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How to determine irrigation zones for sprinkler blowouts

In Calgary, most residential irrigation systems have 6 zones or less, but the larger the yard or more complex the landscape, the greater the chance of having more.  Sprinkler blowouts in Calgary are priced based on the number of zones in a residential yard.  There are a few ways to quickly determine how many zones or irrigation valves are on an underground sprinkler system:

1) Determine how many areas or sections of the yard get watered individually (BY AREAS)
2) Go to the valve boxes (typically green) in the yard or landscaped areas and count the number of valves connected to the underground sprinkler system (BY VALVES)

1) BY AREAS: An irrigation zone or station is a section of your yard or landscape that gets watered at one time.  For example, in a residential property, the front yard might have one or two zones, the side yard may have one zone and the back yard might have multiple zones.  Typically the grass or turf is on a seperate zones to those of the beds or flower sections.   Each time a different group of sprinklers pops out of the ground, a new station or zone is running.  In the picture below, the irrigation system has 5 zones. 

Irrigation design in Calgary to determine watering zones
Above each AREA would be broken into an irrigation zone or irrigation station.  When the irrigation timer turns on one zone, one area of the yard gets watered.

2) BY VALVES: An irrigation zone starts at the valve which is connected to the main line of the irrigation system.  The valves are then connected by pipe to the sprinklers in the yard.  The valves are placed in green valve boxes within the yard, typically by the side of the house, but can be anywhere in the yard.  Below is a picture of a valve box with 4 valves, or 4 zones.  This irrigation system has 2 valve boxes, with 4 valves in one box and 3 vales in another box for a irrigation system with 7 valves.

Irrigation valve box from Next Rain Irrigation in Calgary, Alberta
Four electric valves in one valve box on a residential irrigation system.



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