Use water pressure to run the sprinkler system under concrete.

How to Run a Sprinkler System Under Concrete

by Keith Dooley

The lawn is thirsty, there is no sign of regular rainfall and you are tired of dragging garden hose and sprinklers around the yard. The solution is to install an in-ground irrigation system, but there's a small problem in the form of a concrete sidewalk standing between you and your goal. No problem -- put on some old clothes, gather a few basic parts and tell the kids to get ready to see the water and mud fly.

Measure the width of the concrete sidewalk from side to side with a tape measure. Add 2 feet to the total measured length and transfer the measurement to a length of 3/4-inch PVC pipe. Mark the measurement with a permanent marker.

Cut the PVC pipe to length at the measured mark with a hacksaw. Make the cut as straight as possible. Remove the rough edge of the cut on the inside and outside of the pipe with fine-grit sandpaper.

Apply PVC cement to the inside of one of the 3/4-inch male PVC adapters. Apply the cement to the inside of the unthreaded end only. Apply PVC cement to one end of the 3/4-inch PVC irrigation pipe and push the adapter onto the end of the pipe. Twist slightly to lock it into place.

Repeat the process for the second 3/4-inch male PVC adapter and place it on the opposite end of the 3/4-inch PVC irrigation pipe. Twist to lock it in place.

Screw the female end of a brass 3/4-inch male to 3/4-inch female adapter onto one of the 3/4-inch male PVC adapters glued onto one end of the irrigation pipe. Hand thread and tighten the brass adapter in place. Next, thread the 2-inch brass sweeper nozzle onto the male end of the brass adapter you just installed.

Screw a 3/4-inch female to 3/4-inch female swivel adapter onto the 3/4-inch male adapter glued on the opposite end of the irrigation pipe. Thread the end of the adapter with flat sides onto the adapter and finger tighten. Connect a garden hose to the knurled end of the brass adapter and tighten by hand.

Put on a pair of work gloves and dig a hole on both sides of the concrete walkway. Make the holes the same depth as the rest of the irrigation pipe in the system. Dig the holes in an elongate shape like a trench.

Put on safety glasses. Place the sweeper nozzle end of the PVC pipe in the trench. Aim the pipe at the trench on the opposite side of the concrete sidewalk. Turn on the water and hang on while the water blasts a hole under the concrete. Push the sweeper nozzle forward and back to work the pipe under the concrete.

Push the PVC irrigation pipe completely under the concrete sidewalk and turn off the water. Cut off the fittings on both ends of the PVC pipe with the hacksaw. The irrigation line is now installed and you can take a well-deserved shower.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure
  • 3/4-inch PVC irrigation pipe
  • Permanent marker
  • Hacksaw
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • PVC cement
  • 3/4-inch PVC male adapters (2)
  • Brass 3/4-inch male to 3/4 female adapter
  • Brass 2-inch sweeper nozzle
  • Brass 3/4-inch female to 3/4-inch female swivel adapter
  • Garden hose
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Safety glasses


  • Take your time while working the sweeper nozzle and PVC pipe under the concrete.
  • This is a great activity for kids to watch, but make sure to keep them out of the way of any flying debris.
  • Wear gloves when working with the hacksaw and sanding down the PVC's rough edges.
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers should always wear gloves when working in garden soil to protected themselves from potentially dangerous soil pathogens.

About the Author

Keith Dooley has done work in the field of landscaping and design for more than 10 years. He has implemented his own designs, as well as pulled from techniques learned through studies, creating many landscapes for others to enjoy.He has also maintained lawns, athletic fields, town parks, large gardens and game fields.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images