Watering a lush, ornamental landscape can be very time consuming and expensive. Large scale sprinkler systems are very helpful, but they are also very expensive. Thanks to companies like Rain Bird and Orbit, homeowners can reap the benefits of more costly systems by using a timer/controller on their municipal water supply.
Timers can control up to four zones, and can be set to custom intervals that optimize watering for a wide range of plantings. The timers can be mounted directly to the hose valve or to a nearby wall. The units contain a single inlet and up to four outlets. The inlet is 3/4 inch female hose thread (FHT) which will connect to your outside faucet, and the outlets are 3/4 inch male hose thread (MHT) which will take a standard garden hose.
Hoses and Tubing
Two sizes of tubing are available for these types of systems. The larger diameter tubing is used for long runs and is ideal for high volume with lower pressure. The smaller tubing is for branching off to each individual mister, bubbler, or dripper. The volume of water flowing through the smaller tube increases in pressure and allows the sprinkler head to work properly. The hoses and tubing are stiff but pliable. It takes a bit of work to connect fittings, but the connections are tight-fitting and leak-proof as a result.
The fittings for making the pipe/pipe connections are mostly “barb” type or hose thread. The smaller 1/4″ tubing has fittings that are slightly different, but work on the same principle as typical barb fittings. You simply cut the hose to length and shove the fitting into place. Very simple and very fast.
Sprinklers, Misters, & Drippers
There are a few basic types of micro sprinklers: sprayers, misters, drippers, and bubblers and they can be placed in beds, hanging baskets, or planters. There are many benefits to watering with this type of system. Large volume sprinklers soak everything, including your house and hardscape surfaces. Keeping the water source near the plants and low to the ground eliminates over-spray and excessive evaporation. More water settles into the soil and reaches the roots. Run-off is also reduced, which means valuable nutrients and organic material stay in your soil.
Many of the sprinklers currently on the market have adjustable pressure valves to help regulate the spray intensity. There are also retro-fit regulators available as well. Some come with a stake built into the unit, while others consist of a separate sprinkler head, stake, and a short run of tubing. Simply stab them into the ground, then couple them to the main pipe with a section of 1/4″ tubing.
When it comes to irrigation in NC, the difference in a great system and a good system is far less than having a system or none at all. During the hottest parts of Summer, water can quickly evaporate from a plant’s leaves and the uppermost layers of topsoil. For a fraction of the cost of a high-end system, these small systems can save a lot of money and time. We are happy to consult with you regarding watering needs or the design of a drip-irrigation system for your home.