Saturday, August 16

DIY Sprinkler Arch

We still have a few steamy days headed our way before summer is over, and this DIY sprinkler arch is a great way to stay cool in your own backyard!

We've had a lot of fun hooking this up to our hose when things get too hot. And when we're done playing we can set it over our garden beds to water the garden! That's a freebie. That's also how Husband talked me into the idea.

It's a pretty quick and easy project to put together. We did it in an evening while the boys played in the wading pool and ran (or crawled) circles around us. So you can definitely squeeze it in before the next heat wave!

It's also great because you don't need a workshop full of tools to pull it off - just one small tool and a few pieces from the hardware store!

Ready to make your own sprinkler? Here's what you need:
  • Pipe cutter (you could also get by with a hack saw but it's a lot of cuts. We definitely recommend these cutters instead!)
  • PVC primer
  • PVC cement
  • 5 - 1/2" CPVC pipes @ 10' long
  • 14 - 1/2" CPVC T-joints
  • 8 - 45-degree angle CPVC joints
  • 1 - 1/2" CPVC valve (if you want to be able to turn the water off at the sprinkler)
  • 1 - 1/2" CPVC to hose transition
  • 3 - 1/2" CPVC caps
Overall dimensions for our sprinkler are 48" wide x 72" tall x 36" deep, but of course you can follow the steps to make whatever size you like!

Start by cutting the following pieces from your pipes:

8 @ 30"  legs
8 @ 8.5" angle pieces
4 @ 12"  top
7 @ 24"  sides
3 @ 6"  feet
2 @ 2"  foot with valve

To assemble the pieces you'll need pvc primer and cement.

As you do each piece first use the purple primer to paint all around the outside of the end of the pipe, and the inside of the joint piece. With the PVC cement, coat the outside of the pipe, the inside of the joint, then the outside of the pipe again to get the best coverage.

Start by assembling all the side pieces. For 5 of the 24" side pieces attach one T joint on each end like in the picture below. Make sure they nice and straight so your legs don't end up wonky later.

For the other two 24" side pieces, attach the T-joints on one of the ends of the T (see the pic below) instead of the base of the T. Make sure they are pointing the same direction! On the other end of three of the T-joints attach one of the 6" feet, then attach a cap to the end. On the fourth T-joint attach one of the 2" sections, then the valve, then another 2" section, then a cap. You'll end up with two bottom sections for the sprinkler that look like this:

Now we're going to build up from those bottom sections. Start by putting a 30" let into each of the T-joints in the bottom section. Then attach one of the 24" side sections across the top. Repeat with the other base section. It will look like this:

Then, on top of that side section, put another 30" leg into each T-joint. Then top each leg with a 45 degree angle joint, then a 8.5" angle piece. Then put another 24" side section on top of those 8.5" angles pieces. Repeat for the other side to end up with two side pieces that look like this:

Then built the top section. Start with the remaining 24" side section (this will be the middle) and on each side of that put a 12" top piece in each T-joint. Then put a 45 degree angle joint, then an 8.5" angle pieces. You'll end up with this:

Now we're going to put it all together. It helps to have a helper. Especially an adorable one.

Now you just have to attach the top section onto each side section.

Ta-da! Now you just have to wait for the glue to dry completely before you turn the water on. 

If you don't want the sprinkler to look quite so much like a plumbing fixture in your backyard, you can grab some spray paint to spiff it up a bit. We used this Krylon Fusion for plastics.

So far it's been holding up well and the coverage was SO even and easy. This was after just one coat:

And that's it! Just grab your favorite small boys and have some fun!

It turns out Big Brother is not a fan of falling water. We're hoping the sprinkler will ease him into that a bit, but for now he mostly just runs around it. And kicks the ball through it.

Baby Brother is a more willing participant.

And ohmygoodness this face.

Big Brother seems to think it's his personal water fountain. Nice try there, buddy. So close and yet....

That's a little better.

When all else fails you can always try the under-the-tongue technique. Now you know.

"Daddy, your face is a little wet. I'll get it."

Big Brother got grass on his feet and wanted to rinse it off. But didn't want to go in the sprinkler. So he jumped and kicked his feet in to rinse them. Sometimes both feet at the same time.

Like you do.

This is like squishy baby candy. I could eat him up.

Big Brother is working really hard to hold water in his hands.

Baby Brother wanted to copycat and kick the ball too. He goes for more of the break-dancing/keep-as-much-of-my-body-on-the-ground-as-possible technique.

"Did you SEE that sweet kick? Don't leave me hangin'."

All around the sprinkler, the daddy chased the big boy....

Bye bye everybody!

Anyone else made a backyard sprinkler? What's your favorite way to stay cool in the summer?


  1. What a great idea! I think I will be trying this out for my son and daughter this weekend! Your boys are adorable!

    1. Thank you! How did it turn out? I'd love to see pictures! :)