In order to make the smart roof deck garden as low maintenance as possible, we wanted to automate the watering process in some way by creating an irrigation system. With a little research we found many options:
- water the garden by hand
- use sprinklers
- use misters
- use self-watering planters
- use a dripline
We did not want to water the garden by hand since it is intended to be as automated as possible. Self-watering planters cut down on the frequency that you need to water the plants by hand, but they would still require manual attention. That left us with three options. Sprinklers and misters are both wasteful when used for container gardens. Sprinklers also just look sloppy with extra hose running around and misters are not likely to work well on a windy roof top. For these reasons we settled on a dripline.
There are two kinds of driplines, on surface and subsurface. Both would work well, but we decided on a subsurface system because it is more visually appealing. The system attaches right to a garden hose and setup only requires threading some pipes and valves together. Two popular brands of dripline irrigation products are Netafim and Rainbird. We chose the Rain Bird XFS dripline for our project because of its flexibility, durability, even water distribution, and the Copper Shield technology that prevents roots from growing into the water emitter locations. To use and install the dripline, a few other components are needed:
- 3/4″ Hose Thread Anti Backup Valve
- 3/4 Inch Female Hose to Male Pipe Thread Adapter
- Solenoid Valve and Low Flow Pressure Regulator
- 3/4 Inch Female Pipe Thread to 1/2 Inch Rain Bird Easy Fit Compression Fitting
- Air Release Valve
- Water Release Valve
- 1/2 Inch Elbow Joint
A low flow pressure regulator was chosen because standard flow rates create enough water flow to water an entire yard. Most of these parts can be purchased together directly from Rain Bird in a Low Flow Zone Control Kit.