Home irrigation | Where do you start?

Water is one of earth`s most precious resources. This goes without saying hence why we should use water carefully and correctly to avoid wasting it. If you are thinking of installing a beautiful low-maintenance landscape that won’t drain your water budget, luck for you, a world of ideas is just a few mouse clicks away. If like us at FarmAbility you cherish the joy of growing your own food and keeping your landscape looking green and healthy then read along. You might just learn something useful in your research towards setting up a good micro irrigation system in your home.

 

What is irrigation?

Irrigation is the process through which controlled amount of water can be supplied through artificial means such as pipes, ditches, sprinklers etc. the main objectives of irrigation systems is to help agricultural crop growth, landscape maintenance, reduce the effect of inadequate rainfall. For more on what irrigation is see our previous blog here.

Lawns and gardens make up about half the total water use of an average home. Studies have shown that many of our lawn and garden irrigation systems are poorly planned and/or have very inefficient watering schedules or need repairs. 

In this blog, we will share knowledge and suggestions to help you save water, time, and money. What are the characteristics of a well-watered garden? It’s healthy, plush, refreshed, fruitful, alive, fertile & beautiful. Irrigation frequency and volume is determined plant type, weather and soil conditions.

Before starting or modifying, your lawn or garden irrigation system. Consider these four factors.

  • Plant`s water requirements

Knowing how much water your plants need to grow and remain healthy should be at the very highest of priorities.

  • Hydro zoning

This is the practice of placing plants with similar water needs together to minimize water use. It’s becoming an increasingly common practice for those interested in using the most sustainable practices in their landscape.

  • Irrigation system design and components

Proper system planning and design is essential to irrigation water management and requires the thoughtful consideration of many elements like water, soil and crops.

  • Irrigation scheduling

For optimised production and overall efficiency in water use it is often necessary to frequently assess the soil conditions to reach an informed conclusion in turn, that will contribute towards the creation of an accurate irrigation schedule.

What is Micro Irrigation? (Domestic Irrigation)

Is an irrigation method with lower pressure and flow than a traditional sprinkler system. Micro-irrigation, also called localised irrigation, low volume irrigation, low-flow irrigation, domestic irrigation or trickle irrigation. Low volume irrigation is used in agriculture for row cropsorchards, and vineyards. It is also used in horticulture in wholesale nurseries, in landscaping for civic, commercial, and private landscapes and gardens, and in the science and practice of restoration ecology and environmental remediation. wiki

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending generations walking around your garden with a hose or watering can or water bucket but if you really want to keep your lawn and flowerbeds looking lush and bountiful with as little effort as possible, get yourself a watering system. They will refresh your lawn while you're out enjoying yourself.

 

What is a watering system? (irrigation system)

 

A watering system is often a collection of components working together to irrigate a garden through an automated seamless process.

 

How does a home irrigation system work?  Below is a video illustration by toro©

 

 

Right, now that you have an idea about what irrigation is and how it works. If you are a busy person a home irrigation system can save you plenty of time and money. By having a properly installed irrigation system, you don’t even have to be home when it comes time to water your lawn and landscape.

Right, now you’re back with us, the next thing you’ll need is an automatic water-scheduling controller or even a full-blown irrigation system with a confluence of water pipes to feed the borders and seedlings.

Potted plants are usually the first things to wilt on a hot summer’s day so fitting a drip irrigation system is also a damn good idea. Or perhaps invest in a self-watering planter.

There are loads of different types of automatic watering systems on the market but, to save you the head-scratching, we’ve scoured the web for the best automated watering systems for those you can’t be bothered to unravel a hose. 

Types of Irrigation Systems

There are many different types of irrigation systems, depending on how the water is distributed throughout the field. Some common types of irrigation systems include:

 

Surface irrigation

Water is distributed over and across land by gravity, no mechanical pump involved.

Localized irrigation

Water is distributed under low pressure, through a piped network and applied to each plant.

Drip irrigation

A type of localized irrigation in which drops of water are delivered at or near the root of plants. In this type of irrigation, evaporation and runoff are minimized.

Sprinkler irrigation

Water is distributed by overhead high-pressure sprinklers or guns from a central location in the field or from sprinklers on moving platforms.

Center pivot irrigation

Water is distributed by a system of sprinklers that move on wheeled towers in a circular pattern. This system is common in flat areas.

Lateral move irrigation

Water is distributed through a series of pipes, each with a wheel and a set of sprinklers, which are rotated either by hand or with a purpose-built mechanism. The sprinklers move a certain distance across the field and then need to have the water hose reconnected for the next distance. This system tends to be less expensive but requires more labour than others.

Sub-irrigation

Water is distributed across land by raising the water table, through a system of pumping stations, canals, gates, and ditches. This type of irrigation is most effective in areas with high water tables.

Manual irrigation

Water is distributed across land through manual labour and watering cans. This system is very labour intensive. 

 

Benefits of Having an Irrigation System

It can save you time.  By having a properly installed irrigation system, you don’t even have to be home when it comes time to water your lawn and landscape.

It can save you money. Irrigation systems can deliver the proper amount of water needed to effectively grow a healthy lawn and landscape.  By reducing water usage, you reduce cost!  And with continual use, your irrigation system will pay for itself!

 Different Types of Irrigation Systems

  1. Pump System

– Water is pumped into the irrigation system from a static water source, i.e. lake or pond.

No additional water usage costs.

  1. Metered Water System

– Water is supplied through an established water system, i.e. utility department.

– Can be tied into a house’s existing water lines.

– As the water being used is metered, monthly usage costs will increase.

 

What you need for a Standard Irrigation System 

Shutoff ValveAn irrigation system is like any other water appliance in your house.  It’s important to make sure you have a way to shut off the water supply. You’ll need it in the event of a water line break or of a valve that’s hung open.

Backflow Preventer An anti-siphon device that prevents water from your sprinkler system from being reintroduced into the municipal water supply. (It protects the potable water from contaminants.)

Main LineThe pipes that deliver the water to the main portion of the sprinkler system.  If there is a break or issue within the main line, it effects the entire system.

Sprinkler ZoneA specified group of sprinkler heads designed to work together to ensure full area coverage of the water application.

Zone LinesThe pipes that carry the water being delivered by the main line into each individual zone of the system.  If there is a break or issue with a zone line, it generally only effects that particular zone. (In other words, you can isolate a zone off that has a broken pipe without having to shutdown the rest of the system.)

ValvesThe devices that open and close controlling the supply of water to each zone.

Heads These are the “spigots” of your irrigation system.  This is where water escapes the system and sprays a specified area.

Controller The brains of the system.  The controller sends the command to each zone’s valve when it is time to open or close. Most controllers are capable of programming where you can create a water schedule that begins at a specified time.

For a complete guide for your home installation click here

 

7 comments

FarmAbility

FarmAbility

Thanks for the feedback Dylan, glad you enjoyed the article. Heres a link to our current HUNTER specials https://farmability.co.za/collections/hunter . Follow that link and spoil yourself!

Dylan

Dylan

This is a good read. The videos are a great touch too

Niel

Niel

Yes. That’s a terrific question. I for one inherited a blossoming large garden meaning I had to carry on or take over an already existing garden besides the plot. What can you do if you have a matured garden and you don’t want to start afresh

Brian

Brian

Hey guys. How does one go about knowing exactly how much water his plants need? Let’s say you have about 20+ different types in your garden and one irrigation source?

FarmAbility

FarmAbility

Hi Niel, Well that sucks. I can imagine your frustration. I`m just glad you’ve found us, now you can always have expert advice and the best deals that have true value for money right at your fingertips. Looking at your comment we already know exactly what you need and the kind of discount suitable for you. Please get in touch.

Niel

Niel

Somebody advised me to buy a Honda 3" diesel water pump for my small plot last month. Bad bad idea, horrible investment. We used to do manual irrigation with horse pipes and watering cans then we bought this diesel pump to make things easier but its all not worth it.

Surface irrigation sounds more like what we are doing now but it’s not accurate since we are literally flooding the plot and waiting for gravity to pull the water down to the rest of the field. It’s costing so much on diesel.

Zanelle

Zanelle

Very informative blog

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