It’s a must have!
In our garden designs, an irrigation system is one of the things we insist that our clients invest in. Parveen has a live example garden which is not irrigated on purpose. We can prove how cumbersome it gets, over time, when you don’t have an irrigation system. Even the toughest of plants will wither and perish over a prolonged period of lack of watering. Additionally, although watering the garden can be therapeutic at times, we have young children and loved ones we’d like to spend time with too!!!
So which irrigation system is best?
We are constantly asked that. Our answer will depend on what’s cost effective and compliments the planting design!
Drip irrigation systems are certainly the way to go and make up the core/base of an irrigation system. They are water efficient. They are bolstered by other irrigation implements such as garden sprays, pop ups, microsprays etc. The types of implements you’d have in a design in turn depends on the needs of the vegetation that needs watering. Some plants are susceptible to fungal disease if their leaves get wet often so using garden sprays will be not be the best option for such plants!
Further choices to make …
The key choice to make centres around ease of operation. I.e. do you want a system that is:
- battery operated v permanently wired; or
- manually set off v automated.
There is some overlap between each category which we’ll touch on briefly.
A battery system
A battery system by definition entails battery replacement very couple of years or so. This system is cheaper to install as it doesn’t need an electrician to install an outdoor power outlet.
A automatic system
An automatic system simply refers to the fact that there is an electronic switch mechanism (a.k.a solenoid) controlling the watering requirements of different garden zones. It comes with an inbuilt programmable timer and may be hardwired or runs on batteries.
The advantage of an automatic system are twofold:
- It gives more control over seasonality factors. I.e. you can programme it to run when and how much you like;
- Some automated systems are wifi compatible! Watch out for these ones as feedback from our clients who have chosen to go down the tech path has been amazing – they can operate them via an app on their phone even from overseas!!
- They can be installed with rain gauges so that the latter shuts off the system given that the garden has enough water, therefore saving your water usage!
These system are relatively more expensive to install than the battery or manual systems as they have more parts to install, takes more skill and experience and needs an electrician to install an outdoor power outlet. However, this is the system that our company recommends and as mentioned above, our clients have loved!
Manual systems do not have a ‘sophisticated’ control box unlike the automatic system. The end of these systems are simply attached to a dedicated tap which is manually turned on when you’d want to water the garden, For manual systems, it’s advisable to install one with timers so that the irrigation system operates whilst you are away and to your dedicated set up times. However, these systems are not sophisticiated enough to cater for seasonality factors and rain impact.
It’s a worthwhile investment
The last point we want to make is that investing in a good and properly designed irrigation system is well worth the effort and cost.
You’ve probably guessed that our preference is to install an automatic system. A lot of our clients are pleasantly surprised that they don’t cost an arm and a leg over a manual system.
Tips for installing your own Irrigation Systems
- The drip irrigation pipe needs to be pinned down to the surface of the soil and is then covered over with mulch, minimising the loss of water through evaporation.
- Buy a flag indicator to make sure that the drippers are working effectively.
- Install the drip system in a grid pattern so that the water coverage is adequate for the plantscape.
- Check your pipes at least once a year to ensure that all sections are working.
- Zone your drip system appropriately. If using an automated system, assign different zones for different plant groups. This takes into account that different plants have different watering requirements. Allow and adjust for seasonality. What this means is that you still need to water in winter but an a lesser rate, for example.
If you like what we do and are needing help in designing your garden or your irrigation system, please contact us for an onsite 90 minute consultation. We charge $220.00 for the visit and can subsequently quote on project managing the entire transformation for you within your budget.
Our passion, your garden