Benefits of replacing your Sprinkler System with Drip System

Good Saturday to you all, I will be starting a weekly blog that will be published every Saturday that will offer landscape tips, education and ideas to you all whether you are a homeowner, contractor, designer or future client.

I will start by talking about the importance of being as sustainable as possible when it comes to landscape irrigation. Most landscapes to this day still are irrigated with a sprinkler system. There are many types of sprinklers: rotors, sprays, bubblers, most require the same amount of water. It is safe to say that any type of sprinkler irrigates an average of more that 1.5 gallons per minute. This may not seem much to you, but if you consider that often times in a landscape you have hundreds of sprinklers in different zones, it adds up quickly. The bad part about them is very little water often reaches the root zone of what you wish to irrigate, whether it is because of wind or other factors. Below I will show you the most common sprinklers for you to have an idea and be able to identify the sprinklers at your home/office/park or anywhere there is a landscape:

 

Spray Heads:  http://www.romanslawnpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/irrigation.jpg

Spray Heads: 

http://www.romanslawnpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/irrigation.jpg

Impact Sprinklers tomlinsonbomberger.com

Impact Sprinklers

tomlinsonbomberger.com

The pictures above are some of the most common irrigation sprinklers and methods of irrigation for residential and commercial landscapes. They get the job done, but at a high cost. 

The solution to reducing water use, water cost and simply being more efficient is to implement a drip irrigation system. You may be thinking to yourself, well how can I do that if I already have a sprinkler system? It is definitely possible. 

The first step and item that will be needed would be a pressure reducer and drip filter. As you can imagine, you will be using a lot less water and need a lot less water pressure to not blow up your drip line. A pressure reducer reduces the pressure going into your valves to 30 psi(depends what water pressure reducer is chosen). The pressure reducer must be installed on each valve. The second item to purchase is a filter that will also be installed. The filter prevents the pressure reducer from getting clogged up and will save you a ton of headaches in the future. 

The next step would be to purchase the drip line you will be implementing. I would highly recommend Rain Birds because of its durability however there are many more options. For example, rain birds drip line has emitters(little holes) every 12" that irrigates 0.9 gallons per hour. This is definitely recommended when you have a cottage style garden or lawn. However you can purchase a small material that allows you to close whichever emitter you which to not irrigate.

Drip Line: Keep in mind that the drip line can be sub surface or in other words under the dirt and not visible. landproaustin.com

Drip Line: Keep in mind that the drip line can be sub surface or in other words under the dirt and not visible.

landproaustin.com

After purchasing the drip line, the next step would be to remove all sprinklers which now will not be used. You can cap all off and leave only where you will be tapping in with your drip line. After this is done, it is a matter laying out drip line which often times is sub-surface, either underneath bark, gravel, grass or other materials.

Replacing your sprinkler system with a drip system will save thousands of gallons of water. Recently I completed a project which was using 54,965 gallons per month. By implementing a drip system as stated above we got the water usage down to about 9,000 gallons per month.

Keep in mind that once you do this you have to figure out your SWP: Soil Water Depletion,  MAD: Management Allowable Depletion, AWHC: Available Water Holding Capacity, Plant water needs and many more complicated equations. Which is why it is highly recommendable for you to hire a professional to complete this process, as the process stated above is the general overview of what it takes to transition your sprinkler system to a drip irrigation system. If needed, here at Salazar Landscaping, we can take care of this process for you.

I thank you all for taking the time to read and learn a bit about landscape irrigation. I look forward to continuing to reach all of you with a post every Saturday. I hope you all have a great week and weekend!

Best wishes,

-Jessie Salazar