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Save time spent holding the hose by delivering water directly to the plants in your yard with a DIY irrigation system

By installing an irrigation system in your garden, you can become more water wise and water efficient by directing it straight to the roots of multiple plants, either onto the garden bed surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, drippers, drip lines and sprinklers. You can even spike sprinklers into your collection of pot plants, too!

How to get started

The best place for you to start planning an irrigation system for your garden is with a pencil, scale ruler and plenty of blank paper. Measure and draw up your garden perimeter, including any obstacles on your site (such as dwellings and large trees). From this plan, you can work out how many metres of tube you’re going to need for your irrigation system. Also measure your water pressure.

How to measure water pressure

To do this, you need to measure the time in seconds it takes to fill up a 9L bucket from your tap on full pressure. You can do this on your smart phone! Using the size of the bucket, divide it by the seconds it took to fill up, then multiply by 60. For example, if it took 20 seconds to fill up the bucket, then the equation 9 ÷ 20 x 60 will give you the number of your maximum flow rate per minute. This figure will help you select what specific products you need to irrigate your garden effectively.

The basic process

With your site plan in hand and water flow rate, it’s off to Bunnings to gather your supplies. Here’s an overview of the installation process.

Lay poly pipe to attach sprayers

Measure and cut the poly pipe and pin it to the ground. Sprayers are good in hot houses and vegetable patches, but less useful in dense shrubbery. There are many different types of sprayers – some will have flexi-tube and a riser already attached. For other types, you will have to purchase these components separately and assemble them yourself.

Attach a sprinkler with flexi tube and adapter

To attach a sprinkler with a flexi tube and a 4ml adapter already attached, use a hole punch to punch a hole in the poly pipe and push the 4ml adapter into the pipe. Push the stake of the sprinkler into the ground where you would like the sprayer to spray.

Attach a sprinkler without a stake

To install a sprinkler that’s not on a stake, you will need to attach it to a metal riser to install it. Connect the adapter to the pipe in the same way as above, then place the metal riser in the correct position for the sprayer.

Attach a sprinkler without a stake

To install a sprinkler that’s not on a stake, you will need to attach it to a metal riser to install it. Connect the adapter to the pipe in the same way as above, then place the metal riser in the correct position for the sprayer.

Roll out poly pipe for drip system

Use a drip line system when installing individual dippers. First roll out poly pipe and measure and cut. It is easier to roll the pipe out on the lawn where easier to work with. Lay the pipe in the garden and pin it in place.

Punch holes

Use your hole puncher to individually punch a hole in the pipe, directly behind each plant. Make sure the hole is on the side facing toward the plant.

Cut flexi tube to size

Cut the flexi tube to size. Measure each piece to the right length by holding one end to the pipe and the other to the plant. Cut a piece of flexi tube for each hole that you’ve made in the pipe.

Attach adapters and drippers to the flexi tube

Attach double-end adapters by placing one end into the flex tube and other into the pipe. Then attach the dippers on the other end of the flexi tube. Make sure the holes in the pipe are coming out the side. Place the dripper next to the base of the plant.

Install a drip line

Drip lines are perfect along hedges. They are easy to install because they already have perforated holes along the piping. There is nothing extra to attach. Measure lengths and cut to size. Pin down the pipe of drip line in your garden.

Join drip lines

To attach drip lines to each other, you’ll need a 13ml elbow and 13ml locking clamps. Dip the ends of the drip line pipe in hot water to make them more flexible and pliable so you can get the fittings in easily. Run the remaining drip line around hedges. At the end of your drip line, install an end cap. Push it into the line and use a hammer to push it in securely.

Join the drip line to the dripper system

To attach a drip line system to the dripper system, you need a 19–13ml reducer and 19–13ml lock and clamp. Attach the 13ml pipe to the 13ml end and the 19ml pipe to the 19ml end. 

Attach the whole system to a garden tap

Connect the complete irrigation system to your garden tap. You will need a 19ml snap on connector. Finally, test the system and make sure everything is in good working order.

Psst… Automating your irrigation system is ideal if you have a big garden or specific plants that have their own watering needs! Plus, you can purchase pop-up systems for your lawn, too. Check in with the folk at Bunnings for more info.

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