Planning an Irrigation System for Your Garden

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 17, 2022)


Many people don't really take the time to think about what type of irrigation system their garden needs. Instead, they usually get a hose and water it by hand. The question is, why do all that work yourself? By simply planning an irrigation system for your garden you can dramatically reduce the amount of work that you have to do. In fact, with the proper preparation the only time that you will need to worry about the water is if it has been raining. Ideally, by the time that you have finished working your way through these guidelines you will have a great irrigations system planned and worked out.

  • What type of garden? When you begin planning an irrigation system for your garden, you need to stop and think about what type of garden you will be having. The reason for this is rather simple in that different kinds of gardens have different kinds of watering requirements. For example, a flower garden isn't really going to require the same amount of water that a vegetable garden is going to require. When you do decide on the type of
  • How large of a garden? Next, think about how large of a garden you will be having. This directly impacts on the irrigation system you will install in a couple of ways. One of the most basic ways is that the larger the garden you have, the more materials you will need to use to install the irrigation system. Another way that it impacts is in how much water is used to get the system working. Simply put, the larger the garden, the more water you will need, and the more expensive your water bill will be.
  • Do you want in ground or above? Do you want to have your irrigation system above ground or below? Those that are below ground are more effective since they deliver the water directly to the roots of the plant, and therefore require only a fraction of the water that above ground systems require. However, in ground systems may not be the best for a vegetable garden since you will be tilling up the ground on a yearly basis. In such situations you may want to consider a compromise, use a drip hose system that lays on top of the ground, can be picked up easily, and doesn't use all that much water.
  • Draw out a plan. Depending on the system that you plan on using, you may want to consider drawing out a blue print or plan for the system. This can allow you to more effectively plan where sprinkler heads should go, whether they should overlap, and even how many sprinkler heads you should use. In addition, this will also allow you plan out how the drip or seep system should lay if that is the system you decide to go with.
  • Use the lowest flow water system available. Which ever system you decide to end up using, you should always try to use the lowest flow water system available, in addition to using a timer. This will allow you to limit the amount of water being used to only that which is absolutely necessary. Not only will this help keep your water bill down, but it will help keep your water bill down as well.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is 1 + 1?

2022-08-17 06:08:24


I'd add to the basic considerations:
Check the legal constraints - in the property deeds, and the area - permanent and at authorities whim.
Check the subsoil conditions for water retention areas and other drainage flows -
was there a stream and pond in the area before the garden area was created/levelled?
(irrigating an area that used to be a stream, or compacted pebble/gravel/rubble path will probably have the water draining away fast to the waterlogged area that was the pond.)

can/should you put supply pipes below paths ( or maybe tucked under the edge) so they don't get a spade through them
maintenance needs - as in stopcocks to isolate any leaky pipes while they get fixed.
also consider
standpipes, dipping butts with ballcock filling control (protect the ballcock from animal access, waterplants and blanketweed, system draining as well as possible freezing damage -- so a covered hole for that - maybe 24" deep, and maybe insulated.
maybe add a volume meter, and maybe limiter to the supply so, regardless of a timer failure the garden can be limited to - say 5 cu metres.
if the water is being supplied underground you may not notice a leak until the surface turns into a pond.

Also - if the applied water drains away rather than evaporating, will it form a sump against a garden/boundary wall, or a neighbours building, or yours.

Finally is the water that comes through the mains actually suitable for the plants - as in not containing too much lime or other (nitrates) type chemicals.
many Azaleas and other plants do not like lime in their water, and some other plants need their nitrogen type feed constrained if you want bloom, and maybe fruit rather than lots of green & structural growth.

Yes automated watering is a nice concept, but needs the installation and setup to be well structured.


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