Ten easy to follow steps on how to design and build your own backyard irrigation system based on growing needs and increasing budgets.
1) Inventory: Need to know what existing watering system or systems you currently have for your whole front and back yard. Some folk have never had water available in their back yard. Or they have a sprinkler system in their front yard but not in their back yard. Or they have well water in the back yard and city water in the front yard.
2) Water pressure: Before you begin you need to know what is your water pressure is in your back yard. Hardware stores have pressure gauge you can attached right to your back yard spicket and take different reading at different times. If you know how you can figure your gallons per hour using a simple gallon bucket.
3) Time: How much time do you have for watering? If you are retired and have a lot of time on your hands then watering can be in your daily routine. If you do not have a lot of time Like most of us and do not want to stand for hours holding a watering hose carefully watching and monitoring the amount of water your plants, trees, or garden get. Then I will tell you some short cuts which will save you time, money and energy
4) Education: Need to know what type of plants, garden, trees you are planning on growing or have presently in your black yard. Each plant, garden and tree has different irrigation or watering needs. All can be watered at different time this will help figure out your watering zones. The like plants will be grouped together as far as watering zones.
Most hardware store with a garden center, nurseries or hydroponic stores have knowledge
and offer great support if you have specific questions about plants, gardens and trees, also
many garden books available.
5) Budget: Need to know your budget for this project, if you do not have a lot of money like most of us you can plan it or design it so you can improve the system as more funds become available.
6) Layout: First make a hand sketch of your back yard make sure you put the water output or spicket. If you know how to scale the sketch that helps but if not just use a tape measure to get the overall Dimensions of your back yard make sure your put your high points or slopes in your yard by using small arrows showing directions of slopes. Call out existing or proposed new water your zones for your different plants or garden or trees in your back yard.
7) Measuring: Measure the distance of each group of watering zones to your watering source spiket allowing extra length for non-direct path for hoses or irrigation tubing. Put distant on your map of your back yard and on a separate piece of paper list each plant, garden or tree in each zone.
8) Estimating: Go to a local hardware store with a garden center, or irrigation supply store and get some prices only of what you need to get started. With your sketch backyard map with distances and List of plants in each zone then you have or planning. The main drip Irrigation Â½Â” diameter tubing is usually bundle in 25Â’, 50Â’ and 100Â’ lengths. Â¼Â” drip Irrigation will be needed they also come in same bundles lengths. Get prices on drip heads, include details like (gals per minute),type for example tree & shrubs take a different watering head than other plants and release more water than other heads and some are adjustable. Connections are important in planning make sure you have price of Needed connections, for connecting Â¼Â” to the main Â½Â” tubing, and Â½Â” to your garden hose and donÂ’t forget connection plummer's tape. Get prices on sprinkler /irrigation control panels you want at least two to four extra watering zones then what you have on your map that way you can expand it in the future if you need to without buying an new unit. Try to stay with the same brand for all your above needs. They work together better that way. For example Toro sells everything above and they have keep up with the technology yes you can program it and change watering seasons via the computer. They even have water gutter sensors which sense rain and turn off your system for 3 days and resume normal programming automatically.
9) Design: Set up your system based on your budget and time. You can set up for manual hook up first and later automatic by making a manifold with white plastic pipe and connection and connect your wall mounted sprinkler/irrigation control near your spicket.
Then you only need to program each zone needs. You can later change duration and time of watering later as the season change. Such as winter vs. spring & summer.
10) Be a good caretaker: Up date your map as your season changes. you can upgrade it to include your whole property. You can also keep a diary keep records on each plant or tree observation, so when you have a problem with a plant you can quickly get answers to correct problems before your plants or trees get too sick and go organic.