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Irrigation systems are a simple and efficient way to water the garden. You can choose between a manual system which gives you full control over when the garden is watered and a fully automatic system, which means that you can forget about watering the garden altogether.
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Manual irrigation systems are a cheaper alternative to automatic systems, however, you need to turn the taps on and off at periodic intervals. A mechanical or electronic tap timer can be used but it is not recommended by many people as it can decrease the flow rate by as much as fifty percent. You will also require a manifold at one or more taps to be able to turn the system on and off and you may still need a tap on the manifold for the hose. Manifolds can be bought pre-built, or you can build one yourself from threaded fittings.
Automatic irrigation systems is a more expensive option but they operate independently, can be set to water at the most efficient time of the day, operate even when you are away, and they can be fitted with a rain sensor. On an automatic system, you will need a controller that is fitted either inside or outside with the correct number of watering zones, electrically operated taps called solenoids as well as tap fittings, a manifold for the solenoids, multi-core cable, sealed connectors, and a box that covers the manifold.
There are two main types of irrigation systems: sprinkler systems and drip irrigation. With sprinkler systems, it is important that the sprinklers are correctly positioned so that there is no water wastage. The sprinkler heads should be pointed in towards the garden, with no spray onto driveways, roads, or buildings. The dimensions and size of the garden will determine the size and number of sprinklers that will need to be used. The sprinklers also need to be spaced so that there is a slight overlap, as they tend to leave a dry area underneath themselves. Try to link the sprinklers into different zones if possible, as some areas of the garden will need to be watered more often than others. For example, vegetable gardens will need more water than a bed of native plants. This will aid in water efficiency.
Drip irrigation systems are extremely water efficient. This is done by using less water, minimizing evaporation, eliminating wind drift and overspray, reducing run off, delivering water directly to the roots of the plant, and is not impeded by plant growth. There are three main types of drip systems – water weeping hose, in-line drip tube, and plug in drippers.
Water weeping hoses such as Aquapore weep water at a rate of approximately two litres per fifteen metres per minute along its entire length. It is designed to run at a low pressure and each hose can be up to thirty metres long. It should not be used with muddy water, however.
In-line drip tubes are poly pipes that have drip emitters built in at regular spacings. It has previously been used primarily for agriculture but is now available for domestic applications.
Plug in drippers can be fixed or adjustable. Fixed drippers can be set at a rate of two, four, and eight litres per hour while adjustable drippers can be set anywhere from two to forty-five litres per hour. The drippers may be plugged directly into low density poly pipe or connected via 4mm spaghetti tube.
©Edwards Donovan Landscapes Pty Ltd
It can be very confusing deciding the best way to irrigate your garden. Garden designers and those in irrigation companies are able visit your garden and draw up an irrigation plan. Also, seeing the garden will enable them to see factors that will impact upon the plan such as the type of plants, where the garden beds are located, what type of turf is laid, the type of soil, and so on. They will also be able to quote on the cost of the job and take care of installation.
The price of your irrigation system will depend on a number of factors, including, the size of the system required, if it is automated and what product range you choose. When it comes time to getting quotes, donít always go for the lowest price. Take the time to find out how experienced a contractor is, if they are insured and what warranty their products carry. This could end up helping you save in the long run.