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Ottawa Garden

Botany – Landscaping – Green Living

Planning and Installing Irrigation Systems

Irrigation Sprinkler

Designing and installing your irrigation system requires the following.

Once you have planned your landscape, but before you plant, it is time to design and put in an irrigation system. It should be based on the type and setting of your landscape plants. You can design and install the system yourself. This decision depends on your capability and the time you have to dedicate to the project.

This section is intended to give a general idea of irrigation approaches for general and desert gardens. Nuts and bolts information an how to install your own irrigation system can be obtained by visiting our recommended source for irrigation system components.

Irrigation components should be based on your landscape requirements and the capabilities of your home plumbing system. The following are three things you should do at first.

  1. Utilize a pressure gauge to establish the static water pressure (psi). Do this at the exterior faucet when no water is running inside or outside. Take numerous readings during the day and use the lowest reading to design your irrigation system.
  2. Sketch your landscape plan on graph paper. Incorporate all trees, shrubs, turf grass, and groundcover areas, as well as hardscapes. Mark the location of the service line to your home.
  3. Determine the size of the service line running from the street to your house and document the size of your water meter.
Sprinkler Head

Sprinkler Head

Here are some design ideas and installation tips for your landscaping irrigation system:

  1. Split landscaping areas to be irrigated into squares and rectangles when possible.
  2. Mount sprinklers in corners first. Then, install them around the perimeter and finally, in the center as needed for full coverage.
  3. Choose sprinkler heads according to existing water pressure. If your static water pressure is less than 40 psi, use plastic heads rather than brass.
  4. Irrigate shrubs, trees, and flowerbeds with drip systems when possible.
  5. Space sprinkler heads for head to head coverage.
  6. Choose sprinkler types (impulse, closed case rotors, spray heads, and bubblers) according to size and use of area.
  7. More than a few circuits are needed due to water pressure and volume limitations. Every circuit is controlled by one valve. Group control valves together in a convenient location for easy access.
  8. Think about installing an automatic timer. Choose a timer that is well suited with your irrigation scheduling needs. Find out more about water conservation