird spray nozzle with shrub (pipe) adaptor and filter

A swivel hose adaptor -1/2 female pipe thread (fpt) by 3/4 female hose- looks like this

1/2 inch female pipe thread by 3/4 swivel hose adaptor

1/2 inch female pipe thread by 3/4 swivel hose adaptor

Sometimes it’s called a “combo tee” but, specifically it is a 3/4 slip by 1/2 fpt (female pipe thread) tee.

3/4 slip by 1/2 female pipe thread tee--showing half inch threads

3/4 slip by 1/2 female pipe thread tee–showing half inch threads

And then, there is a “combo ell”, or 3/4 slip by 1/2 fpt elbow.

3/4 inch slip by 1/2 inch female pipe thread elbow

3/4 inch slip by 1/2 inch female pipe thread elbow

You will need a can of pvc cement.  I use the rain or shine blue glue.  It works well.

There are many kinds of pvc cement.  I like Rain r Shine blue glue

There are many kinds of pvc cement. I like Rain r Shine blue glue

These are nice ratchet cutters and only about ten dollars.  You may also use a hack saw, or smile real nice at the guy at the store and he’ll cut it for you.

Rachet cutters are nice, a hack saw will do, or a big smile to the man at the store will also suffice, he'll do it for you.

Rachet cutters are nice, a hack saw will do, or a big smile to the man at the store will also suffice, he’ll do it for you.

To start the project, cut the ten foot, 3/4 pvc pipe in half.  This will give you two 5 foot pieces if my math is correct.  You may use shorter pieces if you wish.

Cut the pipe to 2 five foot pieces--You may use 3 or 4 foot pieces, it really doesn't matter.

Cut the pipe to 2 five foot pieces–You may use 3 or 4 foot pieces, it really doesn’t matter.

Screw the 1/2 inch riser into the tee and then screw on the hose adapter.  It will look like this:

combo tee, riser, and hose adapter put together

combo tee, riser, and hose adapter put together

Paint some glue on one of the pipe ends and stick it into the tee. Note the newspapers spread out to keep glue from dripping on the work surface.

gluing the pipe into the tee

gluing the pipe into the tee

Glue the second piece of pipe into the other end of the tee.

Glue the second pipe to the other end of the tee

Glue the second pipe to the other end of the tee

The project will look like the picture below.  The reason for doing this first is to orient the pipe so that the other pieces will be straight up.

The pipe and tee should look like this

The pipe and tee should look like this

Screw one of the 1/2 inch risers into one of the combo elbows

Screw a riser into the combo elbow

Screw a riser into the combo elbow

The next step is tricky.  Be sure the hose adaptor is flat on the work surface as you glue the elbow onto the pipe.  Make sure that the riser in the elbow is as straight up as possible.  If it’s a little crooked, it’s ok, but the straighter the better.

glue the elbow so that the riser is straight up.

glue the elbow so that the riser is straight up.

If you look at the top of the Rain Bird nozzle, you will see little lines in part of it.  This shows you where the water will go.  When you install it, make sure that the lines are pointing away from the hose hookup.  They can always be adjusted by turning.

The marks on the Rain Bird nozzle show where the water will go.

The marks on the Rain Bird nozzle show where the water will go.

Screw the nozzle with the adaptor onto the pipe at both ends

The Rain Bird nozzle with shrub (pipe) adaptor.  Screw them on the risers

The Rain Bird nozzle with shrub (pipe) adaptor. Screw them on the risers

And the nozzle, installed, should look like this

Each end of the pipe should have a riser and a nozzle

Each end of the pipe should have a riser and a nozzle

Hook it up to the hose and turn the water on.  You may adjust the spray by turning the nozzle.  It doesn’t have to be way tight.

Your new sprinkler.  Hook up the hose and turn it on

Your new sprinkler. Hook up the hose and turn it on

Micky is delighted with her sprinkler.  The grass seed was up in a week.  For timing, you may wish to try 20 minutes in one place for sufficient water.  It may vary.

Ms. Micky says, "My new sprinkler wonnnderful, and so easy to move around"

Ms. Micky says, “My new sprinkler wonnnderful, and so easy to move around”

There are lots of different Rain Bird nozzles to choose from once you get started watering, and they may be easily changed.  On my front bank, I use the sst nozzle which throws a rectangular pattern and covers a space of 30 feet by 4 feet.  It waters the flower bed without soaking the street.  Then there’s a 15 foot adjustable nozzle that gives you all kinds of patterns after you fool with it a bit.  Check them out.

Here is a list of materials that you may copy, print, and take to the store:

1 – 10 foot piece of 3/4 inch pvc pipe. (you may wish to get it cut in half at the store)

1 -  1/2  fpt (female pile thread) by 3/4  swivel hose thread adaptor.

3 – 1/2 inch by 6 inch threaded risers (may be called nipples)

1 – 3/4 inch slip by 1/2 inch fpt (threaded) tee

2 – 3/4  inch slip by 1/2  inch fpt elbow

1-small can pvc cement

2 – Rain Bird 15H nozzles with pipe adaptors (sometimes called shrub adaptors)

 That’s it!  Have fun with the sprinkler.

********************

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

14 thoughts on “Build a wonderful garden sprinkler with pvc pipe and Rain Bird nozzles

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  10. Thanks for the boiler drain tip – I have the same arthritic hands issue and have been turning the faucet on and off with pliers – raced out to Home Depot and now, an hour later, it’s magic!

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