Now to finish up our drip irrigation system installation…
We just got more 1/2″ supply line a few days ago, so I’m going to finally get back to work on it. I actually bought another 200 ft of hose just in case, because I’m not interested in running out again. Irrigationdirect.com sells the supply line in 100ft and 500ft increments at a low price, but the shipping cost is about $20 a pop (free shipping for orders over $119). It certainly pays to order extra material from the get go!
Starting this job where I last left off… digging another PVC conduit under the sidewalk.
Once the PVC is in and ready for the line, I pull a good amount of 1/2″ tubing through and leave both ends long. I’ll attach an elbow to one end and continue down the flower bed. The other end will be finished later.
I used a small garden style hand shovel to clear a path through the mulch and pinned the tubing down using landscaping fabric pins. I tried to keep the supply line about 6″-8″ away from each shrub.
Now that I’ve reached the end of the house, I’ll add an elbow and run a hose over to the spigot. But first, I’ll finish the other end of the hose under the sidewalk.
The hoses meet with a tee and then continue along near the grasses.
The connection at the water supply starts with a split. This allows the use of a garden hose while the drip system is connected.
Next comes the hardware. The control timer goes first, followed by a vacuum break, then the filter, then a pressure regulator and lastly, an adapter fitting. I’m also running a long section of hose down the side of the house since this will all be flower beds some point this month. That way, the drip system is already in place for it!
Now, I’m ready to test the system for leaks and add nozzles. However, I don’t want to be trying to program the timer for the test, so I’ll just remove the controller temporarily and once I’m happy with the pressure and the nozzle adjustments, I’ll put it back on.
To check for leaks, turn on the water and examine all the fittings. It’s unlikely the hose will leak at any other location unless it was punctured accidentally. Since there were no noticeable leaks, I’m going to check to see if I’m getting enough water out at my furthest point. I do this by removing the end cap from the hose.
Success! Now I’ll replace the cap and start adding my nozzles. The tiny drip nozzles are inserted into the 1/2″ tubing with a barbed 1/4″ end. The hose needs to be punctured so the nozzle can be inserted. Luckily, I have just the thing!
This hand tool punctures the tubing perfectly and is also available from drip irrigation suppliers.
After the hole was punched, the nozzle is pushed into place and I turned the water on to check the flow. Not too shabby! Now I have to install them all.
For plants that are away from the main water supply line, you can use 1/4″ extension lines. These small hoses attach to the main run via small barb fittings and can run directly over to the targeted plant. At the other end of the 1/4″ line, another nozzle gets attached. In this case, we used a nozzle that flows 1 gallon an hour on our walking stick.
Once ALL the nozzles were in place, it was time to give it a test. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize, but the nozzles have adjustable flow rates. Most were set to max, but after some adjustments, they worked perfectly. Here are the photos of the nozzles in action!
After all the nozzles were adjusted, the timer gets programmed and installed. It runs on 2 AA batteries. It comes with a weather tight rubber cover to keep it dry and functional. All done!
Read Part 1 of our drip irrigation installation.
Read Part 2 of our drip irrigation installation.
Back to work on our drip irrigation installation…
To see Part 1, click here.
So today I got an early start on the front flower beds with the goal of finishing up as much as I could until more drip irrigation hose arrives next week. I’ll leave a small bare batch un-mulched so I can bring the 1/2″ hose over to the bed from the other side of the walkway.
First job this morning was to get the small grasses planted and continue with the landscape fabric.
In the picture above you can clearly see the 1/2″ drip irrigation supply line draped about 8″ away from each plant. There is a tee behind the dwarf spruce. Later, I’ll run 1/4″ lines from the main 1/2″ run over to the small grasses. To get the curve right, I used hold down pins to keep the 1/2″ line from moving. On this half of the bed I’ll run my main drip hose under the landscape fabric, but the other bed, I’ll run it over the mulch and cover it after it’s all in.
After about 4-5 hours of work, I got the entire front mulched (except for a small, necessary bare patch).
All finished. Admittedly, our flower bed is low-key and kind of boring. We get it. However, we’re really not green thumbs by any stretch of the imagination, so we’re taking baby steps for now. I think we’ll be adding levels of complexity as time goes on, but for now, I’ll be thrilled if nothing else dies!!
Lots to do this week!!
We got 3 cubic yards of black mulch and four flower beds to go!
There are a couple of landscaping lessons we’ve learned since we moved into our new house. The first and arguably the most important is the necessity of landscaping fabric on flower beds. Unless you enjoy weeding, they are a huge time saver. The second is the necessity for regular and frequent watering of all our shrubs and decorative flowers. We’ve already had to remove several crimson pygmies because they’ve dried out and shed a ton of leaves. We were hoping Mother Nature would take care of our flower beds, but that hasn’t been the case. Luckily, our other shrubs, like our sky pencils and hollies have been relatively unharmed by the local dry spell.
To combat the natural heat waves and dry times, we’re installing a drip irrigation system. For under $200, we can water every plant automatically, everyday, twice a day. We purchased the components to the system from www.irrigationdirect.com. The drip irrigation system primarily consists of a battery powered control valve, a 1/2″ main water supply line and some small nozzles. The main water supply line just snakes around the plants you want to water and then connects to the control valve.
We’re coinciding our drip irrigation installation with our mulching and rehab of our dilapidated flower beds.
We’re starting this drip irrigation installation from the end of the line and working towards the house, but it can be done the other way around.
The manufacturer recommends to let the 100′ coil sit in the sun for a bit to soften the plastic before you work with it. Once it’s soft, we’re going to unwind it and run a length of it under the sidewalk to bring it over to our small detached flower bed. Since this irrigation line is soft and kinks and crushes easily, it’ll have to be run through a PVC pipe or other conduit. To learn how to get a PVC pipe under a sidewalk, check out our previous post here.
Now that the pipe is through, I add an elbow fitting and run it along the sidewalk over to the detached bed. I’ll then add a tee and another elbow and run a small length of 1/2″ line in two segments right past the pom-pom plant and the small hollies. At the end of every run, the 1/2″ line needs to be capped. I’ll add the actual nozzles at the very end of the project.
One of the nice advantages of drip irrigation is that it can be run over or under mulch, so it can be added to existing flower beds with relative ease. I’ve actually run out of 1/2″ line, so I’ll just finish up as much of the mulch as I can until more of it arrives.
Now for landscape fabric, mulch, downspout extenders and stone…
To see Part 2, click here.
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