There are various ways for digging or drilling to install pipes and conduits for underground irrigation systems depending on the scale of the project. You could manually dig a trench for your underground sprinklers on your lawn or hire directional boring contractors for large-scale nature park projects.

Parks, sports fields, landscaped gardens, farms, and other green areas will at some point require underground irrigation systems depending on their size and the location of water sources. While plants and grasses in these areas can benefit from rainfall, you can’t be sure that there will always be rain. So you’ll want to ensure that there’s a constant supply of water at all times.

Each drilling/digging option has its own pros and cons. There are projects that could be done with conventional trenching while there are complex ones that require hiring professional horizontal directional drilling contractors to minimize disruptions.

Manual digging

While not the best thing to do, manually digging a trench is feasible for small-scale projects such as the installation of pipes for your underground sprinkler system on your own lawn. A standard square-edged garden spade is generally used while a digging spade is ideal for creating trenches in narrow spaces.

Digging with a trencher 

If the labor-intensive digging is not your cup of tea, you can rent a chain-type trencher to save you a lot of time and energy. With this machine, you can quickly and conveniently create workable trenches that can easily be filled back. This open-cut method, however, is not ideal when you want to preserve the look of the area or when there are multiple tree roots or potential underground utility lines.

Backhoes and excavators

These machines can also be used for creating your trenches, but take note that they could disrupt or destroy a part of the landscape during the process due to their sizes and required pathways. The excavated ground can also be in large clumps, and thus, may not be ideal for backfill.

Mole plowing machine

This equipment is similar to a chain-type trencher except that it uses a plow blade as an attachment to create a slit or a narrow, temporary trench while the pipe or conduit is set underground through a chute behind the blade.  The process is much faster and doesn’t leave a visible indications of the work, making it perfect for grassy sports fields and parks.

Unfortunately, the mole plough isn’t generally ideal for grounds with dry or tight soil, as doing so can rip up and damage the surface significantly. It’s also not ideal for use in areas with concrete and other hardened surfaces. The method can also cut through tree roots and underground utilities.

Horizontal directional drilling (boring)

The service provided by horizontal directional drilling contractors is considered as a non-destructive excavation process in the sense that they do not damage underground infrastructure and utilities. Directional boring involves digging horizontally through a predetermined bore path underground while avoiding existing obstacles. Once the drill-out is complete, the pipe can then be pulled back through the hole.

Directional boring is generally slower than trenching or mole plowing. However, this process is ideal when you don’t want the surface to be damaged or disturbed such as in the cases of landscaped gardens and environmentally sensitive areas. It’s also ideal for areas in tree root zones. Sometimes, it’s the only feasible option like in cases where pipes need to go through areas near large historical or ornamental trees.

Hydro excavation

Some directional boring contractors also offer hydrovac or hydro excavation services. This method is also a non-destructive form of excavation that generally only removes soil around established tree roots and existing utility lines. Hydro excavation involves displacing underground soil with a high-pressure jet stream of water and then using a vacuum hose to bring out the mud slurry. This process is perfect when the area has many established trees or in tree root zones. This may be a slow and expensive process, but can also be mandatory in situations that require removal of water, mud, slurry or sludge. 

If you need professional directional boring and hydrovac services in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, get in touch with us straight away! At Advanced Line Systems, we are well-equipped and skilled in providing a range of utility line construction services for both residential and commercial projects regardless of size.