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Irrigation Systems: Design and Installation

Course Code: AL0601CA20

Irrigation Systems: Design and Installation

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Date & Time

We are offering an online Irrigation 101 class on September 2, 2021. View course details and register!

March 30 - April 2, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm (Check-in time on Day 1: 8:30am)

Next offering tentatively planned for January/February 2022. Registration will open when course dates are confirmed.


Student Review

Hans Hesselein, Irrigation Systems Course Attendee

"This class is one of the most informative and engaging continuing education courses I have had the pleasure of taking. Bob Dobson shares his extensive industry experience and helps to demystify the process of designing and installing an irrigation system that will inform all of my future projects. I could not recommend this class more emphatically for the professional who is interested in understanding the basics of irrigation systems."

- Hans Hesselein, RLA NY+PA, LEED AP
Principal, Apiary Studio
Philadelphia, PA

Learn irrigation from a true expert! Bob Dobson, Certified Irrigation Contractor and former president of the Irrigation Association (national) as well as a member of the NJ State Licensing Board, will explain the steps involved in designing and installing an irrigation system from the ground up in this 4-day irrigation system training course.

Through a combination of classroom instruction, visual examples, hands-on exercises, and demonstrations of state-of-the-art troubleshooting technology, you will learn how to lay out an entire irrigation system on your own from beginning to end. You'll also receive invaluable information about bidding, pricing, and calculating overhead costs from a successful and experienced irrigation contractor.

Homework assignments in between class sessions will help to reinforce and further illustrate the concepts that are covered in class.

Course Agenda

Click on each day's subject to view a full list of topics that will be covered in class on that day.

Day 1: Irrigation Basics & Collecting Site Information
  • Answering the question, "What are we trying to accomplish with our irrigation system?"
  • 4 key elements for efficient irrigation
  • Definitions and components of an irrigation system
  • Understanding hydraulic principles
  • Collecting critical site information
  • Drawing the base map
  • 3 rules that determine how much water is available for irrigation
  • Determining the irrigation requirement

Day 2: Irrigation System Design
  • The POC (Point of Connection)
  • Backflow protection
  • Sprinkler head selection and placement
  • Zoning the irrigation system
  • Mainline sizing and routing
  • Lateral pipe sizing and routing
  • Calculating the irrigation system design pressure

Day 3: Completing the Design & Installing the Irrigation System
  • Irrigation control wiring, including electric code compliance
  • Irrigation controller selection and location
  • Water conserving devices
  • Pre-installation procedures, including compliance with the NJ Landscape Irrigation Contractor's Certification Act, the Underground Facilities Protection Act, and construction permits
  • Verifying the water supply
  • Marking-out and staking the irrigation system
  • Tie-in connection to the water supply
  • Mainline installation
  • Lateral pipe / sprinkler head installation
  • Irrigation system completion, including testing and final inspection/approval

Day 4: Bidding & Estimating for an Irrigation Project / Irrigation System Maintenance & Scheduling
  • Differences between the bid and the estimate
  • Estimating methods: the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • Estimating the overhead budget
  • Calculating labor burden and equipment costs
  • How to do a material, labor, equipment, subcontractor take-off
  • Factors that influence the bid price
  • Items that comprise the bid
  • Determining profit
  • Items to include and define in the bid proposal
  • Irrigation system maintenance, including winterization, system activation, and in-season scheduled maintenance
  • Irrigation system scheduling

Please note: This course will help you with, but is not designed to prepare you for, the New Jersey Irrigation Certification Exam.


The March 30 - April 2, 2020 offering of this course was approved for the following credits. We will reapply for similar credits the next time the course runs, but we cannot guarantee credit approval for future offerings.

Certified Public Works Manager (CPWM) Credits
5 Technical, 5 Management

Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Education Points
2.4 Education Points

National Irrigation Association Credits (National)
This course is eligible for credits but students must apply on their own. There is no fee for the application.

Landscape Irrigation Association Licensing Board (New Jersey)
24.0 CEC's (12 are Water Conservation credits)

NJ Board of Architects Credits
20 hours

NJ Licensed Professional Engineers
24.0 credits

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) Credits
1.0 hours

Who Should Attend this Irrigation Training Course

Grounds maintenance and landscape professionals, as well as anyone who wants to learn how to design and install an irrigation system, will benefit from participating in this irrigation training course. Past attendees have included:

  • Irrigation Installers and Technicians
  • Landscape Architects and Designers
  • Landscape Contractors
  • Golf Course Superintendents and Crew
  • Parks Supervisors and Crew
  • Public Works Supervisors and Crew
  • School Grounds Supervisors and Crew
  • Construction Managers, Foreman, and Laborers
  • Nursery Professionals
  • Tree Service Owners
  • Homeowners and Horticulturalists
Student Reviews from Past Attendees of Irrigation Systems: Design & Installation

"I learned how to design an efficient irrigation system. This knowledge will be used to further my business."

"Understanding the concept of designing an irrigation system and the potential pitfalls is invaluable."

"With this class, a beginner can gain a strong understanding of irrigation systems."

"[The most useful aspect of the program was] the breakdown of the parts and functions of irrigation systems and the limitations of a system."

"I learned how much the water service pipes, meters, etc. effect the flow and PSI, etc. I will take this into consideration when designing irrigation systems."

"Good review of irrigation systems."

"Great class! Can't wait to take another!"

Meet Bob Dobson, Your Irrigation Systems Course Instructor
irrigation systems

Instructor Bob Dobson demonstrates irrigation system installation techniques.

By attending this course, you will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of irrigation from a true expert! Bob Dobson is President of Middletown Sprinkler Co. in Port Monmouth, NJ, a full service irrigation firm that has been serving the northeast for over 40 years and specializes in water efficient landscape irrigation systems that promote healthy and vibrant landscapes while conserving water and reducing water costs. Bob is an Irrigation Association (IA) Certified Irrigation Designer for residential, commercial, and golf course irrigation systems and an IA Certified Irrigation Contractor.

A leading voice in the irrigation industry, Bob is a past president of the national Irrigation Association, the Irrigation Association of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Turfgrass Association. He is also a past chairman of the national Irrigation Association's Certification Board of Governors and has served on the IA's Board of Directors. He is a member of the New Jersey Landscape Irrigation Contractors Examining Board.

Bob has been honored with the IA's Industry Achievement Award and the Irrigation Association of New Jersey's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also recognized by the EPA with a WaterSense Excellence Award. He is the co-author of a book entitled Golf Course Irrigation: Environmental Design and Management Practices, which was published in 2003.

Here's what past students have said about Bob Dobson's instruction in this irrigation training course:

"Bob is ready to answer any questions with great detail. It is a wonderful experience to know that the person you are learning from has so much experience."

"Bob Dobson is beyond knowledgeable and a pleasure. Seems as though he really cares about whether or not you learn."

"Very thorough and informative; nice teacher who answers questions."

"Vast knowledge, pleasure to listen to and learn from."

"Bob was terrific. Very experienced and communicates in a very receptive manner."

"Bob is a great teacher. He is full of awesome knowledge that he provides to the class."

"Bob managed to fit a lot of information into just 4 classes. He was an excellent instructor."

"Bob was very good. Kept my interest the whole 4 days. Learned a lot. He was more than just a teacher. Nice to see a knowledgeable contractor."

Early Registration Fee TBD  
Registration Fee TBD  
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast and deli buffet lunch will be provided to you at no additional cost.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.


GPS systems may not recognize campus addresses. Even if they take you to the correct building, they will not take you to the assigned parking lot. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

Extension Conference Center
18 Ag Extension Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Directions, Parking Information & Map


  • All visitors must register their vehicles online with the Rutgers Department of Transportation Services. A link will be provided in your course registration confirmation email. Be sure to complete this important step prior to traveling to campus.
  • All Rutgers faculty/staff/students must use their regular Rutgers permit and park in the nearest lot assigned for their permit type.
  • Citations/fines will be issued for failure to comply with these policies.

Note: Pre-registration is required. We're sorry, but we cannot guarantee a seat, materials or meals for walk-in registrants. Location is subject to change; registrants will be notified in the event of a change.


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified when the next offering is scheduled?
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Irrigation Systems: Design and Installation" or Course Code AL0601)
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Joe Canzano, 848-932-7317
Administrative Assistant: Beth Perez, 848-932-7483

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Attention U.S. Veterans

This course is approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for educational benefits through the GI Bill®. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.