sprinklerIrrigation is usally essential after bedding in a new garden. It is the first years of any plants life that are cruciual to it taking hold. Later with their roots deeper they can survive longer periods without rain.

At it simplest Irrigation means hand watering. Sadly most of us do not have the time or inclination to do it.  

Anyone can go to the garden centre and pick up an irrigation  kit which might cost a couple of hundred pounds.  As long as you don’t expect these amateur systems to last you might find it to be a absorbing pastime:  installing  an irrigation system is not much different to setting up a miniature railway set, complete with stations, junctions and signal boxes.   

 Intelligently installed any system can perform the miracle of  watering your plants for many years  to come,  saving much labour.   Should it rain, a sensor can shut it all down – so nature still weighs in with what it has to offer.   Larger gardens will need  many computer-controlled circuits, running in a sequence between zones to make full use of the water pressure available.   Then there are ecological systems based on rain-harvesting, meaning you trap and keep rainwater which can then be pumped back in the garden later. This might well  rack up your green credentials but it is likely to put you right back in the hand-watering bracket  when the water runs out in the summer.    You would also need a whopping underground tank and a pumping system for it to all work and that can be quite a major construction project.  

In terms of reliability, a professional irrigation system using mains water pressure  is still the best and most economical way to preserve any investment in planting and make possible those gorgeous  summer bedding displays.

A peculiar downside with engaging any old irrigation company is that many of them have little concept of  what they are actually watering.  They are not botanists after all. So by rote they often water everything.  This is often detrimental and  of course expensive on your water bills.  Here at Greenspirit gardens all our installations are horticulturally intelligent and the calculation of levels and adventitious run-offs are all factored in. 

schematic for an irrigation box



inside the box – latched solenoids plus a controller that is wired into a moisture sensor. 


Brooke Lodge setup 2008

Here is a very simple double-solenoid water computer for a smaller garden . This sort of equipment caan be purchased at most garden centres. What you see at the tap is only a fraction of the (often) underground network of pipes sprinklers or drippers to service all the plants. 


Gerry Feeny undertakes irrigation for Green Spirit Gardens and he can be reached through the contact page.