ARE THERE WATER REGULATIONS THAT I NEED TO CONSIDER?
The most recent water regulations categorise the different types of irrigation system dependent on the risk of contamination of the mains water supply, within a domestic garden it is okay to operate mini sprinklers and dripline / porous / leaky pipe direct from a tap with the appropriate backflow device. With other types of underground irrigation such as pop up sprinklers a RPZ (Reduce Pressure Zone) valve or more commonly a storage tank and booster pump is required. Please go to the resources section for more information and guidelines.
I WANT TO IRRIGATE USING WATER FROM A WELL / LAKE / STREAM. WHAT DO I NEED FOR THIS?
You will need a pump to move the water and to provide water pressure for your system. You will also need a dirty water filter to make sure that debris (even from the cleanest lake or stream water) does not block your sprinklers. Additional components such as float switches and an electrical control switch will be required and LWS can advise and supply these as a complete kit. Assuming it is a private, domestic property you can draw up to 20,000 litres per day without an extraction license, although you should always check with the local office of the Environment Agency.
DO I NEED TO AUTOMATE MY SYSTEM?
Whatever type of irrigation system you have you will only truly benefit from it if you automate. This is as simple as a tap mounted battery powered unit for small systems or battery / mains powered multizone controllers on medium to large systems. Not only does it relieve you from the chore of watering when you are at home or away, it also ensures your garden gets the right amount of water at the right time. This ensures that you minimise water waste and that the results in the garden are stunning.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN IT RAINS?
Most timers have a button for shutting down for rain. In addition, connecting to a Rain Bird rain sensor allows automatic shutdown during rainy weather.
WHAT MAINTENANCE DO I NEED TO DO ON MY IRRIGATION SYSTEM?
Monthly: Adjust timer settings, check and adjust sprinkler sprays, check surface pipes for leaks and clean mainline filter (if installed).
Once per season: Clean filters in all sprinkler heads, manually operate each valve and check signal cable for any damage.
As needed you should: Unclog sprinkler heads and adjust installation levels of heads to ground level. The system will require draining before winter to prevent frost damage, and a spring service to get it up and running for the new season.
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT TRENCHING FOR IRRIGATION PIPES?
A trencher is a machine used to dig a trench in your lawn for irrigation pipes that is usually 6" wide and up to 18" deep. Of course, you only have to go about 8 to 12" deep to bury irrigation pipes (try to achieve at least 6" of cover after pipes are installed).
If possible always remove any existing turf with a turf cutter before trenching, or it is likely to take much longer for your lawn to recover. These are available from some hire shops, alternatively find yourself a good trenching spade and get to it!
HOW DEEP SHOULD I INSTALL MY SYSTEM?
Sprinkler pipe should be installed 8 to 12" below the final surface grade to protect pipes from the elements and possible damage (aeration etc). Pipes buried this deep will still need to be winterized to protect them from freezing conditions.