Irrigation systems are tailored like each garden. But there are type plans for houses and their gardens show similarity. We don’t want to suggest that the written estimates below can be pulled on your garden because installation costs are affected by several factors. But our post can give a good overview to count on them if you consider on an irrigation system.
Get an average garden and draw its system
Let’s stand up an average terraced or semi-detached house on our imaginary outdoor table. In front there are shrubs and/or perennials in one or a few beds.
Same can be found in the back garden all around along the fence, and there is a multifunctional lawn area in the middle. I suppose this description is right for vast majority of gardens.
There is a power socket (either indoor or outdoor, depending on the area) near location of the prospective controller.
Let’s assume there are garden taps in both gardens or if only at the back there is a possibility to pull an inch plastic pipe forward nearly invisible (even if the route zigzag) to take water to the front garden and the pipe can be taken further to all beds without crossing drive- or pathway on the surface. If your garden is still on the design table this is the right time to design ducts for joining each island-like area under the hard pavements.
Reducing the installation costs by hiding the pipe in bottom of the fence by mulch or leave it hardly noticeable in bottom of the walls is a common practice so let’s calculate with that.
Watering the plants
It’s hard to say how many and what kind of sprinklers can be used to cover the lawn due to its shape and size but in our example four water-saving pop-ups are calculated what are enough for 50-60 sqm-s. They will be operated on two zones from main water if the water yield of the tap exceeds 30 l/min. (Measurement: hold a bucket under the open tap. If it fills up 3 buckets in a minute there is the right amount of water for operating this kind of sprinkler zone.)
Now two sprinkler and two bed zones (one in front and one at the back) are given. In the beds 3 m dripline can be calculated per each sqm so we can say 200m drip pipe covers these beds. If the plants are established the micro irrigation is much recommended because less damage will be caused during the installation process, and it’s price is nearly similar to drip irrigation.
Solenoids, lateral pipes, standard tap connection, manifolds and other fittings, valve box(es) make up the remaining installation costs.
Summarized installation costs
- Indoor controller 4 zones 140£
- 3/4″ tap connection by British Standard 50£
- Signal wiring 10£
- Standard valve box 30£
- 4 solenoids 100£
- Manifolds and fittings 100£
- Lateral pipes 100m 30£
- 200m dripline or micro emitters for 70m2 350£
- 4 water-saving pop-up sprinklers 120£
- Working hours 500£
All together: 1420£
This is the cost of our example basic irrigation system with 4 zones.
Get useful extras
Of course irrigation systems can be equipped by lots of comfort and even more useful functions.
Firstly begin with the rain sensor which blocks the system starting during and right after the rain. Even the simplest ones can be adjusted depending on the amount of rain how they will be operating.
The systems can be equipped with other sensors as well. It worths to highlight the water flow meter. Smart controller and flow meter keep the system under continuous control and let you know or your irrigation contractor straight away when abnormally high water consumption is showed up. What’s more they can even tell which part of the system is affected!
Soil moisture sensor can be mentioned too. This latter works on the same principle like rain sensor but valuable information are originated from the root zone directly.
In some cases mounting indoor controller is not possible but an outdoor one in waterproof box still can be mounted. Battery operated controller also can be used in lack of power socket.
But as much as we are, we can choose as almost as many controllers from the basic one via wifi controllers to consider the actual and forecasted weather to the most advanced ones to integrate with home managing systems like Alexa or Nest and what can even be an ornament of our flat.
Shrubblers, bubblers and other emitters
Water emitters can also be sophisticated based on your demands. For example individually adjustable emitters can be installed to each plant.
Most often demand of irrigating of hanging baskets and planters comes up. They take place on a separate zone to sort their frequent watering out with less water amount. Water gets to the planters via thin and easily hideable spaghetti pipe. The adjustable emitters step in picture on their end so both leanders and rhododendrons are watered from the same zone.
Other often demand is irrigation of veggie plots. They should also work on a separate zone because water demands of these plants are significantly differ from shrubs. In this case different plots or rows can be isolated one by one to avoid water loss on unused parts.
Certain plants with more water demand can be irrigated by dedicated emitters on an existing zone depending on the water pressure.
There is also a possibility to avoid the winding pipes on the surface of beds. Namely the bed irrigation can be sorted from pop-ups as well. Obviously not from the same zone like lawn sprinklers. High risers are recommended among tall perennials where the appropriate humidity might be important but short micros cannot provide that with high efficiency.
Accessories to every demand
Part of gardens naturally cannot be pulled in to this category due to their size or because one or more circumstances are not available mentioned at the beginning of this article or there are further extra demands for example rainwater harvesting.
In these cases installation of pump based systems are necessary but about this and its installation costs we come back later.