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From sprinklers to drip systems: all your irrigation questions are answered here

Welcome to our irrigation FAQ page, where you'll find answers to many commonly asked questions related to our range of irrigation products and more. Browse our list of questions to find the answers you need.

If you can't find what you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact one of our irrigation specialists via phone or email. We'll do our best to assist you.

We're committed to updating this page regularly with new tips and solutions to common irrigation problems, so be sure to check back often.

What's better; fixed flow drippers or adjustable drippers?

Adjustable drippers are great for covering larger areas and offer greater control over the release of water. The flexibility makes these great for gardens with lots of different plants with differing water requirements. Fixed flow drippers are quicker to install and are great for gardens with lots of similar plants. The fixed flow drippers we sell are pressure compensating, meaning that you don't have to worry about installing at varying heights. My personal choice [Sean] is to use fixed flow drippers for plant pots and containers (selecting different flow rates for different requirements), and adjustable drippers for flower beds and borders.

Whats better; Soaker Hose or Drip Line?

Soaker hose is widely known and has been popular amongst many gardeners for many years. It is easy to install and can be very effective. The problem I find with it though is that its unregulated in the way it releases water. Typically we find all the water being released at the beginning of a length of soaker hose. This means it's only effective in lengths of up to 20-30 metres. Drip Line is an updated version of Soaker Hose and offers much more control because of the technology built into it. Instead of being a porous pipe along it's entire length, Drip Line is an LDPE (plastic) pipe with drip emitters pre-installed at small intervals (typically 30cm). The drip emitters are pressure compensating and regulate the release of water precisely. To keep this short, I [Sean] prefer to use Drip Line as it is much more reliable and can be used in lengths of 100 metres easily, and more with careful planning.

[Update] We've spoken about this question more in-depth in this blog post.

Whats better; Drip Irrigation or Micro Jets and Sprays?

I will try to answer this as objectively as possible, but I do have a big bias towards drip irrigation as it is the most environmentally friendly option. Micro Jets and Sprays are fantastic for quickly installing an irrigation system for large areas. It reduces the time of installation compared to installing a drip system by more than half, and they are much cheaper. That being said, they are very wasteful with water (still much better than using a garden hose, however) because they aren't as precise with the delivery of water. Drip irrigation systems release water much more slowly and allow for precision, thus eliminating waste. If you're looking for a quick irrigation system to install for a large garden, pick micro jets and sprays. If you have a bit more time and want to save more money in the long run, go for a drip irrigation system.

Should I use a water timer?

You don't need to use a timer to operate a watering system, but for the additional low cost, it makes perfect sense. Using a water timer turns your garden watering system into an automatic watering system. This frees up your time for leisure and allows you to go away on holiday without having to rely on friends and family to water your garden. It's worth the investment.

How should I set my timer?

In my experience, best results are achieved with two watering cycles per day. Once early in the morning, and once before sunset. But how long you have your watering cycles run for will be determined by lots of different factors; the requirements plants you wish to water, the soil type, time of year etc. There's no hard and fast rule, and a bit of experimentation will be required to ensure the best results. As a start, set your water timer for these lengths of time for the different types of systems and reduce/increase the time as you see necessary:

  • Drip Irrigation Systems - 2 x 20 Minutes
  • Micro Jet and Spray Systems - 2 x 10 Minutes
  • Pop Up Sprinkler Systems - 2 x 10 Minutes

How do I calculate water flow from my garden tap?

Calculating water flow is quite straight forward. All you need is a bucket and a stopwatch. It doesn't matter what size bucket you use, but you need to know its volume. In the example below, we'll use a 5-litre bucket. Time how long it takes to fill the bucket from you garden tap in seconds. When you know how long it takes to fill 5 litres (we'll use 15 seconds in our example), you can use the calculations below to determine the flow rate:

  • Litres per Minute = (Bucket Size (5 Litres) ÷ Time in Seconds (15)) x 60
  • Litres per Hour = use calculation above and multiply by another 60

How many micro-jets/drippers can I run from one supply?

Using the calculation above for water flow, we can then determine how many emitters we can run from a single supply simply by dividing the available flow by the flow rate of the chosen emitter. You need to check the flow rate for the micro-jet/dripper you plan to use. Here's an example calculation based on using micro-jets (55lph) and the available flow from the supply (1200lph).

  • Tap Flow Rate (1200lph) ÷ Emitter Flow Rate (55lph) = 21 Emitters

How do I determine the water pressure from my garden tap?

To determine water pressure, you need to use a water pressure gauge. These can be found in hardware stores for about £25. You can also buy one from our website. You want to find an option that can connect directly to your water source (garden tap in most cases). Simply fit onto the tap, and then turn the tap on to get a reading.

Do I need to disassemble my garden watering system in the winter?

You can leave most of your garden watering system in place throughout the winter. You need to remove your water timer from the garden tap, empty it of water and store in a dry place. It is also worthwhile trying to empty your watering system of as much water as possible, too. Removing stop ends is a good way to allow for water to escape. Essentially, you want to mitigate the damage caused by water expanding when it freezes. For systems buried underground, installing some form of drainage valve allows for excess water to be released.

Do I need to use a pressure reducer for my irrigation system?

It's not imperative that you use a pressure reducer, but it can prevent problems caused by high water pressure and sudden spikes in water pressure when using your irrigation system. Problems typically include parts popping off and inconsistent performance of emitters. During the 2012 hosepipe ban in the UK, drip irrigation systems were permitted as long as they had a pressure reducer fitted. This could make it a worthwhile investment for any future hosepipe bans. A pressure reducer can always be retrofitted, or removed as required.