Home Irrigation – Part 2
Installing an underground irrigation system
If you’re considering installing sprinklers or seriously upgrading a current system, you might want to first think about landscaping.
⦁ Call 811 at least two days before any digging. This includes any digging – trees, post holes, irrigation lines, etc.
⦁ Less grass and larger beds make for lower water bills and easier care. Grass needs pop-up rotors while beds should have drip.
⦁ It’s easier if you have a landscape plan. For a list of plants, use “In Our Coastal Garden” which is a free handout from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (801 Airport Road in Rockport) or download at https://txmg.org/aransas/publications-other-resources/in-our-coastal-gardens-recommended-local-plants/. Design with pencil and paper or lay out your plan as you go with garden hose for the bed/walk outlines and flags for the plants.
We’re ready for irrigation. Starting from scratch, you’ve got two choices.
EASIEST: Hire an irrigation contractor. Get 2-3 bids and check references. Make sure 811 is called and all appropriate permits are pulled. Calling 811 ensures your yard is marked for underground hazards like gas lines. You should receive a plan of the system. Specify that a smart controller (more about in the 3rd part) and rain sensor are installed. For grass areas, specify that rotors/rotators, not sprays, are used.
If you’re on Rockport City water, consider having a 2nd meter for irrigation only installed. If you have only one meter, the city assumes all water goes down the sewer and you get a sewer charge for the irrigation water. An irrigation water meter is not subject to sewer charges and in about 5 years you will have saved enough to pay for the installation.
DO IT YOURSELF: The internet has revolutionized home projects. Videos and detailed instructions abound. Big Box stores also have partnered with irrigation companies and will supply you a complete plan and list of supplies. Here’s a link to one at Lowe’s that uses the very good Orbit Irrigation products – https://lowes.orbitsprinklers.com/.
Some basics before you begin:
⦁ Be comfortable with PVC cutting and cementing.
⦁ Hire a plumber to attach a user shutoff and pressure vacuum breaker to the water meter.
⦁ Get a good 5” trenching shovel.
⦁ For bulk supplies, a professional irrigation store such as Ewing Irrigation in Corpus Christi has the best prices and selection. Locals such as Ace, Lowe’s and Builders First Choice (formerly ProBuild) are great for availability and small items.
In part 3 next time, we’ll explore inexpensive ways to upgrade irrigation systems and how to install a $100 stand-alone drip system for watering your container plants while you’re off on vacation.
If you missed Richard’s previous post check it out here!
Richard Snyder is a former biology instructor, past President of Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners, and current President of the Aransas County Community Garden