Traditionally, drip irrigation was used commercially for fruit and vegetable production. However, it wasn’t long before the systems were retooled and scaled down so that we could reap the same landscape benefits in a residential application. In its simplest definition, drip irrigation is a network of ground-hugging tubes that time release low-pressure water to precise locations within the landscape and garden. For the sake of keeping your undivided attention, we will skip the technical details of installation, water movement and all the different components of the irrigation system itself. Instead, we will focus on the advantages of and the reasons to consider a drip irrigation system for your landscaping beds and gardens.
It is said that irrigation measures such as sprinkler systems are only about 70% efficient, meaning 30% of expelled water is lost, typically due to wind drifts and evaporation. Drip irrigation, however, is said to be upwards of 90-95% efficient, with 5-10% water loss only from evaporation off the wet soil surface. In turn, the plants themselves respond better to drip irrigation because the water is directly applied to their root mass, creating a favorable air/water balance and even soil moisture. Applying targeted, low-flow water more frequently results in more stable plantings, water conservation and water utility efficacy.
Have you ever uttered the words, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day”? Between work, school, soccer games, dance rehearsals, tutoring…etc. watering your landscape beds will drop in priority on a list that is daily a mile long. Rather than hoping it will rain to keep your perennials and grasses alive, ask your landscape designer to install drip irrigation; this will save your much-cherished time and energy because these systems are installed with a digital timer. When the watering cycle is complete, the timer will shut the water off; set it and forget it. This scheduled watering is also a huge advantage when you are away taking that much-needed vacation; no more hassling the neighbors to pop over to water your prized tomatoes!
While not often considered, direct watering benefits the health of your landscape foliage as well. By not watering your landscape from above like a sprinkler system rainstorm, standing water droplets on plant leaves are eliminated. The exclusion of standing water on your plants greatly reduces blight diseases and decreases the risk of molds and funguses attacking your healthy plants which will increase the success rates of newly installed plants and flowers! Direct ground watering also impedes surrounding weed growth, as new weeds won’t have an available daily water source to use for germination. If less weeding is an option, please sign me up!
Unlike other irrigation systems, drip irrigation is virtually invisible within your landscape. Properly installed irrigation lines will be placed around the plants in your landscape and covered with a light layer of mulch. This layer of mulch provides a few benefits: 1) it keeps the system in place, 2) it obviously covers the tubes so they are invisible within the landscape and 3) it acts as a barrier between the water dispersion and any surrounding winds which conserves water and increases its efficiency.
We all have the goal of our plantings to grow bigger and stronger over time, so it is helpful to know that drip irrigation systems can adapt to our changing needs by expanding or rearranging its layout to accommodate additional or larger plantings! A clean, tidy and healthy landscape or garden not only adds to the beauty of your home but increases your personal value and property value as well.
It is true that you do not need to be an expert to install a drip irrigation system to your own landscape, but it is highly suggested that you consult a professional for proper installation, suggested watering schedules and maintenance. Watering plants is simple in theory, but under or over watering can wreak havoc and cause your landscaping and gardens to not perform to their ability or ultimately fall victim to disease or death. Long-term enjoyment and appreciation of your landscape start with protecting your investment and ensuring proper care!
Serving the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, MasterPLAN Outdoor Living would love to chat about transforming your outdoor living dreams into your reality! Specializing in 3D landscape design and installation, MasterPLAN’s flexible project scale, project management, out of the box creativity and superior craftsmanship culminates into low maintenance and beautiful outdoor living spaces. To discuss the possibilities for your own property and lifestyle, reach out to MasterPLAN, we would love to hear from you!
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