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Starting Member


Thursday, July 19th 2018, 12:50am

Creating a 3 or 4 zone irrigation system

Hello, first post, so be easy on me lol. Still trying to figuring all this out
So we moved from a town to the county into a lovely 3ac property with mostly lawn grass and a few wild grassy areas. We are on a cistern for water. So full lawn irrigation is not reasonable unless we drill a well or dig a pond/dugout, both are options we'd like in the future. I'd love to green up the grass but not until water is "free" or plentiful.
Here's a little history to help paint the picture
For now we water what needs to be watered, ie Perineals in pots around deck, annuals around patio the raised garden and further out ground garden.
We water with mostly rain water, filling out 2 1500L (400gal) containers with our downspouts of mother natures tears. I then use a 7DA1A transfer pump (centrifugal style). The tank has a 2" outlet reduced to 1-1/4" entering the pump and then its swaged down to 3/4" garden hose connection. Volume is crazy but pressure appears I would guess around 30-40psi at the pump and significantly reduces when I stretch it out 250' to the 20'x30' garden. A standard brass pulsating sprinkler can still water the whole area though. Have not tested pressures at that end. Also had 150' line teed after the 250' 5/8" garden hose with those cheapo layflat sprinkle style hoses to water a hedge line and it does good for the first 75' or so and then the pressure (height) significantly reduces) so I water the first half about twice as much...
I have the pumps wired up to switches, ON/OFF that's it, I have a 4 port brass manifold, so 1 line is dedicated to re-route back into the tank so I don't "dead-end" the pump, 1 line to reach out to the gardens, a line for soaker, or hose to water the patio area. Its not ideal as I'd like it to turn on on-demand not having to open valves and hit the switch. But just researching pressure switches, pressure tanks and cycle stop valves... so my head is still spinning.
We love to travel but the summers are tough cause we have so much to keep alive by water in the dry hot summers we get. (Northern Alberta) Trying to get your neighbor to figure out your odd water situation and drag 100'+ of garden hoses around isn't ideal, not when all the other neighbors have 3-5ac of there own to do the same.
I'd like Automatic underground system, with the wifi's and rain sensors and just magically water all with less consumption. So I dug into a dusty old box which had a Rainbird "kit" from 6+ years ago (2 houses) so I figured I'd install it. It has 100' of 1/2" tubing and 100' of 1/4" tubing with a box of many fittings etc, also an Orbit 4 zone timer with 2 valves. So about good enough for the back deck/patio area. For my layout I'd need 3 zones / valves minimum. About 400' more distribution tubing, 150' 1/2" emitter line (or 300' if my optional hedge area is a go). bunch more elbows tee and other such fittings.
This is my layout (not to scale)

Zone 1 - 5ft from pump 100ft liner with 1/4" lines to plants/flowers (deck/patio area - pots, shurbs)
Zone 2 - 100ft from pump - 50ft liner in raised garden area, veggies herbs...
Zone 3 - 250ft from pump - 20' x 30' garden 7x 20ft emitter lines with 30' line of tubing
Zone 3b - teed off from above to provide 150' emitter line to hedge row
Zone 4 - just for the hedge line, but that's another 250ft line to the edge of garden, start of hedge, so might not be worth it.

My Questions are;
Can my pumps provide the adequate pressure / volume for this project?
What do I need for a Pressure Switch, tanks and CSV? Or do I need all this? Do I need more?
Can I build on this set-up, ie water a 4 row 150meter tree row? Or even full lawn irrigation sprinklers. Assuming I have the volume required.
Whats the best / appropriate feed lines, sizes? Can I just run the 1/2" distribution tubing? Or is 1" PVC better for the long runs? Does is reduce pressure?
Would I need a booster pump 1-200ft down line? Currently no power there, would a 12V inline pump suffice?

Open to any and all advise / suggestions

Thanks in advance, Dan


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,331

Location: Metro NYC


Thursday, July 19th 2018, 7:20am

Your one and only first step is to turn your water supply into numbers by measuring flow and pressure combined, and charting the results. Everything else has to wait.

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