2020-05-14 - Pop-up sprinklers on the cheap
Living in Texas means a putting a lot of water on the garden if you want it to survive the summer. We don't go crazy and seem to respect the water restrictions more than most do, but we haven't xeriscaped either (maybe one day). Our house is a new-ish build now which didn't come with in-ground irrigation, and I'm too cheap to have that put it if we can manage without. We have about 1/3 of an acre to cover so it wouldn't be that cheap.
Moving an oscillating sprinkler around on the end of the hose isn't much fun, and it takes ages to cover a decent sized space with enough water to get to the roots of things properly. Impact sprinklers work better for the shapes we have to water, but it's still a pain moving them around. In summer we are usually (depending on conditions) limited to 2 or 1 day a week watering. You can keep stuff alive with once a week, but you need to water a long time so it reaches deep enough, and watering is not permitted after 10am, or before 6pm due to the heat of the day.
Luckily there's an alternative to getting up at 2am to move a sprinkler on the hose around... you can get a poor imitation of proper in-ground irrigation by using:
- Long-throw in-ground rotary sprinklers, burying them at the corners of the space.
- An adapter to give a push-on hose connector that pokes up just above the ground level.
- Multi-outlet hose timers, and a number of hoses.
There's a product called [Quick-Snap which is a sprinkler you bury, plus the parts to connect up a hose as a kit, ready to go.
You can also do what I've done, and spend about 20 minutes in the sprinkler aisle at the DIY store, working out which fittings allow getting the same outcome for half the price, given some patience and PTFE tape.
I now have a system with 6 sprinklers in the front yard, and 4 in the back. I have 3 hoses on a timer in the front, 2 on a timer in the back. On our allotted watering day I can set it up to run half the sprinklers in the early morning, to finish before 10am. Then, ready for the evening, I swap the hoses and the rest will run after 6pm. It takes about 2 hours to put down 3/4" water over the area covered by each sprinkler. They run one after another on each timer. Our water pressure can reach the full coverage for one in the front, and one in back at the same time.
Total cost has been a couple of hundred dollars... a lot cheaper than getting proper in-ground irrigation, but a lot more convenient and giving more even watering than moving around a normal hose-end sprinkler.
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