I have always been one of those people who loves to create a warm, inviting atmosphere for others, which is why I started looking at landscaping design in the first place. It was incredible to me to see how much of a difference I was able to make by adding a few new plants, and after that first project, I wanted to help other people. I started volunteering to help friends and neighbors do their landscaping, and after a few months, I had developed quite a following. This blog is all about creating a warm, inviting yard through smart landscaping and an eye for detail.
With water quickly becoming one of our world's scarcest resources, it is now more important than ever to conserve our water. If you're a gardener, particularly in a warmer and drier climate, this can pose some obvious problems.
Fortunately, there's an easy and affordable solution: drip irrigation systems. Here's a quick guide to help you troubleshoot many of the most common problems faced when setting up a drip irrigation system for the first time.
Making a Grid
Drip irrigation, as it's name implies, works by delivering small "drips" of water to soil. This conserves water and more effectively delivers water to plant roots by gradually supplying water, which can be absorbed more efficiently at slower, steadier, rates. The key, however, to making your drip irrigation system work is properly spacing and organizing your drip grid.
Border-less Square: using a border-less square is the most efficient way to organize your drip grid. Essentially, your drip grid should allow water delivery on all sides. The square is border-less, as a row of plants should border your square. Because these "border" plants will receive water from one side, you may want to plant a crop that requires less water to thrive.
Close Quarters: to reduce water loss, you can use your drip hoses to space your plants. The closer you can plant your crops to the hose, the more readily water will be absorbed by plant roots. It is important, however, to consider the size of the crops you're planting. For instance, if you're planting a crop like broccoli, this plant requires space to grow. If you plant your crops too closely, they will be stunted.
Create Pathways: because you will need to tend to your garden, you will need to build pathways in your grid system. Similar to the outside of your grid square, you should border these pathways with a row of crops hearty enough to thrive with less water than the surrounding fruits or vegetables.
Making a Grade
Because drip irrigation allows for precise and gradual watering, you can design your system to drain in a way that efficiently captures and moves water. The mechanism for this is quite simple: gravity. If you build your drip system with a bit of grade, you will harness the power of gravity to move your water so that it drains from one crop to another.
You need not be precise when adding a slope to your garden grid. Essentially, the "bottom" of your grid simply need to be lower than the "top" of your grid. If your garden happens to have a natural slope, you'll simply need to set your garden up accordingly. However, if your garden lacks a natural slope, you can create a slope by piling your slope at the "top" of your garden grid. Once the soil is piled, you can distribute it toward the "bottom" of your grid. A rack and/or gardening hoe are particularly useful for these tasks.
Making a Drain
To facilitate efficient percolation, it is helpful to set your drip system's emitters on a semi-porous surface. This allows water to drain from the emitters, but separates them from the drip hoses, which can be fouled by growing vegetation.
Simple pea-gravel is a cost-effect and easy way to provide your drip system with a porous and stable base. Once you dig your hose lines, you can add a layer of pea gravel to the trenches. Because the gravel base should be level, you will need to allow it to set for a few days. You can speed up the process by lightly spraying the lines with water, which will help the pea gravel compress and level.
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