Monday, May 18, 2009

Drip Irrigation

I think I've shown you our hanging baskets here and here. We saw them in Europe and England and brought the idea home. The first year I tried to water them with a wand, but in our hot climate, they needed constant attention and soon shriveled up. Because I didn't water them enough. It was sad.

But this year they are looking pretty good. And it was over 100 degrees on Sunday. They are looking better because the Lord of the Manor has extended the drip irrigation to them. Yippee! I'll show you how he did it.

Warning: This will require a trip to Home Depot or OSH or one of those big box home and garden centers. So arm yourself with a list and a Starbucks and lots of patience.

Most of us in arid climates have automatic sprinklers in our yards. So I'm just going to show you how to tap into an existing circuit and make it into drip irrigation. (If you don't have existing sprinklers, you can put a "Y" on a faucet and just turn it on when you need to. They have fittings to do that on the same aisle as all the drip irrigation stuff.)

You'll need one of those couplings shown above. It's the white thing with the green end. It glues onto the 1/2" PVC sprinkler pipe using that special PVC glue. After it dries you push the 1/2" black tubing into the green end. Once you get to the black drip irrigation tubing you won't need glue anymore; just push the pieces together.

Just a word here about the colors. If you use 1/2" tubing, use couplers with the green ends because they are made to fit the 1/2" tubing. Make sure your tubing size matches your coupler size, because it's darn near impossible to fit 5/8" tubing into 1/2" couplers. Not quite impossible, but very difficult. I've done it. With a lot of cussing. Trust me on this; get all 1/2" from the get-go.

Now using the elbows made for the 1/2" black tubing, you need to get the water up to the baskets or window boxes. We ran ours up some pipe, then up the brackets. LOM secured it with zip-ties. (You'll have to look in the electrical department for those.) One could paint the black tubing to match the house but we haven't done that. Yet. If ever.

Then in our case we ran it all the way down the side of the house hiding it just behind the fascia board. That's the trim piece that your gutters are connected to. You can also see the screw eyes holding the baskets in the photo below.

Below, in the upper right, you can see the clamps for holding the tubing to the wood. They just nail in. You can also see the connector for the 1/4" tubing. It simply pokes into the 1/2" tubing. There is a little tool to poke the pilot hole. No glue required.

So basically you run the 1/2" tubing along the area where you have the baskets, poke a 1/4" connector above each basket, add a piece of 1/4" tubing long enough to reach the basket and then...
You connect some sort of tiny sprinkler. Over the years we have tried various emitters, drippers, and tiny sprinklers. We've settled on these. They are called adjustable full circle sprinklers, and could probably shoot out about 10', but by turning them way down and hanging them upside down, they emit a nice little 10" circle of water. We support them with these wire stakes that are made to hold down the 1/2" tubing when you run it through a flower bed.

So there you have it; Drip Irrigation 101 from Amongst The Oaks. Now go out there and do it! Your flower basket and window boxes will thank you. For more information and to see everything they make, check out the RainDrip site.


Mary said...

Thank you for sharing such great information with us.

Blondie's Journal said...


I know this isn't rocket science but you are looking at the wrong person to do something like this. I'm not good with instructions, manuals, tutorials or anything of the kind. But I SURE COULD use this!!

Thanks so much for spending the time to describe how to do this drip irrigation. My husband did one on the ground for me in my English garden but it was much more simplified because it did not have to go up on to the house. And by the way, I wasn't of any help to him at all! ;-D


Neabear said...

Thanks for the tutorial. Should come in handy.