Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY Irrigation for Dummy Beginner's

I know the term  "irrigation system" is much so that you feel that it is not an option for you...but I am hear to tell you...if I can do it, you can do it.   There are different types of irrigation systems.  Most people think of sprinkler systems where the men come in huge trucks full of equipment, spitting out jargon that we don't understand...measuring, digging, and at the end you get a big bill for a million dollars.  Well, that may very well be the case...but (even though I am a beginner) I do have experience on irrigation and there are other options.

Last year, I spent hours and hours Daily watering my plants.  It was my very first attempt at gardening.  The property is 15 acres and I wanted to see flowers everywhere....problem was it's VERY HOT here and if I wanted them to live, let alone bloom, they needed water and lots of it.....I will confess I do not know if I overwatered, but I don't think so.   By the fall, I was burnt out from all the watering and this year I was NOT going to do it again.  I kinda stumbled upon irrigating....and man, it was worth it...I want to point a few concepts about..

  1. It's not as expensive as you think
  2. It's not as complicated as you think
  3. It is front end work but when you consider all the hours and hours you save on watering plants and the fact that you have beautiful flowers vs dead's worth it.

Above is the online design program I was using.  I made the mistake yesterday of not logging in and I had to redo this....I haven't finished playing with it to know whether or not it is going to give me what I want but I was sooooo PROUD that I managed to lay it out.  This is a free design program on Orbit.  The link is below.

You can download a pdf to read about it, and if you click Get Started it takes you to the online program....SIGN IN...don't make the mistake I made yesterday.  

I am opting to use Orbit over Mister Landscaper because it's wayyyy cheaper.  I bought this box of sprinkler heads and accessories online for $15.  If these were Mister Landscaper..this would have cost me a whole lot more.   I am not downing Mister Landscaper and will use them again, but the kits are the way to do with them.  I think the starter kit cost $ they aren't bad, just expensive if you buy by the piece.

I , also, bought this timer, but this (I think) is for valves....glad I have a husband who knows what that means..but there are timers that hook directly to hoses.

To save time on watering I grouped plants together in one area, vs scattered all over the property....smarter move.  I am also planting ornamental trees and shrubs (ie azaleas, oleander, camellias) that do not require the time and attention that roses demand.  This is the huge rose garden that I am irrigating.  There are approximately 70 roses bushes just don't see them yet.

I borrowed this from my husband.  It's a measurer. (probably not the real name but that is what I call it or a wheel measurer thingy)  I  measured the area and put it into the program...I was so excited that the numbers "tied"  If you work on the program, you will know what I mean.  Meaning when I put in a rectangle at a certain feet, by the time I got to the last side it was already the right distance.
 Now I want to show you what I did last year...that I stumbled upon.  The very first plants I planted were Encore Azaleas.  Meaning the VERY FIRST plants I planted...ever.

Encore Azaleas

I went later on to plant sticks in the ground....I was very disappointed when I ordered Endless Summer Hydrangeas and  I got sticks......I learned different as the year progressed.
I was persusing in Lowes and stumbled upon this

Now if you have a small bed...I, highly recommend this a lot...I am not downing the system whatsoever, but on a larger scale I think Orbit may be more economical.  But this is what I opted to use on the front bed. I,also, made it a bed with border and mulch.  Not only were the result unbelievable, I didn't have to worry about it at all.  Everything was automatic.

Wow...I was so surprised at the results..I planted more plants in them  like periwinkle and mexican heather but it looked like this until November.  This is with the Mister Landscaper system.  I had sprinkler heads on the azaleas  heathers, etc and drip for the hydrangeas ...all on the same hose.

Those sticks sure did surprise me.

Now, the nitty gritty....First, get a water timer....they are awesome!!!

This is the mister landscaper hose.  You essentially run a hose through the bed and poke holes in it for drip hoses and sprinkler heads.

You see a hose one valve and the irrigation hose on the other.

Some things had drip lines...

Some things had sprinkler really isn't hard....I swear... but my point is that they got water automatically no matter how busy I get....
So that gives you the rough of it....I'll let you know how the design program goes..but my point is....irrigating isn't as bad as it sounds and welllllll worth the effort.  


HolleyGarden said...

I've used Mister Landscaper. It was easy. But I've never heard of the Orbit system. Will definitely be checking them out. I always love "cheaper"!

Lea said...

That irrigation system really paid off with beautiful flowers!

Thanks for your visit and comment on my blog. you asked about Daffodil bloom times. Some daffodils bloom late winter/early spring and others wait a while and bloom mid-spring. It depends on what variety you have. If you still have the package the bulbs came in, check to see if expected bloom time is printed on the label. I have found the best source of answers to my gardening questions is the County Extension Service. It's free - give them a call.
Lea's Menagerie

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Hi read early spring I believe.

@Holley...I'll let you know how it pans out....I am just proud to make it look kinda right...great thing about being a beginner is the surprises of having or seeing flowers for the first time

NellJean said...

If it's rainy and soggy at your place as it is here, it's a good time to be inside making plans and drawing plats.

Newly planted bulbss usually bloom later than their expected bloom times.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Good Idea...Nell and does rain pretty well ..but not enough sometimes...