Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Watering Lessons

A successful sustainable landscape involves the right irrigation as well as the right plants.

Parts of a Genesis Irrigation system:

Smart control timer

Weather proof wiring 

Manifold and control valves

weather sensor

drip tubing, emmiters or sprinklers

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rooftop Terrace. ( irrigation,Bamboo replacement and Furniture)

We installed a 2 zone drip irrigation system properly program for the water needs and our friends from replace the bamboo planting and added new furniture and power washed the entire roof top patio.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to Setup a Drip Irrigation System and Automatic Timer

Once you have installed your irrigation system, it is time to test the system, calibrate the emitters and drippers and setup irrigation timer. This article will discuss thesteps I followed to setup a basic hose faucet timer manufactured by Orbit. 
The product number on the case is Orbit 91600 and I think it also goes by the name HT2, picture of the timer is below.

I picked this style timer because it was inexpensive, easy to use and I was only watering a few plants on our deck. Last year I use this system to water two hanging baskets and this year I expanded it to water two hanging baskets, two large pots and a container with herbs. This article was originally posted on this blog ( but I liked it so much I decided to post it on our site too.

Once the drip irrigation system is connected you need to make sure there are no leaks and the water is flowing correctly to all of your emitters. The best way to do this is turn the faucet on and then set dial "B" (duration) on your irrigation timer to "On". This will start the system.
Once the water started you want to check the irrigation timer and connection to the hose to make sure it isn't leaking. If it is leaking you need to tighten the connections and make sure you have a gasket at the connectors. That is the little rubber things that usually fall out that provide a good seal.
Next go to connections an make sure the water isn't leaking. This was especially important for us because the irrigation tubing is running along our wooden deck and I didn't want the water leaking on the wood. It's also a waste of water and if it is a big leak you may not get enough water to your plants or you will need to run the system longer so your plants get sufficient water.
Now check the emitters or drippers to make sure they are working correctly. You want ensure they are providing enough water but the water isn't shooting outside of your container. I purchased a very cool looking lady bug emitter from Home Depot, but the range was to great for the pot it was in and there was no way to adjust the water flow. I took it back with no problems and got an emitter that I could adjust the flow. Actually, I prefer the adjustable ones now, I can fine the watering for different plant needs.
Picture of two 8" multi-stream stakes I used for my drip irrigation systemFor the herb container I got a package of two multi-stream stakes. The stakes are planted into the dirt and you can adjust the height by how deep you bury the stakes. You can also adjust the flow of the drip by turning the dial on the top. I have the two stakes connected in-line and used a tee at the first stake to connect the second one. I had to adjust the two stakes as a system. If I decreased the water in one it would increase the water in the other one, so I had to decrease the water in this one. Since the system would be on for all of the plants for the same length of time I reduced the water as much as possible for the herb container and maximized the water in the hanging baskets. The potted plants were in the middle.
Picture of the 8" multi-stream stakes in the herb containerHere is a picture of the multi-stream stakes installed in the herb container. They are the black emitters on the left and right side of the container. Left one beside the rosemary and the right one in the thyme.
The basil is in the middle, it needs less water so I thought it best to keep it as far away from the emitters as possible. If this was a round pot I would probably only use one emitter and crank up the water flow. Right now the water is basically dripping out.
Drip Irrigation System Flow Test:
Once your system is connected you need determine the duration you should water your plants. Each plant will have different watering needs. This will also be determined based on your climate and the style of container your plant is in.
  • Our hanging baskets are made of cedar and excess waters drains out of the bottom, so they should be water once a day.
  • Our flower pots are ceramic and they don't have drain holes on the bottom so I need to ensure they don't get water logged.
  • Our herbs are in a plastic style of container that hangs on the deck rail. It does have a draining hole on the bottom but herbs don't need as much water as other plants so you need to monitor these closely.
The best time is to run this test when the containers are dry and need to be watered. You can do this as part of the system test above or you can run the test on the following day. For our watering needs to I decided to run the system once a day. Based on your plants and local climate you might want to run it more often.
This test is pretty simple:
  1. Check the time or start a stop watch
  2. Turn your system on and monitor your plants
  3. When your plants have had enough water turn the water off and check the time, for my system it was about 10 minutes
Now you know how long you should run your irrigation timer and system for each day. If you want to run it multiple times in one day you might want to decrease the time. You may also want to increase or decrease the timer based on the time of the year and if it is hotter or wetter than usual.
Setting the Irrigation Timer:
The details for setting up your irrigation timer might be a different than the Orbit 91600 but they will probably be similar. I set the system to water for 10 minutes once a day.
  1. Turn the water on at your faucet 
  2. Set Dial B to "Off"
  3. Set the Interval Dial A to “Daily”
  4. Set the Duration on Dial B to "10 min" - this is based on the System Flow Test above
  5. Set Interval Dial A to "Once" - will water once a day
As you can see it is pretty simple to set it up. If you have a different timer you should read the manufacturer’s instructions before programming the automatic timer.
Note the following for the timer I used:
  • If the interval is set to “Once” the watering will start in 24 hours from the time you set up the timer. If you want your watering to start early in the morning you will need to set it up early in the morning. 
  • The watering will start after the first interval...this will most likely be the next day. I sat there for a few minutes wondering why it wasn't watering. I set it up a second time and it still didn’t work. Then I finally read the manual to figure out that it starts after the first cycle :-)
  • If you turn the water off you will need to reset the timer. This is where having a hose Y with individual shut off valves is a good idea. You can still use your tap for other things like filling up water balloons and keep your drip irrigation system up and running.

Planning a Drip Irrigation System For Your Garden and Plants

Drip irrigation is watering at a slow rate (or drip) right at the roots of plants. Root irrigation is a good water conservation choice because it provides a deeper level of watering than surface watering, which is prone to wastage due to evaporation and runoff.
When you install drip irrigation lines they do not need to be buried (although they can be if you prefer), so you can easily move them about and make adjustments to the watering pattern as needed.

Drip irrigation supplies and systems consist of:
  • Polyethylene hose or tubing (usually 1/2")—makes up the main lines of your system
  • Hose connectors or fittings—joins several lines of tubing
  • Anti-siphon control valve—prevents the irrigation water from flowing back into your home drinking water system
  • Pressure regulator—keeps the water pressure from the faucet at around 30 psi (usually the recommended pressure for drip irrigation systems)
  • Filter—keeps debris from clogging the emitters
  • Polyethylene microtubing—takes water from the main lines to the plants
  • Emitters—delivers water to the plants
  • Automatic timer—turn the drip action on and off
When you are planning a drip irrigation system, have a look at the type of plants or areas in the garden you need to water, and come up with a list of watering requirements. If you draw these areas on a plan of your house and garden, you'll find it much easier to plan where the drip irrigation lines should go, and which lines should deliver more water than others. Here are some general guidelines:
  • Large trees and shrubs—require infrequent deep watering
  • Vegetable gardens—require frequent watering
  • Sun/flower beds—dry out faster than shade beds and require frequent watering
  • Shade beds—require less frequent watering
  • Containers an hanging baskets—require frequent watering
  • Drip irrigation systems are available online as kits and as individual parts
  • Lawns—see sprinkler systems

Ready to get started?

If you are a novice when it comes to drip irrigation, look into a drip irrigation kit to get you started. When you purchase a kit, make sure the kit is expandable so that you can add new drip lines later as needed.
Alternatively, you can use the manufacturer's planning guides to "build your own" drip irrigation system from individual parts: tubing,  fittings, emitters, valves, and so on. These planning guides are product specific, but they walk you through the planning process and tell you how many of each part you'll need. If you are still unsure, call or visit a local garden center for advice.
For more information on keeping your plants healthy and happy, please read this article on how to make your garden really grow.

Learnabout irrigation

Facts on Drip vs Spray Irrigation

                                                                       Choosing the most effective, resource efficient irrigation system for your lawn and garden has never been more important.
Water conservation is a key issue in many communities so get the facts on drip versus spray irrigation before you decide which                   one is right for you.
Spray irrigation has traditionally been the more common method for irrigating domestic and municipal gardens and lawns. Conventional spray irrigation systems distribute water very quickly over a broad area, by means of fixed or moving sprinkler devices.
Drip irrigation systems are fast catching on as a far more efficient method of irrigating lawns and gardens. Water is delivered slowly and directly to the roots of the plants and lawn via a hose which is literally full of tiny holes. An intermediate alternative involves using mini-sprinklers and small, fine mist sprayers to increase the humidity around plants which require it.
There are a number of distinct advantages of drip irrigation vs spray irrigation systems, particularly in areas where water conservation is an important issue.
Because drip irrigation systems deliver moisture directly to the roots of plants, there is far less water lost to evaporation and wind drift than with
traditional spray irrigation systems, and there is no risk of accidentally watering roads, driveways and pathways.
Also, when water is delivered slowly and steadily to the plants, there is less tendency to over water, less wastage due to water runoff, and less risk of plant disease developing as a result of excess water pooling in the soil and collecting in garden mulch.
Spray irrigation systems which use mini-sprinklers and fine mist spray devices are very effective for creating a moist environment around a larger area, and are more water efficient than conventional spray irrigation systems with jet sprinklers.
For tips on setting up your own system, please read these articles:

  • Luxury Landscape Designer
    High-end Designs to Help You Bring Nature to Your Lifestyle. Call Us!
  • Irrigation System
    Lawn Irrigation Services for 26+ Years. Call Us Today in Shelton.

Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for roughly one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 9 billion gallons per day—a figure that can climb much higher as homeowners maintain lawns during the hot summer months. As part of Smart Irrigation Month, WaterSense and the Irrigation Association are offering these five tips to help homeowners improve outdoor irrigation efficiency:
Picture of a flag on a lawn
1. Water smarter, not harder
EPA estimates that more than 50 percent of landscape water is lost due to evaporation, wind, or overwatering. If you water during the heat of the day, for instance, as much as 30 percent of the water will be lost to evaporation alone. To maximize both water savings and your lawn's health, coordinate watering with the weather—watering on cool, windless mornings is best. While watering, make sure to saturate the turf's root zones, and then let the soil dry. Watering too frequently can result in shallow roots and make your lawn vulnerable to disease.
2. Ready, aim, sprinkle!
Sprinklers that water more pavement than grass are wasting water and money! Whether you have a standard hose-fed sprinkler or an automatic irrigation system, make sure that the water goes to where it's needed most. Different parts of your yard have different water needs, so you should take into account sun exposure and your plants' water needs when setting up your irrigation system.
3. Less is more
Invest in a micro-irrigation system to water plants, trees, and garden beds. Compared to conventional sprinklers, micro-irrigation systems, such as drip hoses, use 20 to 50 percent less water by minimizing evaporation, runoff, and overspray.
4. Automate your estate
Not sure when your lawn or garden needs to be watered? Consider installing soil moisture sensors or weather-based controllers to help streamline and simplify the watering process. These devices ensure that your landscape is perfectly watered by adjusting your irrigation schedule to changing soil moisture and weather conditions.
5. Hire a WaterSense irrigation partner
The smartest way to save the most water and money is to hire a WaterSense irrigation partner to audit, design, install, or maintain your irrigation system. These irrigation professionals have successfully completed a WaterSense labeled certification program that emphasizes water efficiency, so they bring targeted expertise to the job.


Attention Shoppers: WaterSense Labeled Products Hitting Shelves Soon

Picture of a toilet with the WaterSense label
More than 30 models of high-efficiency toilets (HETs), the first product category to earn the WaterSense label, are now labeled and available for purchase. Consumers will now have better toilet choices that protect our water supply without sacrificing performance. Your plumber, retailer, or localplumbing supply store can easily order any of the WaterSense labeled toilets, and several models will be available in retail stores later this summer.
Contrary to popular myths that less water leads to poor performance, these WaterSense labeled HETs get the job done. Improvements in design and technology since the first generation of “low-flow” toilets in the early 1990s mean that today's HETs bear little resemblance to their predecessors. These toilets are independently tested to meet performance standards as well as efficiency criteria, which means they use less water than standard 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) toilets—and when compared to older models, the savings really add up! Learn more about WaterSense labeled HETs.
As with all toilets, WaterSense labeled HETs will be available in a range of price points. And with water savings, as well as rebates of $25 to $175 offered by many local utilities for replacing older toilets, an HET can pay for itself in only a few years. In fact, the average family of four could save approximately $2,000 over the lifetime of a new HET by replacing just one older-model toilet.
Check out the most current list of HETs that have earned the WaterSense label for efficiency and performance, and then check with your plumber or a retail store near you.

WaterSense Labels Two Certification Programs for Irrigation Auditors

Picture of a golf ball next to a tee
Fore! With the recent additions of the Irrigation Association's (IA's) Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor and Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor programs, the number of WaterSense labeled professional certification programs is up to four. In May, these programs joined two other previously labeled IA programs—an irrigation contractor and an irrigation designer program—in earning the WaterSense label. WaterSense is excited to announce its new partnerships with landscape and golf irrigation auditors who are certified through these programs to provide quality service for residential, commercial, and golf irrigation system audits.
Professionals who passed exams for either of these auditor programs after April 1, 2007, are eligible to apply for WaterSense partnership. Auditors who passed exams prior to April 1, 2007, are eligible for partnership upon renewal in 2008. As these irrigation auditors become WaterSense partners, consumers will soon be able to search our online listing to find a local partner nearby.
An irrigation auditor can:
  • Analyze landscape or turf irrigation water use
  • Make maintenance recommendations
  • Perform water audits
  • Develop irrigation base schedules
A system audit is an important part of maintaining an irrigation system and should be performed periodically to check for malfunctions and to ensure efficient watering. When performing an audit, a WaterSense irrigation partner will run a series of procedures to collect and compile data that show how uniformly an irrigation system is distributing water. WaterSense irrigation partners can then provide customers with suggestions and recommendations for saving on water bills, as well as achieving greener, healthier golf courses or lawns.

Featured Product: High-Efficiency Bathroom Sink Faucets and Accessories

Water Current Droplets
If every bathroom sink faucet in the United States were retrofitted to meet draft WaterSense specifications, we could save more than 60 billion gallons—that's enough water to supply Honolulu for a year!
Image of Sink Faucet
What greets you every morning when you brush your teeth and will soon bear the WaterSense label? High-efficiency bathroom sink faucets and faucet accessories! EPA is pleased to announce that it has developed a draft specification for these products to receive the WaterSense label. Once the draft specification is finalized later this year, manufacturers will be able to start certifying their faucets and faucet accessories to bear the WaterSense label. You should be able to find WaterSense labeled faucets and faucet accessories, such as aerators and laminar flow devices, on retail shelves starting in 2008!
WaterSense Labeled Faucets and Accessories by the Numbers
  • 1.5: Maximum flow rate of WaterSense labeled faucets and accessories in gallons per minute (gpm).
  • 32: Percent decrease in flow rate from standard bathroom sink faucets.
  • 570: Gallons of water a household could save annually by retrofitting bathroom sink faucets to meet the draft WaterSense specification.
  • 11 or 13: Months it would take to recover the cost of a WaterSense labeled high-efficiency bathroom sink faucet through water and energy savings (11 months for electric water heating systems, 13 months for natural gas water heating systems).
In keeping with the WaterSense philosophy to label products that are at least 20 percent more efficient than conventional models, the proposed flow rate for these faucets and faucet accessories is set at 1.5 gpm—a 32 percent reduction from the standard bathroom sink faucet flow rate of 2.2 gpm. For homes that do not need new sink installations, aerators are sold for a few dollars apiece at local retailers and can easily be used to retrofit existing faucets to meet the draft WaterSense specification and save you water and money. Both bathroom sink faucets and faucet accessories with the WaterSense label will perform well, even in homes with low water pressure.