Software for mapping out zones?

What Windows based software are some of you using to map out your irrigation zones? Unfortunately both Google and Bing have bird’s eye views of our home during spring/summer when the foliage is full and cover much of our yard from overhead, but I’d still like to do some basic drawings. I was looking for something with layer ability so I can have the overhead image as a background and then be able to toggle zone layouts off/on as I edit them. I’m tempted to do it in Visio, but thought there may be better ideas.

I walked the yard yesterday mapping out the general location and arc of each head, adjust a few that were spraying into nowhere, and realized we have way more zone overlap than I realized. I suspect a good number of our zones will be getting far more water than Rachio realizes until I can do some cup analysis.

A few minutes in Visio resulted in this. Zone borders and their overlap isn’t perfect since I used rectangles instead of custom polygon for now. I also need to add the arc and rough radius of each nozzle. The “do not disturb” is a nozzle I need to repair on zone 2.

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Don’t know how practical it is for mapping out zones, but I have used this site for creating some boundary mapping of my house.

While intended for remodeling projects, I bought myself this Bluetooth enabled laser distance measurement tool:

The handy part is that you can directly annotate pictures on your iPhone with the measured dimensions. It comes with reflectors for the long distances. Still have to go and actually do it, that’s why I don’t have an outdoor illustration yet…


Save yourself a lot of time and money. Pull up your property on Google Maps, and use the distance tool that is included with these maps to take your measurements for each area.

You should be able to do this without stepping out on the property and walking it.

Further you don’t necessarily have to divide a single type of plant (grass vs tree vs shrub) into multiple zones just because they are in different areas of your property.

The main thing is to divide your property up by the type of plant which determines its watering needs. You might be able to run 2 or 3 separated areas of shrubs on the same “zone” or valve, despite their being in different areas.

The general rule is to determine the main types of watering needs (trees, shrubs, grass), and then use calculate the flow rates needed to cover these 3 types of plants, which in turn will be dependent upon what precipitation rate spray heads or drip tubing you select. If you use low precipitation rate emitters and spray heads, you can cover a much larger area of plants with fewer “zones” or valves.

From the above picture, it is likely the lawn areas can be handled by 2 zones (one for the sunny area, and the other for the area that is partial sun). All of the trees are likely to have about the same watering needs. It may be possible to place ALL of the trees on orchard style spinner emitters that have a low precipitation rate, and hence many trees can be run off a single 3/4 valve. I would estimate you could possible handles all the trees with 2 3/4 valves. Another irrigation method that might also work for the trees is commercial grade drip tubing, such as made by Netafim. You can run about 800 feet of this tubing on a single 3/4" valve. Whether you use Netafim drip tubing or orchard style spinner emitters (which have a throw of up to about 30 feet), depends upon how clear the area beneath the trees are. If it is fairly free, the spinners will work well, If it has significant areas of “brush”, then the drip tubing might be better. Both methods of tree watering will provide a low maintenance system 10-15 years. The spinner system has the advantage that tree fertilizers are easy to apply with a spinner system vs a drip tubing system. For the shrubs close the house, the Netafim tubing is an excellent solution. The entire plantar areas around the house can be handled probably by a single 3/4" valve if Netafim type tubing is used.


Wow Mark, thanks for the detailed response. :slight_smile:

I just want to be clear that what you see above is a pre-existing system we inherited when purchasing the property. All of the colored dots are Hunter I-20 plastic rotors. Z4/Z5 get sun part of the day as the sun comes up over the top, but not as much as the other areas. I was considering doing some time lapse videos to get a rough estimate of how many hours per day each zone gets, though as we get closer to summer the Sun will be a bit higher off the horizon.

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