In Need Of DIY Irrigation System

By Bonnie Grant | July 19, 2021
Image by PaulMaguire
by Bonnie Grant
July 19, 2021

From early spring until fall, my mate and I hardly see each other. That’s because we have two different schedules for watering our extensive gardens. I’m in charge of the early morning watering, while he is in charge of late night watering. I’m up at dawn, while he is up well into the evening, simply trying to irrigate all this glorious land. I don’t want to complain, but we need a new DIY irrigation system

Blessed With Land

We have three plots of land. It was an attractive component of our new house purchase out in the sticks, but its appeal has waned a bit. All this land means lots of watering in our hot, arid growing season. If we want plump tomatoes, juicy fruit, and a green lawn, watering is a must. We have plenty of hoses but no in-ground irrigation system. So we have turned to several irrigation options, depending upon the area. 

I’m in charge of the front and sides of the home, as well as the mini dirt farm. I don’t like to waste water so I must get the watering done before the day heats up. That means getting up at dawn to set sprinklers and getting up every 20 minutes or so to move them. We have zero water pressure outside, so I can’t run more than 1 sprinkler at a time. The whole affair takes me around 3 hours to complete, and then I need to hand water any container plants. 

Meanwhile, my spouse is a night owl and contends with the back, the greenhouse, and the big dirt farm. His watering takes around 3 hours as well. We have two systems set up on the rear hose bib, but as mentioned, they can’t be run simultaneously or you only have a trickle of water. The best purchase for the back was a “tractor” sprinkler. If you align your hose just right, the sprinkler will follow the line through the water pressure. That means less manual moving, but it still leaves dry areas. Still, it is one of our more successful irrigation options. 

We have tried hose timers but can’t seem to hit all the regions, so you still have to get out and check for dry spots and manually water. Plus, you can only set one sprinkler due to the water pressure so that means you still have to water all the other areas. Therefore, the hose timers are out. We have also used soaker hoses, but they don’t deliver a deep enough watering for our bedding plants. 

Other Options

We did get a bid for irrigation, and you wouldn’t believe what it will cost. So I did a little research and found a Rain Bird product that will water over 5,000 square feet. You self-install the in-ground sprinklers and can do several zones at once. Again, the water pressure. Additionally, we have to figure out how to run hoses under the cement paths all around the house. Still thinking about this DIY irrigation system. 

As I write this, it is a nice, warm, sunny day. We got a heavy rain a couple days ago so things are alright. We also have snow expected in a couple of days, so I’m going to coil up all the hoses and turn off the outside water. I am not happy about the cold weather coming, but I am ecstatic to bid adieu to the daily chore of watering. I have a long winter to plan the next steps, and hopefully come up with a watering plan that lets me sleep in, and allows himself to come to bed.

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  • David Smith
    Comment added December 22, 2021Reply

    Try filling a large rain barrel or water barrel with water all day then take all the pressure you need off of it

  • Mike In Providence
    Comment added August 12, 2021Reply

    Told me NOTHING! about irrigating. Bad title.

  • CyBil
    Comment added August 12, 2021Reply

    Bonnie, Ranbird systems are overly expensive. Just lay plain black irrigation tubing into sectioned off "zones." Because water pressure is a problem, don't install emitters, but drill a small hole at the site of each plant. Then, put a multi-zone (mine has four zones) automatic timer between the spigot and the black irrigation hose. Set the timer, with how much time you want each zone watered. That's it, you're done! Enjoy never having to hand-water again!

  • Julia
    Comment added August 8, 2021Reply

    good information. I have looked at the Rainbird site but cant seem to find a system you can install yourself.
    does it have a name that might make it easier to find

  • Nelson
    Comment added August 4, 2021Reply

    Dear Bonnie, this sounds like a nightmare, Unless the yield from your land feeds you both all year! Sounds as though the irrigation will guide the growth. Where you can water easily, there you can grow. What about gardening upward using water retaining 'towers' (wood palleting??) where you can water? Maybe grow undercover dependent on what stages the plants are at. Good Luck! This is just ideas, not based on experience, though!

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