June 15, 2011

Designing and Installing a Drip Irrigation System - Part 4

Directly connecting your micro irrigation system to an existing sprinkler system valve is the most commonly used installation of a dripper irrigation system. Before you do anything, call your local water district to get the code requirements for irrigation systems. Also, call your local utility companies before you dig to mark where utilities are located in your yard.
Once you have done those two things, you can begin installation of your water drip system. From the sprinkler valve, attach a drip irrigation water filter or Y filter. Be sure to use a filter that has been designed specifically for dripping irrigation systems. Otherwise, you may damage your system. From the drip filter, you can attach PVC pipe.
For garden areas, run your PVC sprinkler pipe to the areas where you plan to water. Use a pipe tee or other pipe fitting to branch supply pipe through your garden. At the end of each supply PVC pipe, cap it off with an automatic drain valve. At each tee fitting, attach a sprinkler riser that can connect to a drip manifold. Remove the caps on each port of the manifold and connect your distribution tubing or soaker tubing. If you use supply line, you can punch holes where you want water emitters to disperse water or simply attach a dripper at the end of the distribution tube. If you use soaker tube, be sure the cap off the end of the line with an end plug to maintain water pressure. Use loop stakes to secure your drip tubing to the ground. You can adjust flow control at the manifold if you are using an adjustable flow style manifold.
For desert landscaping or oddly shaped areas, supply tubing works well because it can bend and loop around areas as needed. From the water sprinkler valve, connect a pressure regulator. Using a tubing adapter, attach distribution line to the water pressure regulator. Run the supply line around trees, shrubs, flowers and garden areas that need watering. Punch holes where you plan to install and use micro sprinklers. With barb couplers, install your micro sprayers. The last dripper you install near the end of your tubing should be pressure compensating water dripper. Remove the end caps from the distribution tubing and turn on the water to flush the system. Replace the end plugs.
Secure your dripper tube with loop stakes or tubing stakes and test the system to ensure all your drippers are working properly and water pressure is correct. Enjoy your new dripping irrigation system!


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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