Automatic irrigation

Rosewood Irrigation Services of St Albans is seeing increasing interest and demand from the residential sector for professional automatic irrigation systems. Homeowners who have employed garden design and landscaping services are also looking to protect their investment by installing proper irrigation that will ensure their gardens continue to flourish in the years to come.

“ An irrigation system can be up to 90% more efficient than traditional watering methods. We introduce our customers to state-of-the-art controllers and products that conserve water, irrigating efficiently so that there is minimal impact on the environment and maximum impact on their gardens,“ says Rosewood director, Andy Leaver

Setting standards in irrigation

However, Andy also acknowledges that particularly in the residential sector, the irrigation services market is not regulated as well as it could be. “It is up to companies like ours to set high standards of workmanship and offer professional irrigation services without compromise, right through from initial consultations with the homeowner to customised system designs, and all supported by ongoing maintenance programmes. We are also part of an industry that is led by companies such as Rain Bird who continuously set high standards when developing new irrigation products, and by distributors such as Landscape Watering Services (LWS) who ensure products are delivered promptly for our specific projects and who also provide ongoing advice and training.”

It was this philosophy that attracted the owners of a new architect-designed family home on a half acre plot in Hertfordshire to approach Rosewood Irrigation. Following completion of the housebuilding, the next step was to transform the large clay and flint wilderness behind the property and the area to the front, into a true landscaped family garden. Gilly Leach Garden Design was chosen as designer with The Landscape & Garden Company as the contractor. The project began in February 2018.

The results completely fulfilled the aspirations of the homeowners, who were delighted with the creation of a split-level fully-landscaped rear garden including a large grassed play area, corners of tranquility and the retention of some existing ornamental trees. Their internet search into irrigation systems led him to the door of Rosewood Irrigation as they were keen to ensure that the new garden would remain vibrant and beautiful for the forseeable future.

Rosewood uses Rain Bird products exclusively for their irrigation services, sourced through distributor Landscape Watering Services (LWS). With on- and sub-surface dripline irrigation systems, a choice of pop-up sprinklers, a range of controllers, the facility to manage systems via wi-fi and the availability of specialist root-watering systems, Andy considers Rain Bird to have the most comprehensive and reliable range available for the residential applications.

Multi-faceted automatic irrigation system 

automatic irrigation

Rosewood designed a multi-faceted automatic irrigation system managed by Rain Bird’s ESP- ME controller. Surface dripline was specified for all the flower beds and borders so that irrigation could be provided exactly where needed, close to plants’ roots and minimising the risk of wastage through water run-off. 90 and 180 degree pop-up sprinklers work in tandem to cover all the grassed areas, keeping them vibrant at all times. An easy to maintain Rain Bird Root Watering System protects investment in striking new pleached hornbeam screening, providing essential irrigation in the infancy of the trees’ life and encouraging deep root development.

The ESP-ME controller has provided the facility to create the 14 different irrigation zones covered by three different timed watering programs. “The more zones, the better for optimum irrigation and to prevent over-watering,” says Andy. “ These were essential for a number of reasons in this project with so many different plant and shrub varieties on-site; shaded areas and sunny locations; raised planters requiring more water; the need for overnight sprinkling of grassed areas and separate zoning for 90 and 180 degree sprinklers for operational highest efficiency.”  A Rain Bird rain sensor was also included to monitor rainfall levels and automatically override the controller and curtail irrigation cycles when appropriate.

” For the installer it is easy to set programs with the ESP-ME’s dial control and it has an easy to read display. The whole installation can also be conveniently managed by Mike on his smartphone/iPad using the Rain Bird app linked to the controller by the clever Rain Bird LNK Wifi system. For example, he can make weather-based adjustments to the water scheduling,” says Andy.

Tank for rain water harvesting
With his previous experience of  sustainable rainwater harvesting, Mike had installed a large tank at the property. It provides the predominant water source for Rosewood’s irrigation installation, and as it is only topped up by mains water, it helps to minimise impact on water usage. 

During the installation, Rosewood dovetailed their work alongside The Landscape & Garden Company, laying pipework at the correct time before walls and paths were constructed or trees planted. They also ensured the surface dripline was positioned carefully to match the planting layout and undertook commissioning of the installation in stages as the garden was created. 

As it turned out, the spring and early summer days of 2018 were setting the trend for some of the hottest days on record that would follow. “It was vital that young plants in their bedding in phase and new lawns were well irrigated as soon as possible and Rosewood ensured this was the case,” says Mike.

For Rosewood this irrigation project was almost the perfect summary of the type of work undertaken by the company. It had to set standards that would more than equal the multi-layered garden design created and installed by highly-respected professionals. It had to take into consideration the requirements of the homeowner in terms of environmental impact and lifestyle. It had to be a solution where reliability and low maintenance were key.

” Aside from our own irrigation system design and installation work, we also service other irrigation systems and brands which have not stood the test of time too well. That might be good work for us, but it does highlight the fact that homeowners and their garden designers need to get the right standard of irrigation specified in the first place and ensure that it will be properly maintained,” says Andy Leaver.                                                       

Some eighteen months after completion of the project, Mike and Eve remain delighted with the garden design, landscaping and the irrigation system: “ Investment in the irrigation paid for itself in one season and this year we have continued to benefit as the gardens continue to flourish. It was a challenging project and good communication between all parties was key to its success.”