Designing a simple irrigation system

Now you know the basics of irrigation, you are ready to begin building a system for your garden. The first thing to consider will be the source of your water. Depending on your plumbing, there may be accessible places to install dedicated lines for irrigation or if you are lucky, you may have an irrigation line separate from the mains – but for most gardens, an outdoor tap in a convenient place will be fine.

Now you will need to measure your area requiring irrigation and quickly sketch to show the shape. Be sure to show the location of your water source. On the sketch, mark the location of your plants and note their type using a key – trees will have different irrigation needs from shrubbery or a lawn. Note the species of plant if you can, as different varieties will have different water requirements.

(img – sketch)

Now you can begin designing your irrigation system. First you will need to determine the flow rate of your water source and the area that requires watering. You will also need to count or estimate the number of individual plants in the planting.

Your next step is to decide what method of irrigation suits your situation best. Below are some guidelines:

  • For small numbers of plants, tree plantings, small or difficult shaped areas, or hanging or potbound plants, the cheap and versatile micro-irrigation is preferable.
  • For lawns pop-ups are a favourite, although drip lines can be installed beneath new lawns.
  • For hedges, orderly plantings or as temporary irrigation systems, the cost and water-conserving driplines are preferred.
  • For very large plantings sprinkler systems are most effective.

The different kinds of irrigation mentioned above can be combined if necessary to suit any garden configuration.

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