When you start planning your landscape designs, irrigation should come to the forefront of thought. Unless you plan on self-watering all your plants, you will need some sort of system built in. The great thing about planning your irrigation layout is that you can be responsible with your water usage.
If you have paid any attention to the news, you are certainly aware of the decline in water availability due to drought and pollution. Therefore, learning some responsible irrigation techniques is highly advisable.
While you are welcome to read about water softener reviews and comparisons on watersoftenerguide.com, you might also want to consider rainwater. The water softeners will be great for your iron and sulfur content. But, knowing how to employ free water, rainwater, will be ever more valuable for your irrigation needs.
Using Rainwater for Irrigation
Before you can use rainwater for irrigation you are going to have to understand how to capture the rain water. They call this rainwater harvesting, and there are some specific steps you should consider to begin the process of responsible irrigation for your landscaping needs. Here are some of those steps:
- Determine what you will do with the rainwater- Knowing why you are collecting rainwater will help you design the proper harvesting apparatus. Since you will probably not need it for all your water uses (indoor and out) you should be able to guestimate how much you will need.
- Decide how much you can harvest- Theoretically .62 gallons can be captured by a square foot of collection surface per inch of rainfall. However, that would only be the case if none splashed out, evaporated, overshot, or leaked. Besides, once the container is full you will lose a lot to overflow. Most people assume that they’ll get 75-90% efficiency out of their storage units. Read this to learn about rainwater storage.
- Consider the collection surface– In the simplest terms possible, this is the length times the width of your roof if you have gutters all around. Otherwise it is only the area that is drained by gutters.
- Estimate the demand– You will have to determine how much rain you will get and plan for the months that will be dryer. Since the highest usage of water is for irrigation purposes, consider employing native plants and even some xeriscaping in your landscape designs.
Now that you kind of have an idea how to collect and calculate the amount of water you will retrieve from rainwater harvesting, it is time to really think about how you will irrigate your property. Simple rainwater harvesting systems will employ the use of the rainwater instantly. You see those types of systems via basins, berms, and French drains. In more complex designs you will find gates, diverters, perforated pipes, and drip irrigation. Learn more.
When you consider creating your irrigation, take the time to note the property’s natural irrigation tendencies. You can see where water accumulates and the areas in which more water is needed. Rainwater from the roof can be redirected to the drier spots by extended down spouts and pipes. In the lower areas create moats to hold the water and design spillways and channels to redirect the excess water.
When you are ready to get really complicated in your thought processes and irrigation designs, this will help you in your planning.