Mystical Landscapes is a Marin Design and Build company for all aspects of landscaping.
98% of all available plants will require at least some irrigation in the summer to look healthy. The benefits of doing this with an automatic irrigation system include:
Freedom to go away on vacation without worrying about your plants.
Lowering weekly maintenance.
Making your maintenance program more precise.
Watering things at the best time for you and the plants.
Helping your plants planted in the dry season grow new roots with daily watering for the first month after planting.
To make an irrigation system automatic you need a timer (this tells the valve when to turn on and off), valves (these electrically turn the water on and off in each pipe when the timer specifies), pipes or hoses to transfer the water from the main line to the general area needing water, and either drip emitters or spray heads to disperse the water to individual plants.
The most important thing I’ll begin with, since irrigation is such a complex subject, is where to find good advice for FREE. The Urban Farmer store in Mill Valley is more expensive than many stores in some categories to buy materials from because they build in the cost of knowledgeable and detailed advice for FREE that you rarely have to wait for.
More than any other store they have a great selection of all the MANY odds and ends required to be compatible with a variety of existing systems. You can even bring in pictures and/or a drawing of the area you want to irrigate with measurements and they will help you develop a CUSTOM plan for FREE and then help you pick out the materials you will need to put it into practice. This is a GODSEND if you are putting in a full project yourself or trying to repair or modify an existing system.
What I’ll focus on here are a few tips you may or may not find at the Urban Farmer that I have found useful when installing irrigation:
Drip irrigation is the best approach for non-lawn areas because it saves water. It also discourages weeds by watering right next to the plant you planted and nowhere else. The approach that I use is running a ½” line RIGHT UP TO EACH PLANT and then adding a drip emitter DIRECTLY into the half inch line. This takes no more time than running ¼” tubing but makes a big difference in maintenance. ¼” tubing is easily cut without noticing, can be damaged by deer, and can get plugged up with sediment.
Always place your drippers UP HILL of your plants so that the water runs downhill towards the plant.
Bury your irrigation valves in a VALVE BOX so you don’t have to look at them and to prolong their life by avoiding direct sunlight. (As these notes are intended in addition to help from the Urban Farmer or an irrigation specialist don’t worry if you don’t understand the terms at this point. You can read these notes again later when you know more.)
"Thank you, Dane, for making this huge landscape project so fun and successful."