Three Things a Swing Joint Can Do For Your Project – California Supplemental Exam for Landscape Architects

Three Things a Swing Joint Can Do For Your Project

Swing joints are flexible pipe fittings used to attach sprinklers or rotors to an irrigation system.

Swing Joint for the California Supplemental Exam for Landscape Architects

Swing joints have several benefits over traditional rigid risers.

  1. Swing joints allow for easy adjustments to fine-tune sprinkler head placement during installation.
  2. Swing joints are flexible and allow the head to move a little without breaking
  3. Swing joints can withstand impacts from equipment and pedestrians better than a riser alone.

What is a Swing Joint?

A swing joint consists of a length if flexible pipe that has two movable connections at either end. One side connects to the irrigation device and the other pipe connects to the irrigation system.




The flexible connections and flexible pipe allow enough movement to prevent the connection from breaking. If the pipe were to fail, water would gush out if the system when it operates. Water is wasted and the rest of the system fails to operate since so much pressure is lost due to the broken pipe.

Swing Joint Installation detail for the California Supplemental Exam


Where to Use Swing Joints

Swing joints are best used where pedestrians walk on turf areas or near high-traffic hardscape areas adjacent to planting beds.

Since sprinklers connected to swing joints are less likely to fail, maintenance costs are reduced and less water is wasted from broken irrigation systems.

Are Swing Joints Required in California?

The CALGreen building code requires swing joints to be installed as an environmentally friendly construction practice. Their thinking is that fewer broken pipes equals greater irrigation efficiency.

 Swing joints or other riser protection components shall be required on all risers.

The California Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance also requires swing joints.

Drops of Wisdom

Swing joints are required in some cases for irrigation systems in California. Know what situations benefit most from swing joints for the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for  landscape architects.

Remember that swing joints are a water-saving device because they reduce the number of system failures caused by broken pipes.

Additionally, swing joints are easier on people and equipment who come into contact with the sprinklers.

Swing joints save water and protect the public’s safety.

Looking for a CSE Study Guide?

Pass the California Supplemental Exam (CSE) for Landscape Architects e-book study guideIf you are looking for a study guide to help you prepare to pass the CSE the first time, check out Pass the California Supplemental Exam for Landscape Architects study guide e-book.


John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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