Field Notes: Drip System Install

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Last weekend I crossed off a huge task from my to-do list and it felt excellent. I have a tendency to put too many projects on my plate and do then lo-and-behold can’t finish all of them! This week I told Nate I was only going to focus on one and do it right. Well, this approached worked out. Imagine that.

The project that got completed? The drip system extension in the front yard. I mentioned last week, that I planned to put in drip lines throughout our flower beds this summer. Drips are great for our hot, dry climate and since we are on water restrictions, it’s a way to get the biggest bang out of our water use.

I decided to write up a few of my observations to share today. If you want to read about the step by step, take a look at my garden drip system project.

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1. Buy more parts than you need.

I mean seriously, is there ever a home project that doesn’t take multiple trips to the hardware store? Saturday I went to Home Depot and picked up all my supplies, but of course I forgot a few and had a do a return trip as well. This time I was smart and picked up extra pieces that I can also use on future projects. Turns out I needed them so glad I thought to pick them up.

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2. Throw the lines into the sun to loosen them up.

The first thing I did was throw all my lines (1/4″ & 1/2″ tubing) into the sun to loosen them up and make them more pliable. This is such an easy tip, but also so important when you are trying to lay it all out straight.

I also switched our my single Orbital timer for a bigger unit. The Orbit Automatic Yard Watering Kit is programable for four extensions but I am only using two right now. This is perfect for us since our veggie garden needs a little more water than the flower beds do. Plus we have options to expand it later into the lawn depending on what we decide to do with it.

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3. Cats love freshly turned earth more than life.

Once I got the timer in, I pulled back all my (overgrown) plants in the beds and dug a shallow ditch along the back of the flower bed a couple inches from the house. Most of our plants are rooted in the middle of the bed so I didn’t have to remove anything for my ditch.

As soon as I started digging, Loki joined me and took a liking to my work. Nothing like a little dirt to make our cats happy.

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4. Make sure to run the lines under pipes and roots.

Next, I laid out my lines in the ditch starting at the timer and working towards the front porch. A few times, I had to run the 1/2″ tubing under water pipes to the house so glad planned it out before connecting the tubing together.

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Check and test the line before you cut and attach.

I slowly cut the tubing into pieces and connected them as I went. I used four elbow fittings and one tee fitting to run the length of our bed. I caped one end with a hose end plug in case I want to extend it later. The other end I used a simple end closure fitting. Once it was all in I turned on the water to check for any leaks and to clear the line of any dirt. A few fittings needed to be adjusted, but other than that it was solid and ready for emitters.

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6. Excited this will make life simpler.

Finally, I added the actual sprinkler heads. Along the length, I used full circle micro bubblers every three feet of flower bed. I punched a hole in the 1/2″ tubing and inserted a length of 1/4″ line (that I cut myself) to the bubbler (with a barbed coupling on either end). I tried to cut the lengths long enough so they can be easily moved around depending on what we plant.

Then in each flower pot on our porch, I added bubblers with longer lines to reach from the tubing. I plan on doing a better job hiding the lines, but first wanted to make sure everything works this week before I do that.

Once all the bubblers were all in, I tested the full system out again and had only a few bubbler heads to tweak. With it all working, I buried the line and fixed all our plants back into position. They still need some pruning, but again I was only focused on one goal this weekend!

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With teacher duties occupying most of his time, I appreciated when Nate and the cats check in on me a few times during the project. Next week, I will start on the backyard and general yard clean up. We have Nate’s birthday in a few weeks and I want the yard to be in top shape. Woo!! Summer is almost here!!

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All products discussed were purchase with my own money or a wedding gift. Products linked above are affiliate links.

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