How to Easily Dig Trenches with the Following Trench Digging Hacks

Monday, January 11, 2021

It’s not every day that you find digging hacks that make digging holes for your lawn sprinkler system more efficient.

You may need to shop for some tools though. Alternatively, if you want a more efficient way to dig trenches, you’ll want to rent a trencher to do the hard work for you.

Digging Trench

How to Dig a Trench for Lawn Sprinklers

Before you start digging, you first need to call 811. Your utility company will send a technician to mark where all of your underground wires are located.

Second, get everything you need for digging trenches for your outdoor sprinkler system. Here are the tools you’ll need:

1.  Marking flags to show where you’ll be digging
2.  Measuring tape that covers the length of your yard
3.  A trenching shovel
4.  A drain spade, also known as a sharpshooter, to dig deep into the ground
5.  A sod shovel that’s square to dig straight into the soil to lift out sod, roots, and dirt
6.  A long digging bar to maneuver into rocky, hard soil
7.  A leaf rake to smooth the soil and remove small debris

8.  A garden rake to do the hard work of loosening the grass and soil before you dig up the sod
9.  A mattock to cut through rocks, stones, tree roots, and more
10.  A tamper to flatten out the sod after you’re finished laying piping in the trenches
11.  An ax, loppers, or a chainsaw to cut through thick tree roots—make sure to wear safety equipment before using any of these tools
12.  A bore kit or a wet drilling kit to get under sidewalks and driveways
13.  A siphon pump to draw water out of the trench due to a broken pipe or a leak
14.  A hand trowel to return backfill to the trench.

Once you have all of your tools ready, it’s time to start digging.

Tips for Digging Irrigation Trenches by Hand

Once you know what areas to avoid, start digging your trenches. Here are eight trench digging hacks for your lawn sprinkler trenching project:

1.  Use your outdoor sprinkler system design to guide you as you mark and then dig trenches for your in-ground sprinkler system. Watch our sprinkler system design video and our irrigation installation video to learn more about designing and installing your in-ground lawn sprinkler.
2.  Remove all sod using a sod shovel that will dig deep enough to remove the grass layer, roots, and extra soil. Put the sod pieces on the area opposite of your trench for easy replacement.
3.  Move the backfill on the same side where you’re digging from. You’ll put the backfill back in place before replacing the sod. Make it easier to do the job by separating the sod and backfill.
4.  In flowerbeds and other landscaped areas, use a hand trowel to dig smaller trenches for a dripline or tree bubblers.
5.  Use a mattock to cut through roots as well as to dig narrow trenches. Use your long digging bar to go deep into the rocky soil.

6.  How deep do you need to dig your trenches? Dig your trenches 8”-12” deep to lay the piping.
7.  When you’re finished laying the irrigation system piping, cover the trenches with backfill.
8.  Then, you’ll fold the sod back into the trenched areas. Use the tamper to flatten the sod back into place. Don’t over-tamp because you can smash the PVC piping underground.

Use K-Rain Irrigation Products for a Superb Outdoor Sprinkler System

K-Rain lawn sprinkler products provide your lawn and landscapes with the right amount of water at the right time.

If you’re new to outdoor sprinkler systems, you can find a contractor for designing and installing your K-Rain irrigation system.

If you plan to install your K-Rain sprinkler system, you’ll find K-Rain sprinkler system parts at our online store or at your favorite big-box retailer.

If you have any questions about your K-Rain outdoor lawn sprinkler, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:, “15 Expert Tips for Digging Holes.”, “Four Ways to Bore Under a Paved Surface.”, “How to Dig Trenches for Your Irrigation System.”, “How to Install an Underground Sprinkler System.”, “How to Dig Trenches.”

Ibid, “Necessary Sprinkler Installation Tools.” (Video)