Recommend a (DIY) irrigation system for me?

tinanJuly 8, 2012

I went to Home Depot today intending to pick up some type of drip/auto irrigation system for the garden borders around the back patio. Total area is 3 beds about 2' deep by 15' long, as pictured in this thread.

The plants are perennials mostly drought tolerant sages, lavender, catmint etc. I will be adding redwood mulch once OSH is back in stock.

I saw several options but none seemed to fit exactly what I need. There was a Rainbird system with a long (100') hose with pre-made holes to water plants about 18" apart. THen there were systems with supply/feeder hoses and little values at the end, but the feeder hoses were 4' long - much longer than I need.

I didn't think the first option would work since I can't position the water outlets where I'd like, or for example skip the gate area. The second option seemed like I'd end up with way too much hose.

I want a timer system, too - which I know I could buy separately.

What type of system would you recommend for a small, mostly linear garden like this?

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Is there any irrigation system in the area now--are you trying to change a spray system to drip, or is it completely non-supplied at this point?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:01PM
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From Home Despot - Skip the "kit"; I use the 1/2 inch black pipe. Add drippers using the punch tool. Use the bags of 25 flag style drippers in 1-2gal range. These drippers are less likely to clog, and the flag can be removed and cleaned if they do. Space drippers depending on water needs - most of mine are 12" to 24" apart. There are adapters to connect the line to 3/4" pipe thread OR 3/4" hose thread (slightly different) Connect your dripline to the output of your sprinkler valve. Ideally you would have an inline filter, and a pressure regulator for your drip system. If you place these at the "head" of the setup you will only need 1 for all the drip circuits. A shutoff valve is very handy also for when you need to work on the system.

I also use Netafim Techline which has the drippers inline. It uses metric connectors so it's a bit of a pain, and is only available online of from an irrigation supply house.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:22PM
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I've found dripworks to be far superior than local big box stores. They're a very good quality, easy to use and easy to "reuse". Their "Heart of the Garden" kit should be more than enough to start you out.

Your area is small enough that it should be easy to figure out how many sprayers you'd need. The plants you listed aren't going to like drip very much, or getting their main stems soaked. I'd suggest something like the mini jet sprayers, though they have an excellent customer support that should be able to suggest just what you need.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:24AM
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Best prices I've found for timers have been on Amazon.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:25AM
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dak56, I am a gardening beginner here so bear with me - if my plants won't like drip (which I thought the point of was to water the roots more directly) but won't like their main stem being soaked (oops which I am doing now with the shower sprayer) then how DO they like to get water?

Nursery info doesn't mention these details!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Drip irrigation delivers water vertically down, imitating a marsh/riparian type environment. Your plants would survive on drip, I have neighbors that have all their natives on drip, they're alive, but not what I would call thriving.

From my experience, drought tolerant plants do better with a watering system that imitates rain, like sprayers or sprinklers, the water spray extending into the plants dripline. Rain is not going to direct all of the water onto the stem or trunk, it's going water the whole area, it's not that you never get the trunk wet, sorry if I implied that.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:34PM
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OK so I should get a system with sprayers and locate them near the plants but not spray directly on the main stems? For example locate a sprayer between 2 plants?

See, I thought drip just meant that it is a self-watering hose type system.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:12PM
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I would go more with bubbler heads. With spray heads you will waste so much water and destroy that wooden fence.
Spray heads also need adjusting more IMO to keep at just 1 foot and really thats almost impossible.
Eventually the roots will be beyond the drip line of each plant and will grow and reach for the water if you were to put bubblers in between.
You might think about soaker hoses also. Most are black made of recycled tires and you won't notice them.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Tinan, yes, that would be great. Another thought too is, on the second link I posted,, near the bottom of the page you'll see different water spray patterns listed. With proper planning, I've been able to position the 300 degree radius and the narrow strip sprayer to work for me. (keep within a certain boundary)

Your system is small enough to use 1/2 inch tubing. 1/2 inch maxes out at 240 GPH. 3/4" maxes out at 480 GPH. Each emitter, tape, or anything that puts out water is rated at GPH. So for easy math, 24 sprayers that release 10 GPH will max out a 1/2" system. Just something I wish I had known before I bought my system.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 10:34AM
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This little DIY drip irrigation system works perfectly for me. Here is a link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Simple easy DIY Drip irrigation

    Bookmark   November 4, 2014 at 7:11AM
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