How to Install a Sprinkler Timer in 7 Easy Steps

We’ve all been there – trying to figure out how to do DIY household projects without any idea of what you’re doing. I’ve always had the dream of owning a home with an immaculate lawn. The problem was that I didn’t have time to water everything at the end of a long day at work. This is when I decided it was time to learn how to install a sprinkler timer. Not only was it easier than I thought but it also took the stress and hassle out of watering the greenery.

To make things simpler, I created a list of 7 incredibly easy to follow steps to use if you’re deciding whether a sprinkler timer is right for you. It’s never too late to be able to appreciate a beautiful lawn without having to put in the work!

The Tools You’ll Need

1. 3/8” Electric Corded or Cordless Drill

Corded drills are preferable for situations where you won’t be placing the sprinkler timer far away from an electrical socket. Whereas if you prefer the versatility of putting the timer anywhere you please, it’s better to choose a cordless drill.

2. Masonry or Wood Drill Bit

Depending on the type of surface you’d like to install the timer on, you’re going to need the coordinating drill bit. For example, I installed mine on the side of our house above the water shut off valve and so I used the masonry drill bit

3. Black Felt-Tipped Marker

4. Hammer

5. Level

6. Screws

7. Wall Plugs.

When you start searching for wall plugs, make sure you choose ones that are designed for the type of material you’re working with. For example, concrete wall plugs will differ from drywall plugs and masonry plugs. It’s also important to choose plugs that coordinate with the screw size you’ve selected.

8. Screwdriver

The 7 Steps to Install Your Sprinkler Timer System

Step 1: Decide on a Location

The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out where you want the sprinkler timer to be located. There are a few important factors to take into consideration including power supply, the type of timer you have, and how it is supposed to be connected.

Depending on the type of sprinkler timer you purchase it may either be an indoor or an outdoor model. Outdoor models are specially designed to ward off damage from exposure to the elements, such as insulating electrical wires to prevent shortages from the rain.

You’ll also be able to tell whether the unit needs to be hard wired or if it can easily plug into an outlet. Ideally, you’re going to want to find a timer that is designed to plug into a wall outlet because hard wiring may be slightly too advanced if you don’t have experience as an electrician. Although it may limit where you can install the timer, it is far safer and easier.

It’s also important to remember you’ll want to install the timer somewhere that is the most convenient for you. For example, you won’t want your sprinkler’s control panel to be in the garage while you have the timer located in the backyard. It’s best to keep all of the components for the sprinkler system together.

Step 2: Preparing the Sprinkler Timer

The next step is to remove the sprinkler timer from its packaging. Some models may come with instructions and accessories such as screws and plugs while others may not. Guarantee that you keep all of the small pieces in one convenient location so you don’t lose any pieces. I had the unfortunate issue of losing a couple of screws that I had to replace out of my own collection.

Step 3: Mapping the Mounting of the Timer

Once you have all of your tools and accessories readily available, it’s time to map where the sprinkler timer is going to be mounted. This is when you’ll want to use the felt-tipped marker and the timer unit. All you have to do is place it in its desired location (preferably at about eye-level) and mark black dots through the pre-drilled holes on the timer. It’s recommended that you use the level during this step to make sure the timer will be straight along the wall.

This will give you an idea of where you’re going to need to insert your wall plugs and screws for the next step.

Step 4: Drilling the Holes

Next, you’re going to need to use your drill and coordinating drill bit (either wood or masonry) to drill holes that fit the width of your plugs. Although your sprinkler timer may not be heavy, it’s always best to use plugs along with the screws to ensure the unit stays on the wall. Since you already have the designated holes marked out, drilling will be incredibly simple. Once all of the holes are ready, insert the plugs ensuring they’re flush with the wall by hammering them into the holes.

Step 5: Screwing in the Screws

By holding the sprinkler timer in one hand, hold it up to where the pre-drilled holes on the piece line up with the holes in your wall. At this time use your screwdriver to install all of the screws into the plugs. Once you’ve finished screwing, gently pull on the timer to ensure that it is securely fastened to the wall.

Step 6: Connecting the Timer to the Controller

Typically you’ll be able to turn to the manufacturer’s instructions for this process and in order to ensure the sprinkler timer will work with your installed sprinkler system, you need to connect the coordinating wires. After installing my own timer I installed a couple of others for family members and each unit had its own wire colors that coordinated with the sprinkler system, and so there isn’t a universal approach to this step.ere...

Important: When dealing with any type of electricity it is important to shut off the right breakers to stop the flow of power to the sprinkler system. This helps to prevent the likelihood of powerful shocks and electrocution.

Ensure that you do not turn the power back on until you have followed the included instructions and are sure the correct wires are connected to each other.

Step 7: Program Your Timer

Now that the unit has been installed and connected, you should be able to program your desired schedules. This is the part I loved the most about having a sprinkler timer as I was able to set schedules for my lawn to be watered while I slept, just before I came home from work, or even first thing in the morning.

Again, it’s important to refer to the manufacturer’s settings to know which buttons are used to program when you’d like your sprinkler system to turn on. Also, make sure that you test the unit as soon as it is installed by setting a schedule within a few minutes after installation.

See, installing a sprinkler timer is much simpler than you had ever thought, right? There’s no need to worry about being inexperienced with at-home DIY projects because, in all reality, it’s possibly one of the simplest installations you can do on your own. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to say you’ve accomplished a convenient and useful home upgrade, which is why I installed my own timer instead of hiring a professional.

Let me know how your own installation went and be sure to share these 10 incredibly easy steps with your friends and family so they can have perfectly manicured lawns as well!

James Patterson

I'm James IT engineer passionate with Garden where I enjoy most of the time after busy office hours. I’ve grown things ever since I was a child in New Jersey as long as the love for GREEN day by day developing. So I would like the support of other gardeners to build our own fancy paradise at/in your house.

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