Sandy soil, clay soil, grass types, it can be a lot to take in. And knowing exactly how to water your lawn to keep it green and healthy can be a task. However, automatic sprinkler systems can help ease your burden. But a sprinkler system isn’t a one-and-done type of project. It takes planning, preparation, and time to achieve your goal of installing an automatic sprinkler system. Here are a few things you’ll need to do prior to installing your new system.
Need a Permit?
One of the most commonly overlooked tasks when homeowners install sprinkler systems is checking with your locality to see if you are required to obtain a building permit to install your system. Now, you may be scratching your head and asking, “Why would I need a building permit? I’m installing something underground on my property.”
Well, when it comes to sprinkler systems, you aren’t simply laying piping down in the ground and connecting a hose to it. There is a good deal of wiring that goes into it, and your city or county may have requirements you must meet prior to installing your system. While most contractors will take care of all your permit needs, if you are planning on installing yourself, you will need to do your due diligence and contact the proper locality to determine what permits you may need.
Check for Underground Utilities
Prior to planting your shovel into the ground, you need to check for any underground utilities that may be in your yard. This is not just a safety concern, it is required by law that you check for utilities prior to digging on your property. Some utilities are not far beneath the surface, and even a relatively shallow dig can get you in a world of trouble.
Digging without knowing where your underground utilities are located puts you in harm’s way. Knowing where your utility lines are buried will help protect you from injury and prevent damages to your utilities, service disruptions, and potential fines and repair costs. Even if you’ve called before for a similar digging project, call again. Every job requires a call to your utility providers to ensure your safety and your neighborhood’s utility service.
Local Watering Ordinances
Lastly, you’ll want to check all of your local watering ordinances to see if you must adhere to certain watering restrictions. Many municipalities have responded to water shortages and droughts by implementing laws that restrict how many times per week you can water your lawn, for how long, and in some cases, have implemented laws dictating when you can water your lawn. To verify any watering ordinances for your area, you can search online for your city and county water restrictions to see which restrictions, if any, apply to your location.
Finding the Right Sprinkler for Your Garden
With the right watering habits and right system for your garden, you can enjoy a healthy lawn and garden each and every year. However, it’s important to know which type of sprinkler system is best for your needs.
There are several factors to consider when choosing your new sprinkler system. You may even be best suited to utilize more than one type of sprinkler to ensure your yard and garden are covered. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you shop for the right sprinkler system for your garden.
- > How large is the area that needs to be watered?
- > How frequently should you water?
- > What is the climate like in your region?
- > How can you most effectively water those hard-to-reach areas in your garden?
Types of Sprinkler Nozzles
When you’re in need of a sprinkler system, knowing the differences between the different types of sprinklers will help you choose the best fit for your lawn. Fixed sprinklers feature several different designs that cast water in a single pattern over a fixed area. They offer fast and precise watering, and can water those hard-to-reach areas and are ideal for small areas, gardens and landscaping, fixed sprinklers.
Oscillating sprinklers have a long tube with numerous openings and move back and forth, creating a fan-shaped waterfall. Best for medium- and large-sized areas and areas that are newly seeded, oscillating sprinklers provide you with gentle watering, even coverage, and are best for covering a rectangular or square pattern.
Impact sprinklers, also known as impulse sprinklers, are those which rotate in a circle and shoot a single jet of water and make a distinctive clicking sound when in use. Best for large areas, impact sprinklers are very wind-resistant, are less likely to clog, offer an adjustable pattern, and provide you with lower water pressure and flow rate.
Rotating sprinklers, best for gardens and medium-sized areas, have two or more arms and spin to disperse water in a circular pattern. The benefits of a rotating sprinkler include even water distribution, they often feature adjustable jets and bases, and they work quickly.
Traveling sprinklers, which resemble little tractors, move through your yard in a preset pattern. These mini-tractors drag the hose behind them as they water your yard. These are great for using in a wide area, and can save you time watering your yard and garden. Traveling sprinklers are best for areas that are uneven, and yards that are oddly shaped.
Drip irrigation, a combination of several low-pressure, low-volume water delivery systems, is also known as a micro-irrigation system. Each system is distinguished by a different style of water emitter. Originating with commercial growers and farmers, drip irrigation systems are now a popular option for home gardeners who desire to conserve water.
These systems are the best way of getting the most from your plants while maximizing your water resources. Drip irrigation systems tend to use less water than conventional watering techniques and systems, as they aim to keep the plant’s roots moist without saturating. Drip systems are often installed in the subsoil, where they can be hidden beneath a layer of mulch.
Great for long strips of lawn, oddly shaped gardens, and raised beds, drip irrigation systems offer a low flow rate, easy installation, and allow you to target the exact area where you want to water, and allows you to deliver it exactly when you want when used with a timer. Other benefits of drip irrigation systems include their ability to deliver water without creating an overly moist environment, helping keep fungal diseases from your garden, and they improve the water-holding capacity in sandier soils.
Rachael Jones is a Staff Writer for DIYMother
Living in the rainy Pacific Northwest I have considered setting up some rain barrels to save a little on my water bill, but to also provide a water outlet to an area in my garden where one is not available.
The biggest inhibiting factor of doing this sooner was cost, typically rain barrel kits cost at least $100 and though as you can see below might be a little more aesthetically pleasing this is quite a bit of money to spend for something I am going to hide behind my garage anyway I went for a much cheaper option with a little do-it-yourself.
- 55 gallon food grade plastic barrels X 2
- 3/4 in. Slip x MHT PVC Fitting
- 3/4 in. Male Terminal Adapter
- 3/4“ PVC Tee connector X 2
- 3/4” PVC elbow connector
- 3/4” PVC end cap
- Hose Barb Adapter (5/8” Barb X 3/4” MIP)
- 5/8” plastic tubing
- 3/4” PVC ball valve (get a second one if you want to be able to add more barrels without draining out all the water)
- 1.5” length of 3/4” PVC pipe X 2
- 2” length of 3/4” PVC pipe X 2
- Vinyl plumbers tape
- PVC primer/cement
- Cinder Blocks (at least 2 for each water barrel…I went with 6 for each barrel for additional water pressure)
- 4”X4” Lumber (8 foot)
Knowing Pascal’s principle I wanted to take advantage of all the height I could safely get. I chose to elevate my rain barrels by taking cinder blocks 2 wide and 3 high. I then place two 4”X4” lumber cut at 4 foot lengths to provide a few additional inches bust also provide some room for my connections which I will explain below.
Now I have a firm foundation not it is time to get these barrels hooked together so I can get maximum water pressure and access to the water in all of the barrels.
The caps on the barrels (pretty common) I picked up had a nice feature of including some nice threads on the inside of them. This provides me a nice 1 inch thread I can get a nice tight seal. The only problem these are sealed.
Not having a drill bit just under one inch in diameter I used a pocket knife to carefully cut the inner cap off being careful to not harm the threads.
Next I applied some silicon tape to the 3/4 in. Male Terminal Adapter and screw these into the lids and then attached the lid back into the water barrel. Repeat this step for each of the barrels.
Next cut two 1.5 inch lengths of 3/4 PVC pipe and place between the 3/4 in. Male Terminal Adapter and the 3/4“ PVC T connector.
Now cut two 2 inch lengths of 3/4” PVC pipe and place at either end of the T connector on both barrels.
Next attach your 3/4” PVC ball valve to both ends (or 3/4” PVC end cap if you are not planning on adding any more barrels to your system.)
Finally measure the length between the remaining span of your water barrels and cut that to length.
Once you have everything fit as you like it use PVC primer/cement to make everything permanent except the connections between the T-connector and the threaded connector attached to the barrel.
Now (with PVC assembly removed) flip the barrels over to their final resting place and prime/cement last connections giving barrels a slight twist to make sure you have a good seal in the PVC cement.
Next cut a hole in the top of one barrel and be sure to place a screen between the rainspout and the opening of the barrel to keep mosquitos from making a home in your barrel.
In each of the other barrels you will need to add a hole for venting. I will I completely forgot this step and woke up confused why only one barrel contained 90% of the water after our first rain. Once I drilled a 1/4” hole into my second barrel I got a good blast of air in my face and the barrels equalized.
Lastly you need to add an overflow preventer, for this I drilled a one inch hole and then added a Hose Barb Adapter (5/8” Barb X 3/4” MIP) and a small length of 5/8” plastic tubing returning to the drain (with screen attached to keep bugs from coming up the tube.
To make sure you do not have any leaks (and being so excited to see your hard work in action) you can throw your onto your roof and let the water run for a few minutes to make sure you do not have any obvious issues such as leaks at any of your connections.
I also added a 3/4 in. Slip x MHT PVC Fitting which allows me to directly connect a garden hose or automated drip irrigation system (see upcoming post..)
So now I have the ability to capture up to 110 gallons of water, since I am only capturing one half of the water from the roof of my garage which equates to 196 square feet. Given for every inch that falls on a square square foot of surface area equals 0.6234 gallons so this means with just a single inch of rain these barrels will be over flowing providing weeks of water for a small vegetable garden.
When standing with the hose in hand watering the garden this growing season here’s something to contemplate:
The point of watering is feeding roots but in most cases excess water is wasted falling between and around plants. A watering can is better suited for the task but still lacks precision.
One way to ensure water reaches its target is through a delivery mechanism that takes into consideration low water usage. True, in the realm of eco-friendly gardening there are many types of specialized irrigations systems that direct water but most aren’t feasible devices for the general homeowner.
However, one that could be made at home with little cost involves reusing plastic bottles from water, soda, and other drinks. Any size will work but the 1.5 liter or 1 liter is the easiest to experiment with. All that’s needed besides the bottles are two to three foot thin but sturdy sticks that can fit through the spouts.
Now, there are different ways of setting up the watering system but the basic idea remains the same and can be adapted to fit any situation.
For example, a simple approach may go something like this:
1. Cut off the bottom of the bottle about an inch up.
2. Making sure not to disturb the plant itself place and the bottle near the base of the plant with the spout down almost completely vertical. Then push the stick through the bottle into the ground so it’s holding the bottle upward. If it leans a bit that’s ok.
3. Pour water into the top (the cut off bottom) and see if it reaches the base of the plant. Adjust if necessary.
1. From the spout use a marker to draw two lines 5 or 6 inches down each side (at a 180 degree angle) essentially dividing the bottle if you continued all the way around.
2. Connect the ends of the lines by circling around the bottle’s width creating two halves.
3. Carefully cut out one of the halves and remove the spout so you end up with a scoop-like shape.
4. If necessary spend some time trimming it so it has a pointy or shovel-like tip capable of sliding into the ground and resting in place.
5. Cut off the end (the bottom) of the bottle about an inch up.
6. Place the scoop side in the ground.
7. Test with some water and adjust the placement if necessary.
Either way you choose regulate water usage to less than a cup for each plant when possible and in the end this contraption will save on next month’s water bill.
Finally remember the bottles along with any scraps should be recycled when no longer in use or at the end of the season. They’ll probably be worn from the elements so don’t hesitate to toss them out and use new ones the following year.
Jakob Barry writes for Networx.com, a growing community of homeowners and contractors sharing and monitoring home improvement projects together. He covers various home improvement topics including lawn irrigations tips and grounds maintenance
The author had a problems keeping his plants alive and provided the plants could not call out for help, he fixed this with a little bit of electronics. It will call out when it is dry and needs watering by saying phrases such as, “I’M THIRSTY! WATER ME!”
One problem with growing plants indoors is the requirement for indoor lighting, combined with the need to pour water on plants around such lighting causes a potential electrical disaster. When I heard about Wet Circuits water/tamper resistant power strip I simply had to try it out. Not having the $70 to buy one myself, the nice people at WetCircuits sent me a sample to try out these claims for myself.
After reviewing their very informative infomercial style demonstration (see below) I felt I would not be doing my job unless I reproduced at least some of these demonstrations for myself.
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Read the rest of this entry »
As I have mentioned on my post on watering, I like to dechlorinate my water by filling 5 gallon buckets with water and letting them sit overnight. Though this year I always seemed to not have enough time (or foresight) to be diligent about this and ended up just dragging the hose out and watering the plants chlorine at all.
Fortunately our friends at AllFilters have a solution to this problem with the Gard’n Grow Garden Filter, by simply adding this small inline filter it can remove at least 85% of the chlorine in your water without needing to prefill or carry around heavy buckets.