New install on new Bermuda sod

Hi all

I just joined the community and was looking for some advice.

In a week’s time we will be moving to a brand new property at zip code 28173. The builder is installing Bermuda grass sod and they are letting us keep their basic impact sprinklers, hoses and timers.

I am very interested in rachio and I was hoping for some pointers on who to contact for an in ground install

There is no irrigation system there just now and I figured while the sod is still young it will probably be the best time to do it? Can you recommend any local installers?

I reckon I will have at least four zones and the total size should be around 9000 sq ft. There is a slope at the back as well and the soil here is red clay

There are also 9 trees on the perimeter the builder put in as we are in a cul de sac location.

I may be changing the impact sprinklers to oscillating ones soon. Should I hold back on that for the pro install Incase it is a waste?

Sorry about all the questions but any suggestions you may have will be great.



You’re going to either want to install a system BEFORE the sod goes in or many months after possibly even next season. Sod needs to fully root in before you’re able to dig/pull in pipe through it. From first hand experience of there is any way you can get that in before the sod that is best.

If you’re handy, I would suggest doing the system yourself. You can get a free design from many places, I’ve used Rainbird’s free design service multiple times. Make a drawing and they send you everything you need. Just swap out their controller for a Rachio. Doing it yourself will save you 3-4x. There are plenty of online resources to help you.

If not, use something like Angie’s list to help you find a good contractor.


Will chat to the builder but I will be very surprised if they allow me to do all this work before closing on the sale and I don’t think they are allowed to sell a house without the sod installed.

Might have to wait till next year . I suppose it gives me time to get ready for it and get a decent price.

Thanks ski5907

Hey @michaelm!

When the time comes, let me know, and I can always reach out to some irrigation professionals we have a relationship with to get all this work done for you. Good luck with the new landscape!

McKynzee :rachio:

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I can second doing the install prior to the sod installation being the best time. I did this when I built my home a couple years ago. It’s nice because the irrigation install doesn’t tear up your yard at all. Plus you can use it to help the sod take. After one season my yard was in impeccable condition.


I would love some recommendations now if you have them?

Speaking to the builder, and considering it is new sod that has not rooted yet, they will not need to dig into it as such as they will just be able to lift it off the ground for the irrigation install.

Currently they have provided me with a set of hoses and 4 sets of Orbit timers and 3 outlet valves to go with them. Plenty of valves and hoses and the timer is actually OK. It is just having to remove the hoses to cut the grass etc that would be a pain. And the kids will almost certainly be attracted to the timer and reset everything!:grinning:

feel free to PM me if you have some suggestions.



Thanks BuddyL33 - that is indeed my plan as well.

So for this new home, the builder is not building your yard correct? You are building your yard on your own? I’m a bit confused on what’s going on. When my home was built, the builder installed my front yard, so they installed all needed irrigation. When i built my backyard, we had sod laid down, but most definitely had the irrigation system dug in before laying the sod down. Sounds like a nightmare to lay sod down and then pull it up to dig up the ground and place piping.

The builder is of course building my yard with new bermuda sod. The irrigation was never an available option from them and we never discussed it. Too late to change things anyway as we are closing in 2 days.

Cool, whatever you decide to do, just make sure the new sod is getting the appropriate amount of water and frequency so it can establish

Hey @michaelm! I will do some reaching out to pros and DM you.

Thanks. Sorry for the delayed reply but we had some last minute move related changes and life has been busy.

Looking forward to your recommendations.

You are better off not having the builder installer do your irrigation. Builders sell houses, not irrigation. And they don’t care about water efficiency. They just want the outside of the house to be appealing enough to get you inside.

Make sure you look far ahead and plan any new landscaping too. A custom installation by a third party or you will suit you best.

Certainly NOT getting the builder to do it. We will get someone as soon as possible to get an idea on the costs. We also need to put a fence up and no doubt some hedges around the fencing so i will certainly need to plan for that. Thanks again for your suggestions.

Hey Mckynzee

Hope all is well.

After an exhausting three days we have finally moved in.

Any recommendations on local installers? We are at NC, 28173



Hi All

Sorry to revisit my original thread but figured it will provide some context.

In three days i am finally getting a local installer to put irrigation in my yard and i was pleasantly surprised to hear he has installed a rachio gen 2 to 2 other houses nearby so he certainly has the experience.

I got three quotes - one of them was wild so was discounted. The other one was about $2,000 more than the one i went for but it it included boring under sidewalk and spray heads for the sidewalk. However the installer had never heard of Rachio.

The contractor that got my business was a very reasonable and practical guy who came in $2,000 less than the other guy and he mentioned during the quote that boring under sidewalk would probably add another $1800. So an honest guy who has actually been very good in his general lawn advice and coordinated with my builder so bonus points. His solution for the sidewalk lawn strip is simply additional sprinklers at the edge of the yard.

I am back here to ask on advice on how to set up the controller. The installer has done it before but i want to understand it better.

There is some slope in my yard (so much so that i am thinking of getting one of those robotic mowers), and on the side yard the builder had to redo the grading and re-install the sod as the water was pooling pretty badly. The new sod is not in yet but i suspect his “remediation” is not that great and i will have some water retention issues there.

All that leads me to believe that:

  1. I may need to adjust watering at the slope to allow for retention
  2. Reduce watering to the side yard for the opposite reason - allow for drainage/absorption
  3. Maybe opt for a fixed schedule as Bermuda does not need terribly much water

There is a wireless rain sensor installed as well. I am also planning to integrate my personal Samsung Smartthings hub with the rachio just because i can…cant think of any use for it though other than firing up all zones in the case of fire.

Anything else i need to consider for my new install?



Hey @michaelm-

Glad to hear you found someone who has some experience with Rachio! When you are getting set up, there is actually a slope settings for each zone that will break up your waterings on sloped zones to allow the water to soak in.

As for scheduling your Bermuda… I know our Arizona users spend half the year with Bermuda. @tmcgahey @Modawg2k @azdavidr and friends, any recommendations on settings for bermuda grass?

McKynzee :rachio:

Without reading back through the whole thread…is the Bermuda established at this point?

These are my settings right now, and they seem to be working well…if your grass is still fairly new, you could adjust the root depth accordingly.

Also, make sure you make a custom nozzle based on the heads you are using. At a bare minimum, use the manufacturers precipitastion rate to do this. Best would be to do a catch cup test to see where they end up in real life. If you have some spots that are on the extreme high or low end, you could have the contractor make some adjustments to try and bring things closer.

I would recommend you have a professional install your system. North Carolina has an irrigation license. $2000 is about right as far as a price. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Check out a list of members of the Carolinas Irrigation Association:

I recommend you have a contractor install pressure regulated pop up sprays to prevent misting. Zones should be set up according to plant and turf water requirements. A backflow prevention device is required to protect against contamination of your drinking water supply. I have seen those free Rain Bird designs. They are low quality and they reference low end Home Depot grade Rain Bird parts. I believe Toro is the market leader in North Carolina. You might contact Smith Turf for a contractor reference, too.
I really like Toro Irritrol valves, Toro Precision nozzles and their T5P-Rapid Set rotor. This is a great rotor for homeowners because no tools are necessary for head adjustment. You just use your hands.

I used to work at a distributor. Our policy was to give homeowners installing their own system wholesale pricing. By the time we added up all the parts, the savings was very slim, and not enough for a homeowner to install themselves.