Save water, money and time with the correct irrigation system components
By: Whirlwind Clean & Green Team ~
It is estimated that 80% of landscape problems result from improper irrigation. There are many different elements that go into an irrigation system and many decisions to make sure your irrigation system works the best and uses the least amount of water as possible while limiting wasted water due to overspray or run-off.
The basics of a standard irrigation system are sensors, master valve, backflow prevention device, valves, pipes, and emitters. Sensors can be installed to monitor the amount of moisture or rainfall, making sure over and under watering don't occur. The master valve will only allow water supply during normal controller scheduled times to prevent the majority of wasted water in the event of a break. A valve allows you to keep control on certain areas and to set specific schedules/durations for your different landscape beds, lawns on your site. Lateral lines are pipes that carry water into each specific zone of the system, which allows you to isolate a particular zone in case of any issues instead of having to shut off the entire system.
Depending on your landscape needs, there are different emitters to choose from. The main emitters to choose from are fixed spray heads, rotary heads, and drip emitters. Fixed spray heads spray a fan-shaped pattern of water. Rotary heads, or multi-stream sprinklers, deliver water more uniformly and at a lower precipitation rate, reducing runoff. Drip emitters make sure plants get the correct amount of water with the right drip emitter, which applies water closer to the root zone and prevents evaporation, erosion, overspray and unwanted runoff to your storm system.
Spray irrigation, which uses either fixed spray heads or rotary heads. is most common, as it can cover the most amount of area and can easily be adjusted at the head, but they are not very precise. The lack of precision can easily cause under watering in some places, resulting in plants dying, and can cause over watering in other areas which could result in the growth of fungi.
Drip irrigation, which uses drip emitters, delivers water directly to the roots of the plant, which helps the system as a whole lose very little water to evaporation and runoff. This saves you money on water, however, the system can be more expensive and is more difficult to install.
Monitoring systems can be on site, off site, or satellite based and usually come with monitoring contracts to send and receive the weather data for the site or the readings from the on-site sensors. You can also install rain sensors which stop the irrigation from running if rainfall has come to your area, preventing overwatering and saving money on water costs. There are many different manufacturers and monitoring firms so tailoring these decisions to your landscape design, weather patterns, and climate is imperative.
Watering conditions of your landscape depend on the climate, time of year, orientation to buildings, and hardscape as well as plant types in each zone. Grass for example needs the most water during July and August in order to stay green, otherwise the turf will turn brown and stop growing in order to preserve itself. The watering conditions of your landscape need to be taken into account when determining how to set up your irrigation system.
Another option is to change your landscape plants to dry-scape plantings, xeriscape, or hardscape designs which require much less or no water most of the year. In our next segment we will dig deeper into options and trends to help you plan for your site.
With so many irrigation options available Whirlwind can help you find the best irrigation and monitoring system for your property's landscape to save you water, money, and time. Call or email us today to set up an appointment for a free estimate.