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Jason Holliston
Thursday, July 08, 2004  
Ditch-Digging Project -- A Post-Mortem

So, as some of you know, my summer project is pretty much wrapped up: installing an automatic sprinkler system for my lawn. This is a post-mortem, and will hopefully help people if they ever decide to install one themselves.

1. If you're going to use a Ditch Witch class tool to dig your ditches, don't bother trying to save the sod. Just fill the ditches back in with the dirt and plant grass seed to re-grow the turf. The sod cutter I used worked great, but if you can't get the sod back in it's rightful place within a couple days, it'll take a long time to come back, if ever.

2. Overestimate how much you think it's going to cost to get the project done by at least 25%, if not a full third. Looking back at the full cost of getting this system in, I'm surprised by how much I underestimated. It's worth it, though. It's just surprising how many times you need to run back to Home Depot for eight things you missed from the last trip, taken four hours past.

3. Use the best parts and over-engineer when possible. Don't try and cut corners with the parts so you can save yourself a hundred bucks -- buy good quality stuff. When you install the pipe, dig down a little farther than you think is necessary, especially if you live in an area where it freezes in the winter.

Someone commented anonymously last week, asking for post-mortem photos. I'll get those up this weekend, assuming I have time.

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