Proper reticulation system design.
Designing your own effective reticulation system is no mean feat and for that reason, many shops that sell reticulation products also offer a service for designing complete systems! That said, it pays to be armed with a bit of prior knowledge whether you’re going to attack it yourself, or give it to the man to sort for you.
Consider the technical side of things first..
The four must-have parts of putting together a good system design are:
- The Design Brief – How you use your garden now, and how you want to use it in the future. Will it be low or high maintenance? Kids? Pets? Bin storage area? Write it all down.
- The Base Plan – You need to know where things are. Along with the property boundaries, on graph paper draw out your existing structures & any features you want to keep. This is your starting point & helps you to visualise where you’re going.
- The Site Analysis – Take a wander around your garden & note anything that you see. Put that down on some tracing paper on top of your Base Plan so you can see exactly where you’re at.
- The Master Plan – Mark out the different ‘garden zones’ like, Entertainment areas, garden beds, hedges, walls, plants, & paving. Do it & redo it. Once you’re happy, put it on your base plan!
These will really help you to map out & to price up the parts you will need.
Some of the more practical aspects related to the design of a reticulation system would be:
1. GETTING CONNECTED TO MAINS
Make sure you use a licensed plumber to tap into your mains water and that he uses a non-return check valve and ball valve. These are to make sure no materials or poisonous liquids can get back-washed and sucked back into the mains scheme water (It’s to protect everyone!).
2. WATER FLOW RATE CHECK
Do, or get a flow rate test completed on your mains water ball valve before you start digging.
This is important so that you get the correct KPa (water pressure) and Litres Per Minute (L/pm) reading so you can understand how many sprinklers you need. You will also need to know how many L/pm each sprinkler head puts out and then you can make sure you get the right number of sprinkler for the pressure you have and an even amount of sprinklers for each solenoid station.
It pays to keep a bit under to allow for pressure drops, especially in large estates. If that does happen, you’ll need to add an extra solenoid to your system and split one of your stations to allow more pressure (fewer sprinklers per station = more pressure).
3. SPRINKLER SPACING
Allow for each sprinkler spacing to overthrow at least 500mm past each sprinkler.
4. DESIGN MAPS
As we said at the start, getting the planning right is the biggest step. Work through from your Design Brief to the Master Plan so you know exactly where you’re going.
Set out on paper the dimensions of your garden or turfed area. This will allow you to draw out the spread of the sprinklers according to the correct pressure & reach for the type of sprinklers you’re using & will give you the number of sprinklers you need, being sure to allow at least 500mm overlap as mentioned in the last point!
Wishing you all the best in your landscaping adventures!
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