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Efficient, automated, and hassle-free: Unlock the full potential of your garden with a garden irrigation system.

Thanks to the many advantages they provide, garden irrigation systems are gaining popularity among homeowners and businesses worldwide. Automating and enabling direct, efficient watering, these systems can save time and promote healthier plants. It's no wonder more and more people are discovering the benefits of garden irrigation.

If you are just starting your journey in planning and installing a garden irrigation system for your garden, this is the place to start. Everything starts with effective planning, and this guide will help walk you through every step of the process to ensure you get it right first time. If you require any further assistance, you can get in touch with one our friendly staff to ask any further questions you might have.

In this guide, you will find:

  1. An explanation of Automatic Watering Systems
  2. Utilising Water Butts and Rainwater Harvesters
  3. All the different types of Irrigation Systems available
  4. Calculating the flow and pressure from a water source
  5. A step-by-step guide to mapping out your garden
  6. Choosing the right irrigation system for your landscape

Automatic Irrigation Systems for a Beautiful Garden

Plants do not receive all the water they need from nature. An automatic watering system allows you to:

  • Achieve precise and efficient plant watering.
  • Reduce water consumption compared to using a hosepipe (up to 80% saving).
  • Maintain the health of your landscape.
  • Schedule daily watering using a water timer, keeping your spare time for leisure and relaxation.
  • Utilise rainwater with water butts and rainwater harvesters.
  • Add value to your home when it comes to selling up.

What is Automatic Irrigation?

If you're new to garden irrigation systems, you may be wondering what automatic irrigation is and how it works. Essentially, automatic irrigation is a method of delivering water throughout your garden effortlessly, using a network of pipes and outlets that are hidden underground or along garden beds.

Different types of irrigation systems are available, each designed for watering specific areas of the garden. For instance, pop-up sprinkler systems are ideal for watering large lawn areas, while micro jets, sprays, and mini sprinkler systems are perfect for irrigating large plant areas. If you have plants in borders or containers, you may find drip irrigation systems to be more precise and effective.

On this page, we'll provide you with more information about each type of garden irrigation system, so you can choose the right one for your garden's unique needs. By incorporating an automatic irrigation system, you'll be able to save time and effort while keeping your garden looking its best.

Wise Watering Solutions

When it comes to keeping your garden lush and healthy, wise watering solutions are key. One of the most efficient and eco-friendly ways to water your garden is by using a garden irrigation system.

Compared to traditional hosepipes, automatic irrigation systems can save up to 80% of water usage. A drip irrigation system, in particular, is well-known for its exceptional efficiency. With its precise delivery of water, it ensures that your plants receive just the right amount of water they need without any wastage.

In fact, drip irrigation systems are so water-efficient that many water authorities exempted them from the recent hosepipe bans. This recognition is a testament to the effectiveness of drip irrigation systems in conserving water while keeping your plants healthy and vibrant.

By investing in a garden irrigation system, you'll be making a wise choice for your garden and the environment. Not only will you save water and reduce your water bills, but you'll also be contributing to a sustainable future.

Utilising Rainwater Harvesters and Water Butts

Utilising rainwater harvesters and water butts is a smart and eco-friendly way to reduce your water bills while promoting sustainability in your garden. By incorporating an automatic irrigation system, you can take this one step further and use rainwater to keep your plants healthy.

Not only does this practice help reduce the amount of water you use, but it also enables you to recycle water that would have otherwise gone down the drain. By doing so, you'll be able to do your part for the environment and conserve this precious resource.

However, to make the most of your rainwater harvester or water butt, you'll need to connect it to an irrigation pump that matches the requirements of the irrigation system you choose to install. At our help and advice centre, you can find a detailed guide on how to choose the right irrigation pump for your needs.

By utilising rainwater harvesters and water butts, and connecting them to an automatic irrigation system with the right irrigation pump, you'll be able to save both water and money, while keeping your garden healthy and green.

Types of Automatic Garden Irrigation Systems

Now let's explore the different types of irrigation systems that are available to help you determine which one is best for your specific needs.

Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip irrigation systems are highly efficient methods of watering gardens, designed to provide precise water delivery directly to the roots of plants. This is achieved by utilising a network of pipes that are distributed throughout the garden, with drip emitters placed strategically near the base of each plant. Due to their slow release of water, drip emitters allow for greater control over the amount of water delivered, effectively reducing water waste. These systems are perfect for borders, flower beds, vegetable patches, greenhouses, and even hanging baskets and potted plants, making them a versatile option for gardens and landscapes. 

Micro Spray Systems

Micro Spray Systems

These are widely used throughout gardens and are a very popular choice because they provide a good soaking spray over a large area making them cost effective compared to drip irrigation systems. When a system like this is turned on, you'll see a fantastic spray of water disperse through the air soaking your plants just like rain. Because the Micro Jets and Sprays are usually pre-assembled on a stake with micro tube, installation time is very quick, and because all the components are available separately, customising this type of system is very easy as well.

Drip Line Irrigation Systems

Drip Line Irrigation Systems

Drip line irrigation systems are a popular and effective way to water large gardens and landscapes, and long runs of crops and hedgerows. Drip line tubing is installed with pre-installed drippers spaced at regular intervals along the length of the tubing, delivering water directly to the roots of plants. Drip line systems use less water than traditional sprinkler and spray systems, making them an eco-friendly option for gardeners who want to conserve water. Drip line systems are also easy to install and can be customised to fit the unique needs of any garden or landscape.

Soaker Hose Systems

Soaker Hose Systems

Soaker hose is a porous pipe also known as leaky pipe, and when used, it releases water slowly along its entire length providing a deep soaking action. Its great to use in flower borders, vegetable patches, or any other small areas. Available in a 13mm diameter for long lengths (50m max lengths is recommended) and a micro 4mm diameter which is ideal for containers. Installation of soaker hose is very quick due its simplicity. All that’s required is to roll the soaker hose out in the area to be watered, stake it in place, and connect to a water source.

Mini Sprinkler Systems

Mini Sprinkler Systems

With a coverage of up to 5 metres radius, mini sprinkler systems are great for covering large areas of plantation quickly and easily. These are similar to the micro jets and sprays, but instead of giving a fine spray, they throw water in large droplets which minimises evaporation during distribution. Installation is quick and easy, with pre-assembled mini sprinklers on stakes available, as well individual components for fully customising mini sprinkler systems. Typically these are installed in vegetable patches, large flower beds, nurseries and greenhouses.

Pop-Up Sprinkler Systems

Pop-Up Sprinkler Systems

Pop up sprinkler systems are the ultimate in automatic irrigation and are fast becoming a popular choice amongst homeowners in the UK. The pipework and sprinklers are all buried underground meaning they are completely hidden from view. The pop-up sprinklers rise from the ground whenever the system is activated, and then retract back down when the system is turned off. Pop up sprinkler systems are ideal for many different types of gardens, and are used primarily for watering grass areas, but can also be used for watering flower beds and borders too.

Preparing the Required Information for Design

Now that we are familiar with all the different types of irrigation system, we can move on to creating a design for our garden irrigation system.

Checking flow rate for your irrigation system

Checking flow rate for your irrigation system

When designing an irrigation system, it is crucial to measure the flow rate of your water source to ensure that your system operates effectively. Failing to do so can result in designing a system that releases more water than the source can provide, leading to undesirable performance.

Calculating the flow rate is straightforward, requiring only a bucket, stopwatch, and calculator. Measure the time it takes to fill a bucket and then apply the simple formula below to determine the flow rate of your water source in liters per hour (LPH).

(Volume of container in litres ÷ Time to fill container in seconds) x 3'600 = Litres per hour

Measuring Water Pressure

Measuring Water Pressure

(force exerted by water on a given surface)

Expressed in BAR, it is measured using a pressure gauge connected to your water source. If you do not have a pressure gauge, you can purchase one here, or by visiting a local retailer that carries plumbing supplies. For an irrigation system to function correctly, you must have at least 1.5 BAR* of pressure.

(*some irrigation products require higher water pressure, so always check the product's technical information before purchasing)

Draw a Map of your Garden

Draw a Map of your Garden

For this, you will need a couple sheets of graph paper, a tape measure, a pencil, a ruler, an eraser, and a felt tip pen. Taking the time to follow these steps will save you a lot of headaches down the road, so don't rush this.

To start off, we need to draw a rough map of your garden. We will redraw this map more accurately in a later step using graph paper.

  • Start with locating the house and the property line on the drawing.
  • Draw the paths, terraces, sheds, greenhouses and any other features.
  • Indicate the location of lawns, borders, flower beds, trees and shrubs.
  • Mark the location of the water source.
Measure your garden accurately

Measure your garden accurately

  • Measure the property boundaries, paths, lawns, flower beds, borders and everything else in your drawing. The more measurements you take, the easier planning is.
  • Count the number and locations of pots, containers, hanging baskets etc.
  • Note any features and obstacles for pipework; garden gates, walls, ponds etc.

Part of this process is to understand how much pipework is required, the fittings needed to navigate that pipework, and how many/what type of emitters are required. Being accurate with your measurements is crucial.

Create a scale drawing

Create a scale drawing

After taking all the measurements of your garden, carefully transfer your rough drawing to graph paper. You can download some graph paper here and print it at home (ensure the scale is set to original size). Depending on the size of your garden, use one of the following scales:

  • 1 cm square= 0.50 metres (1 :50)
  • 1cm square= 1 metre (1:100)
  • 1 cm square= 2 metres (1 :200)

Indicate those areas which are to be watered and which are not to be watered.

For larger gardens, you will have to divide the system into several, smaller areas. This could be splitting the front and back gardens, or splitting the right hand side and left hand sides.

Choosing the right irrigation system

To choose the right irrigation system for your garden, you need to consider the type of plants, soil, climate and your water supply. As we already know, there are several options available, including drip irrigation systems, micro spray systems, mini sprinkler systems and pop up sprinkler systems. Below are suggestions for which system to choose for different scenarios.

  • For watering plants in containers and hanging baskets, we suggest using a drip irrigation system because we can place individual emitters in each container for precise water delivery. If we used sprays or sprinklers, we would spread water all over the place, not just the containers, and it would be a waste of water.
  • For watering a vegetable garden with rows of crops, drip line or soaker hose would be the most efficient choice, as it can provide precise water delivery to each plant and minimise water waste. We could also choose micro sprays or mini sprinklers.
  • For watering flower beds, a drip irrigation system or an adjustable micro spray system would be a good choice, as they can deliver water directly to the base of each plant and minimise water waste.
  • For watering fruit trees or shrubs, a mini sprinkler system or micro spray system would be a good choice, as they can provide water coverage to a larger area, covering more of the root zone. Rings of drip line around the trees/shrubs can also be used.
  • For watering long runs of planting, such as a hedgerows, we would suggest using drip line as it is very easy to install and provides precise watering. Drip line can be used for lengths up to 140 metres.
  • For watering a greenhouse, a drip irrigation system or micro spray system would be ideal, as they can provide precise water delivery and ensure that plants receive the right amount of water without wasting any.
  • For watering a commercial nursery or greenhouse, a combination of drip irrigation systems and mini sprinkler systems could be used, with the drip irrigation systems providing water to individual plants and the mini sprinkler systems providing water to larger areas.

  • For watering a hanging garden wall or vertical garden, a drip irrigation system would be the most efficient choice, as it can deliver water directly to the roots of each plant without wasting water on the surrounding areas.
  • For watering a slope or hillside, a drip irrigation system or drip line would be the most efficient choice, as it can deliver water directly to the roots of each plant and minimise water runoff.
  • For watering a large lawn with irregular shapes or curves, a pop-up sprinkler system with adjustable heads would be the most effective choice, as it can provide even water coverage to the entire lawn. If you want to conserve as much water as possible, seek help from an expert when designing a pop-up sprinkler system, as a poorly designed system can be very inefficient and waste large amounts of water.
  • For watering a park or public garden with large expanses of lawn and planting, a combination of pop-up sprinkler systems and drip irrigation systems could be used, with the pop-up sprinklers providing water to the lawn and the drip irrigation systems providing water to the planting areas.
  • For watering a school garden, a drip irrigation system or micro spray system would be a good choice, as it can provide precise water delivery to individual plants and teach students about water conservation.
  • To water a green roof, a drip irrigation system or micro spray system would be the most efficient choice. These systems can deliver water directly to the roots of each plant and minimize water waste. Additionally, they are relatively easy to install and can be customized to fit the unique layout of a green roof.

What's Next?

Congratulations, by reading this in-depth guide, you now have a better understanding of automatic watering systems, the different types of irrigation systems available, how to calculate flow and pressure, and how to map out your garden. Armed with this knowledge, you should feel confident in your ability to choose the right irrigation system for your landscape.

Remember, designing an irrigation system requires careful planning, and there are a range of factors that need to be considered to ensure it is effective and efficient. This guide provides a great starting point, but there are additional resources and guides that you can use to get more in-depth guidance.

Drip Irrigation System Guide

Learn more about planning and installing drip irrigation systems with this easy to follow step by step guide.

Visit the Drip Irrigation Guide

Micro Jet and Spray System Guide

A complete guide to planning and installing Micro Sprays for your garden. Follow the step by step guide to help build your shopping list of components.

Go to Micro Spray System Guide

Pop Up Sprinkler System Guide

This comprehensive guide to planning and installing pop-up sprinkler systems will take you from zero to hero in no time.

View the Pop Up Sprinkler System Guide

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