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Garden irrigation system recommendations

Looking to install a complete irrigation systems for our small garden. We have a few challenges that require further thought and planning but as we will be away for 10 days at end of July thought it's best to start with phase 1. I would therefore like to choose a system that can be expanded in future. At the moment I am only asking recommendations for the first phase of my plan as I didn't want to over complicate the question and drive folk away from engaging but at the same time I really do need to provide a full picture of the eventual complete system. My questions are at the end.

Phase 1 - Connect a dual system to patio tap. One outlet would feed the lawn sprinkler covering an area of 13 x 6 which includes the lawn and the borders. 2nd outlet would be connected to a drip system which would water all the pots (20) which we shall line up on patio.

Phase 2 - Install 2 water butts on Patio using mains tap on patio as back up water supply by using floater. Our rear garden and specifically the back border where most of the plants are, is 1.5m higher than the patio and approx 8m away. The two water butts will be installed at either end of the Patio so 8 to 10m away from each other. In order to switch from mains water tap to water butts  assume I would need to install a pressure pump to the water butts to be able to pump up and activate the drip and/or microjet sprays.

Phase 3 - Use the 1st outlet which was previously used for lawn sprinkler to connect a drip or micro jet or a combination of two in order to irrigate all the plants in the borders which total 50, 30 of which could probably be irrigated by using just 8 to 10 micro jet sprays.

Phase 4 gets even more complicated as we have 2 more roof drain pipes installed lower down the roof as house is built on a slope, they are 2 & 4 m lower than patio level. I need to figure out of its viable to harvest the water and pump them up to garden level.


1 - Is it best to stick to a quality brand for all parts such as timer, pipes, drips, microjets or better off going mix and match.

2 - your recommended make & model. For the record quality is more important than price but at the same time not looking to break the bank for our small garden.

3 - Could I use both drip and microjet sprays in the same feed line? An example of which would be to feed thirsty hydrangeas with drips and say cluster of small perennials with a microjet sprays.

4 - I welcome any thoughts, modifications or suggestions on the overall system.

Many many thanks in advance.


  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,289

    I've no experience of what you're asking and only a handful of members have seen fit to, as you say, 'engage with' your request.  'Small garden' suggests urban living which, in turn, means several neighbours, one of whom might solve the July 10-day problem by 'popping round' in return for a thank you when you return.  By bringing your post back to the top of the list, I may have kindled some response but, as this is to be a permanent system?, most members could identify more with a 'hands on' approach to their plots whereby they regard watering as part of what they do? 

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 9,972
    I put in a watering system a long time ago with various micro-jets, sprinklers and sprayers on both sides of my garden.
    It all looks good on paper.
    In reality, the jets get blocked with minute bits of grit - I sometimes inadvertently put a spade through various pipes buried under the soil so would have to repair, sometimes various bits just fell out or leaked, plants would grow over a sprinkler and stop it working properly so it'd need to be moved - but couldn't unless you move the whole system etc etc - it was a pain in the proverbial!
    I pulled it all up in the end - but I do still find the odd micro-jet when digging.

    Now I just use a soaker hose that I ensure stays on top of the soil and it works really well.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,759
    Consider is the hardness of your water. If you have average/soft water, great.. If you have very hard water, like I do, the jets get rapidly furred up. I do have a soaker hose connected to a rainwater butt and that works well. You can attach soaker hoses to a timer and they are a much more efficient use of water than sprinklers. If you watered the thirsty plants really well before you went, the soaker should keep them topped up enough, hopefully. Wouldn’t work for pots though, but again, if they are placed in a shady place with drip trays, a neighbour or relative could keep an eye on them, if you have such a willing person. I am very anti-sprinkler because of the aforementioned water wastage, with a good water before you go, the lawn could be revived if necessary on your return.

    Just some thoughts, I know many swear by micro drip etc. systems, so if that’s what you want, go for it and I hope others can give you good recommendations.

    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Thank you @nick615 how considerate 🙏

    @Pete.8 You are a life saver, in my effort to plan the perfect system I forgot the golden rule, keep it simple so will heed your advice and go back to drawing board. I too enjoy watering the plants as it affords me the opportunity to spend a few minutes at each plant and develop a feel for how they are doing on a regular basis, not to mention the freshness and tranquility of being in the garden early morning. However my job takes me away a lot which puts more workload on my wife (fulltime working mum) so just looking to reduce her workload when I am away.

    @Nollie Yes, like you we have hard water as we live in chalky hampshire and am well aware of how that can clog everything up. I did consider a soaker hose but given that the water butt would sit around 1 - 1.5m lower than the bed I probably have to install a small pressure pump as well as a floater to top up with mains water in case we get no rain at end of July, but then the soaker pipe would more than likely get clogged up by the hard mains water.

    We do have nice neighbours but don't feel right to impose on them in such way as it feels like stealing a few hours of their time.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 7,739
    Answering the Phase1 question only.  I used a hozelock irrigation system for approximately 40 pots and baskets and haven't experienced any problems with the drippers blocking.  I use the Hozelock ACPlus controller for that.  I don't see any reason why a second one wouldn't work to control the sprinker on the hose.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,115
    I have a drip system for my baskets and containers. I set it up probably 15 or 20 years ago using components from B&Q (basic own-brand, but I haven't seen them in there recently). The drippers do get bunged up and need descaling from time to time (hard water here, but usually only a few each year and it's easy enough to disconnect them and stick them in a mug of vinegar or kettle descaler overnight. I started off with a  Hozelock timer but it died one year when there was an early hard frost before I'd taken it in, and I replaced it with a cheaper one. The timer is attached to a 2-way splitter on the tap, so that I have a second outlet to attach a regular hose or seep hose (each "side" has its own little tap so the main outside tap is permanently on).  It would be possible to have a second timer on the second outlet, or to have the timer above the splitter controlling both sides together.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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