Let’s face it. Watering’s a chore. But you can’t just leave the fate of your lawn or garden to the whims of the rain gods (or goddesses!)
What you need is an easy way to keep your plants watered even when things get too busy or when work or a vacation takes you far away from home.
This is where an irrigation system comes in, but what is the best irrigation system for your home and how do you choose what you need?
There are a lot of different types out there and one size does not suit all – so it pays to do your research and talk to the experts.
While you do, here are some of our tips on how to choose the best reticulation system for your home.
What Types of Irrigation Systems Are There?
Let’s start with a bit of an overview of the different types of irrigation systems there out there and some of their advantages and disadvantages.
When it comes to choosing the best irrigation system for your home, here are some of the most commonly used types of residential systems.
Best for plant and flower beds, vegetable gardens, and beds with trees and ornamentals. This system works through drip emitters, which put small amounts of water at the root system. The drip lines are kept under the mulch which reduces evaporation and losses of water and delivers water straight to the plant roots, this is one of the most efficient irrigation systems out there. These systems can be automated.
Another popular option, as the name suggests, sprinklers toss water into the air, treating lawns to a rain shower. They can distribute a lot of water across wide areas so are good choices for large lawn areas. Sprinkler systems should only turn on in the early morning since a lot of the water is lost through evaporation in the afternoon, and your plants need to use most of the water during the day to cool down. On your watering day, you’re allow to water your garden either in the morning before 9AM or after 6PM. If unsure, consult the water corporation tool to find out more info.
Think drip irrigation but without automation. Connected to a water source and just turned on at the tap when needed, the hoses have tiny holes that “weep” water. Soaker hoses can be placed on the ground or buried under mulch.
Now this last option is complicated in Perth. Due to the low and irregular rainfall (mostly in Winter) you would need to store large quantities of water to water throughout the dry season. This is the best option for saving water, especially in areas where water is at a premium. In this system, rainwater is collected in barrels or large underground cisterns. Let’s work out how much water you would need to store for a 100m2 lawn… We are allowed 2 waterings per weeks and are allowed to pour 10mm of water on the lawn, which represents 1m3/1,000L per watering or 2m3/2,000L of water per week ( 100m2 X 10mm = 1m3). Throughout the watering season we have approximately 39 weeks – you would need to store 78,000L of water to water your lawn.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Irrigation System?
Now you know the types of irrigation systems available, here’s what you need to consider when choosing the best irrigation system for your home.
Whatever irrigation system you choose, it’s important to consider the area that will be watered, where the sprinklers or hoses will be placed, what you’re going to spend and how much water you can save.
Do you need an automated irrigation system?
If you are like most of our Perth clients, you have a busy lifestyle, and remembering to turn your system on at the tap on the right watering days is not something you want to deal with.
If you travel often, you also need to be confident that your garden and lawns will be looked after while you are gone – without having to bribe a friend to come over twice a week to turn it on!
Automated systems are your best option to make sure your garden is getting consistent watering, on the right watering days for your location and for the right duration of time.
While they cost more upfront, they more than pay themselves off in the long run.
Do you have an established lawn?
If you have large established lawn areas, your best option will be a sprinkler system – drip lines can only be installed prior to installing your lawn itself. Sprinkler systems are also perfect for covering large areas and can be customised to your space and water pressure/flow etc.
While some of your lawn will need to be dug up for the trenches to lay the pipework, an experienced company will be able to do it with the least damage possible and your lawn will regrow nicely and eventually look like nothing ever happened.
What is your water pressure?
The strength and capacity of your water pressure and flow rates will determine a lot about how your system is set up.
If you have low pressure, you are going to need more stations to maximise your watering capacity, which does increase the cost; extra valves, etc. and the complexity of installation.
And the flow rates (how fast your water runs) will also play a part in what materials and solutions are used.
While both may add additional initial costs for the system, a good reticulation professional will be able to come up with a good solution that makes sure your gardens and lawns are getting what they need, regardless of how low your pressure and flow rates are.
What areas will be watered?
What parts of your garden need to be covered by your irrigation system?
If it’s just garden beds, a dripline system is unobtrusive and waters the roots of your plants – so can be a great way to save water and maintain the looks of your garden beds.
Existing lawns will need to have a sprinkler system installed to cover the area efficiently.
Other things to consider are;
– What is the traffic to each area? Verge lawns need pop-ups that only come up when watering so that they are less likely to be run over by cars or kicked by passers-by, etc.
– What will change long-term? If you put sprinklers in a garden bed with new plants, when those plants grow tall/wide, will they block the sprinkler and mean it has to be moved so everything still gets watered?
– What are the root systems of your plants? If the irrigation pipes will be running past plants with very invasive root systems, you might need stronger PVC rather than the soft poly pipe, or installed with barriers so you don’t end up having to replace/fix them in future; and doing so also might damage or kill the plants.
As you can see there’s a lot to consider when choosing the best irrigation system for your garden, so if you need help with that or the installation of your irrigation system just give our team a call on 08 6263 4644 – they’ll help make sure your new reticulation system is right for your property.