How to automate a garden irrigation system

View the video

How to automate a garden irrigation system

View the video

Project Overview

Automating your irrigation system is ideal if you have a big garden or specific plants that have their own watering needs. We’ll show you how to run different lines through your garden so you can control how long, and how often, parts of your garden are watered.

Continue to step-by-step instructions
This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How To Install Sprayers and Drippers
View the video

Make connecting irrigation pipes easier

When connecting poly pipe for irrigation projects, like installing pop-up sprinklers or water features, soak your pipe ends in hot water. This will soften them and let you mould the ends to suit the fittings that join the pipes together.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Position your weatherproof box
2 Connect the transformer to the system controller
3 Strip your red wiring
4 Wire up your system
5 Attach your controller to the weatherproof box and mount
6 Lay down your cable in the garden
7 Attach the wires to the solenoids
8 Bury the cable and set the programs
  • Step 1. Position your weatherproof box

    Find the right position for your weatherproof box such as the side of your house, a gate or a fence. Make sure that the location of the box is near a power point. Drill in screws for the box to sit on. You’ll need to make sure the nut that comes with the box is inserted at the base. This is where you will feed the wires through. 

  • Step 2. Connect the transformer to the system controller

    It’s easier if you take the box back down to install the system. A transformer will take your power from 240v down to 24v, which is what the solenoid valves the system runs 
  • Step 3. Strip your red wiring

    To connect your watering system you’ll need to use the red cable, which can be buried into your garden. Red cable contains seven core wires inside it.  Thread the cable into the control box and strip it down using wire cutters to expose the cores.

    Feed the transformer wires through the hole in the box and connect them to the first two controller panels inside the box. Make sure you have clean wire touching the controller terminal and then fix the wire down with a screw.

  • Step 4. Wire up your system

    Within the red cable, choose which coloured wires will be your active wire and which will be the common wires. Common wire is what brings power to the whole system, and active wire is what activates each of the solenoids, or programs, you want to use. Fix two common wires to the common terminal, screwing them down as before. Then screw down the other active wires into the active terminal positions.

  • Step 5. Attach your controller to the weatherproof box and mount

    Put a screw into the back of the weatherproof box to hang the controller. The controller should simply slide onto the screw and lock in place. Tighten the nut at the bottom of the box to prevent any water getting into the box. Then you can re-attach the box onto your wall or fence.

  • Step 6. Lay down your cable in the garden

    Before you start, make sure that the power isn’t plugged into your system yet. Run the red cable through your garden to where the solenoids are. Leave a little slack in the wire so that when you bury it, it can be pulled tightly.

  • Step 7. Attach the wires to the solenoids

    Strip the red cable to expose the wires and thread them underneath the irrigation box (Refer to the video How to install irrigation solenoids

    ). Connect the common wires to the back of the solenoid, and the active wires to the front of the solenoid using gel cap connectors so water doesn’t get into them.

  • Step 8. Bury the cable and set the programs

    Now that the controllers are all hooked up, all you have to do is bury the cord in your garden. You’re then ready to set the programs to water your garden.

Tools and Materials


  • Cable connectors
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters


  • Automation controller
  • Cable
  • Electrical plug
  • Screws
  • Weather box
Woman measuring up the garden 01:45

Watering & Irrigation How to plan a garden irrigation system Before you irrigate your garden it’s best to be prepared. We’ll take you through the steps to plan out a garden irrigation system.

Wire up the irrigation system 03:35

Watering & Irrigation How to automate a garden irrigation system Automating your garden irrigation system saves you heaps of time. We’ll show you how to connect the control panel to the solenoids in your garden’s irrigation box.

Person attaching the pop-up sprinklers 03:24

Watering & Irrigation How to install pop-up sprinklers You can give your garden a real boost by installing pop-up sprinklers. We’ll take you through the steps involved in installing sprinklers to keep any size garden healthy.

Person installing a drip line 05:56

Watering & Irrigation How to install irrigation sprayers and drippers Sprayers and drippers are a good option for watering your garden. Find out how to install sprinklers, flexi tube drippers and drip lines in your garden.

Water tank on top of the base 04:36

Watering & Irrigation How to prepare a base for a water tank Water tanks are a great way to save water and help drought proof your home. We’ll show you how to build a base strong enough to support a big one.

Person putting pvc pipe into converter 04:46

Watering & Irrigation How to install irrigation solenoids You can make watering your garden easy with an automated irrigation system. In this video, we show you how to attach solenoid valves to your irrigation system.

Bushfire sprinkler system setup

Watering & Irrigation How to choose a bushfire sprinkler system A sprinkler system can be an invaluable way to help protect your home from bushfire. We’ll show you some simple tips on how to use sprinklers to help keep your home safe.


How To Save Water How to use recycled grey water Grey water is a great way to save money, save water and save your garden during the long, hot summer. The average family can generate as much as 400 litres of grey water a day. However, if you want to use this form of recycled water, there are a few...

Six plants that repel mosquitoes and flies

Planting & Growing Six plants that repel mosquitoes and flies Using plants is a natural and effective way to repel mosquitoes, flies and other insects from entering your home. Here’s a list of the six best insect-repelling plants.

Person planting spinach 03:11

Planting & Growing How to grow vegetables Watch our step-by-step guide and find out everything you need to know about how to grow fresh vegetables in your garden.


Planting & Growing How to create a low-allergy garden If you suffer from hay fever or other allergies, then being out in the garden can, at times, be less than enjoyable. But there are some steps you can take to create an allergy-friendly garden so you can spend more time gardening and less time sneezi...

Grevillea plant

Planting & Growing 11 ground covers for your garden Whether you’re looking to cover a large area or simply fill some space between plants in a garden bed, there are many types of garden ground covers to consider. Some have a scent, some feature flowers and all vary in leaf colour, density and coverag...

Person tying plant to the stake 03:43

Planting & Growing How to stake your plants Staking plants helps provide support and protection against windy conditions and props them up if they’re too heavy.

Dig the holes for planting the hedge 02:04

Planting & Growing How to plant a hedge There are many different varieties of hedging plants to give your garden some extra dimension or added privacy. We’ll show you how to plant a hedge that is perfect for your garden.


Garden Tools How to choose digging tools The right tool will make any job easier, especially when it comes to digging. And when it comes to digging, there's no shortage of tools to choose from – but which tool is right for which job?

grow herbs

Planting & Growing Gardening for kids Gardening is great for the kids—it teaches them a love of nature and the environment, where food comes from, how to care for plants and the joy of reaching a goal. Here are some ideas to get them outside and in the garden.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
Top of the content