New Setup - Converting from RainDial

Welcome to the team! I’m sure some of our Arizona members will chime in- they are some of the best on here :smile:
Here are some of my favorite AZ threads… most of them are flex schedule focused, not sure if that’s what you are wanting to use!

1 Like

I’m going to come clean, I have the faintest knowledge in landscaping but am ready to learn. In fact, I don’t even know anything about my landscape and/or system for irrigation. I did copy down the settings from the previous RainDial, but don’t know (yet) what method to the madness the irrigation uses. We built the house in 2007 and had brand new landscaping that included a backyard lawn. In spring 2015, we got rid of the lawn and replaced with artificial turf–so I’m sure that explains some of the inconsistencies in the irrigation (ie not using zone 1 for instance).

Also, I don’t know much about the plants/trees/shrubs nor do I know anything about the emitters, drip rates etc. I’m going to map out my yard and find every shrub, plant, vine, tree, cactus etc. and also mark down the type of emitters. I may need some help identifying the emitters, and will call in my landscaper to help identify each live plant/tree etc.

In the meantime, I don’t want them to die, so I’ll probably turn things on between now and when I get the info from the landscaper. I’ll try to post with my landscape findings soon and will hopefully inch my way towards setting the system up properly.

1 Like

Welcome, @jeremysm1. You will find this forum to be very helpful and the Arizona gang to be a great resource.


YOu’ll learn as we go and probably enjoy it. First, are you all setup with the Rachio? I think you said that earlier, but just want to confirm that your Rachio is hooked up?


Yes, got the Rachio setup outside and is online and ready for programming. I haven’t tried turning any zone on yet. Later today I will try to turn on each zone one at a time and see which areas are controlled in those areas.

Awesome. That will take some time but having a remote in your hand (i.e. phone) vs having to walk to the box everytime will be a great time saver. From a settings stand point, let’s get your proper soil listed. Here is a great reference provided by @azdavidr

Getting the correct soil is vital to knowing how fast your ground will soak up the water and how long it’ll hold onto it. We tend to have sandy soil out here in the desert. Let us know what the AW is per the link.


A bit off topic, but I think most of the AZ folks are watching this thread. Here’s an update of the landscape watering classes some of you guys were talking about earlier. I noted one coming up at Agave Library, which I think is out by @Modawg2k and maybe a couple of others?


Nice, yeah that’s just down the street from me around I17 and Pinnacle Peak.

1 Like

My first test is complete, and the Rachio worked! I’m a little baffled that I actually got my system converted from the RainDial to the Rachio on the first try. Okay, so walking around the yard, turning on/off the zones one by one I found this to be the setup:
Zone 1, Zone 7, Zone 8: blank / not used / not wired (followed the RainDial setup for zones)
Zone 2: all of the bigger trees seem to be on this zone. Most have red emitters.
Zone 3: seems like everything in the backyard (except the bigger trees) are on this. Vines, bushes, shrubs, plants.
Zone 4: all I could find turning on is 1 emitter for a plant near the garbage cans.
Zone 5: the entire front of the house (except bigger trees)
Zone 6: all could find is 1 small 4ft tree in front…nothing else on this

I went online to this amazing site, , to identify the types of landscaping we have. Seems like we have an assortment of these: desert spoon, agave, slipper flower, golden barrel, cereus, mesquite, ironwood, palo brea, firecracker bush, green feathery senna, golden eye, lantana, grape ivy, goodings verbena, cherry red sage–at least that is my best guess until the landscaper comes to help identify.


  1. What time of the day should I set the system to water each zone (for simplicity, let’s say front yard, back yard and trees as the 3 zones)?
  2. How many times per week should these zones each get water?
  3. What type of emitters should be used for each? Assume most can be classified into 1-2 types of emitters (ie Shrubs or Trees)
  4. How do I set this up in the Rachio so it knows how many emitters I have and/or how much water I’m using?



@jeremysm1 I encourage you to look at the ‘Water Use It Wisely’ site as a great orientation to how your drip zones should be configured, and how much and how often you should water your plants.

Once you do that, try out this post to see if it helps you set up your Rachio according to what you learned from 'Water Use It Wisely. Be sure not to skip any steps, especially dialing in your soil and root depth settings before using the calculator!


@jeremysm1 Did you do the soil test online yet? I don’t remember seeing you post those.

A lot of your questiosn can be answered with having the appropriate settings

I went outside this morning to first see which plants actually have emitters and if any were broken. My findings upset me.

I only was able to look at the front of the house so far:
-4 broken emitters (spilling out water)
-many plants without water at all (will have to determine if they are xeriscape or not)
-1 crack in a big irrigation feeder hose.

Anyone know how to fix a cracked feeder hose? See picture. I’m planning on stopping by Ewing later today to start on some fixes.

1 Like

You get a replacement line big enough for that section and a couple of connectors, and then splice out the bad part and and replace wtih the new ones. It’s an easy fix

Here are a couple of links to back up @Modawg2k’s description. The Ewing guys will show you too.

If your irrigation is greater than 5 years old, you might find that you’ll start playing whack-a-mole with these leaks. I’ve already had to completely replace my system in our front yard, and will have to do so again soon. I just went through a repair like this last weekend in my front yard. I ended up pulling a 6 foot section that had two leaks. When I pulled I found it had already been repaired with couplers 5 times! We just renovated our back yard last year and we put in a PVC based drip system there so we wouldn’t have to deal with this issue.

Good luck.


My setup is about 6 years old and I had to repair the same general area about 4 times now in the past year.


The absolute best part of the Rachio system is that I can use the app on my phone to turn on a zone and start inspecting. Upon finding a broken emitter or one that needs to be plugged I can use the app to shut off the water, fix it, and turn it back on without running around to the other side of the house. That alone is worth it’s weight in gold!

I’m pretty sure that all the leaks are now fixed and the emitters are working correctly. I now need to figure out an irrigation plan. I checked out the Water It Wisely website but can’t believe that I should go so many days between watering cycles.

Can you guys share your watering cycle/setup? Thanks!

1 Like

What’s your soil AW from the link provided

1 Like

Okay, I finally was able to go through that link in order to confirm/find the soil type. Here are the items that I think we’re looking for:
Momoli gravelly sandy loam, 1 to 5 percent slopes. Rating 0.08
Typical profile
A - 0 to 3 inches: gravelly sandy loam
Bw - 3 to 60 inches: very gravelly sandy loam

Please let me know your thoughts and next steps. Thanks!

1 Like

So for Soil, you can set it to something like “Sandy Loam”, but then go into advanced settings and change your ‘Available Water’ (AW) to 0.08. The lower this number, the more sandy the soil is. Sandier soil allows water to flow thru it faster, but it also does not hold onto water as long as clay-type soils.

Next step, set your vegetation correctly, so if you have the one zone with all trees, set that one to trees. Your Zone 3 looks like all shrubs, so set that to shrubs. I would probably treat your zone 6 small tree as a shrub and water accordingly.

Next step is exposure… pretty self explanatory.

Any questions on those steps?

1 Like

Those settings make sense. I updated the zone setting accordingly. Some questions:

  1. In the advanced, there are settings for Area, Root Depth, Allowed Depletion (ie 50%), Efficiency (90%) and Crop Coefficient (75%). Do I just leave these alone?
  2. Regarding the Area from question above, how do I calculate? I’m assuming it’s generalizing the qty of emitters based on the area, is that right? I don’t have lawn, so everything is shrubs/vines/trees. How would I change that to reflect the amount of emitters?----- For instance: Zone 2, I have about 6 trees with 3 x 2gph emitters on each–how would I set that up?