Go Straight to Your Question:
To design a functional irrigation system for you, we need to know how many litres of water per minute are available on your property. This helps us to know how many sprinklers we can put on a single line, as an example. If the water demand is higher than your flow rate, the system will not be able to deliver water to your lawn.
How to conduct a bucket test:
- With a bucket and a timer (ie timer on your mobile phone), go to the tap you want your irrigation system to connect to.
- Turn the tap on all the way, with the bucket underneath. Start the timer.
- When the bucket fills, stop the timer and turn the tap off.
- Record the time it takes on the Irrigation Designer form.
We will need the size of the bucket in litres and the time taken for it to reach its capacity. There are sections for this on the Irrigation Designer Form.
We need to know how water is going to be delivered through your irrigation system to your lawn so that we know which pieces you'll need. Generally this is either a tap attached to your house, a free standing tap, or a ball valve.
The way your sprinkler system operates can vary greatly, from fully manual to fully automated, from mechanical timers to bluetooth and to wifi, and so on. We have an example of the lowest cost of watering a lawn at each level of For an idea of the base cost of each level of automation, we have a one-zone example below. Keep in mind that this example represents the lowest cost you may pay for each level of automation, and larger systems will require more parts, therefore they will cost more. As each property is different, this does not represent the exact way your system will be designed. The approximate cost is for the automation ONLY, not the rest of the system. Skip to a summary below, or read through the details.
For a two-zone system example:
Manual Tap Timer
Digital Tap Timers
Subsurface drippers are an underground dripper system that delivers water to your lawn at a steady, controlled rate via small holes in lengths of pipe. Pop-up sprinklers lay in the ground until water is forced through them, causing them to 'pop-up' or rise above the surface of the lawn and throw streams of water over it. Both are highly effective and have been proven to work successfully for decades. Both can also be installed as a DIY project, without much, or even any, irrigation experience. One isn't necessarily better than the other, but you may find one type has qualities you prefer over the other. When you receive your irrigation plan, there will be a drawn diagram with the approximate placing of each piece for you to use as a guide in both cases.
Pop-ups are by far the most common method of watering your lawn. There are a few different types, including traditional spray sprinklers, stream rotors and gear drive sprinklers, however for general residential use, stream rotors are most commonly incorporated into our irrigation designs. Click here to read about the differences in sprinklers if you wish. The sprinklers are usually installed around the edges of your lawn in a way that covers all the spaces, and come in different heights to suit your situation.
- Easy to install (can be done by most people)
- Cheaper than subsurface drippers (about half the cost)
- Due to spraying water from above, sprinklers make it easier to water in fertilisers and chemicals
- Higher water consumption than subsurface drippers
- Water can be blown away by the wind, can evaporate and can more easily run off
- May have overspray into areas you don't want water (decks, paths, pools, driveways, etc)
Sub Surface Drippers
A network of pipes is installed around 100m underneath your lawn, where lengths of dripper pipe lie lengthways and connect to low density pipe on the edges. Sometimes you'll hear that underground dripper systems don't work and are unreliable. We've heard this too; however, this opinion comes from instances where the system hasn't been installed correctly, or the wrong type of pipe has been used. It is often the case where a less expensive above-ground drip pipe is used instead of the kind that is designed to be buried. Subsurface systems work exceptionally well when done properly.
- Highly water efficient. The same job of watering your lawn will require less water when it is delivered directly to the root zone
- More suitable in windy areas as there is no surface water to blow around
- Better for sloping areas because there is no runoff
- Very little evaporation
- Up to twice the cost upfront of pop-up sprinklers (however the cost may be justified by water savings)
- Some drippers experience clogging from root intrusion. However, the type of dripper pipe we use in our systems guarantees against root intrusion through its innovative design. See Rainbird Coppershield for details
The type of soil beneath your lawn will affect the rate at which water drains from it. Sandier soils will drain quickly, and clay soils will be slower. We will adjust the layout of your subsurface drippers according to what soil type you have for the most effective watering system.
How to tell the difference:
- Retrieve a soil sample from your lawn (or multiple from different places for a more accurate indication) and wet it
- Squeeze a handful of soil in your hand. If it;
- Forms a sausage shape that can be bent without it breaking easily, you have a clay soil
- Forms a sausage shape that breaks when bent, you have a loam soil
- Crumbles when you try to clump it together, you have sandy soil.
- It doesn't have to exactly fit into one of these three categories; just choose the closest option to what you observe.
- If you are still unsure or would like confirmation, our team can help you out. Bring a dry sample into our shop on Brighton Road about the size of a 2L ice cream container (about 20cm x 20cm, 10cm down into the ground), and we can help determine what kind of soil you have.
If you are nearby, visit as at our store (358 Brighton Road, Hove SA) and our team can help you out and walk you through your options. We're open 8:30-17:00 on Monday through to Saturday (public holidays may differ). Otherwise, call us on 8298 0555 during our business hours or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.