Dallas is not always a fun place to be outside...think 105 degrees with 60% humidity. All of that heat and light is good for the plants, but the ground dries up very fast. So much so, that I usually have to water every day or every other day for long periods of time.
I say all of this to make a case against soaker hoses. While soaker hoses are great at delivering water, it's difficult to drench a bed in a reasonable amount of time. Also, in the Texas heat, hoses break ALL of the time. Nothing more annoying than repairing a hose with streams of sweat down your face and in your eyes.
I like sprinkler systems, but I feel like they just speed up the eventually water evaporation process, by misting the water and shooting it up in the air...you're free my little H2O friends, return to the sky and go be nimble somewhere else.
So, I thought I would try my own version of sprinklers that got the water to the ground faster. I looked over the Instructables site and couldn't believe no one else had done this, and maybe I'm missing it, but I thought why not water my garden like a large farm and came up with the inverted sprinkler experiment.
Step 1: Design: So Many Options to Explore
So after my head was reached the brink of an explosive aneurism, I finally just drew a sketch and started at the basic point of how the PVC would fit together to create a pressurized environment.
It's a straight forward design except I had learned from previous dabbles in PVC that the weight of the pipes are pretty high, so I figured I needed some supports which should be longer than the end supports so that the ends could be barrier or even put a brick or stone underneath the supports to keep them stable. The legs will be a part of the plumbing, so they will fill up with water giving them some weight and probably a bit more stability. If sag is a big problem, you could build a wood support and the attach the PVC to the wood. This could even become a trellis! Dual purpose is always rewarding.
Controlling the pressure from the source seemed like a possible way to affect what I'm calling the cone angle of the spray.
Step 2: Some Items I Needed
- Some sort of scrap wood or treated wood or any sturdy, durable support
- X number of feet of 3/4" PVC
- Some regular T connections for the center supports
- Some threaded T connections for the sprinkler heads
- End caps for the support and the opposite end of the supply
- Threaded connection for the source hose
- A flexible piece of hose
- Hose-end converter (not shown)
- Pipe brackets to hold the main body in place
- Sprinkler heads (not shown)
- Risers to connect the sprinkler heads
- PVC primer and glue
- Maybe most of all, a little one eager to help
Step 3: Turn a Sketch Into a Thing - Part 1
Step 4: Turn a Sketch Into a Thing - Part 2
This is the part that my daughter wanted to help with more than anything and I was the most nervous for her to be around because the primer and glue are so toxic. In a well ventilated area (my openned garage), I ended up holding the PVC and rotating it while she brushed the primer on. She like it because its purple. I figured no matter how sloppy it was, it would sun fade and no harm done.
Step 5: Center System & Install
Step 6: Connect the Water Supply
Step 7: Cross Your Fingures, Test, Modify & Do It Again Next Weekend!
One concern that I've had a hard time trying address is I don't think it's a good idea to spew pressurized water onto fragile leaves. If the planter box was empty, I could plant the seedlings in such a way as to avoid the majority of the force, but given that this box already has plants in it, the results will have to be looked at as a learning experience if something were to go wrong. Maybe instead of having a single line of sprinklers down the middle, there should 4 or so sprinklers running down each side with 180 degree heads that spray from the side towards the middle. Hmm.
I suspect that both types of sprinkler heads will have a value depending on the types of plants, size of box and water pressure.
I plan on making a few more of these and if anyone is interested, I'll post my results.
It's hard to tell from the video, but as you might suspect, different heads give different results. My favorites are the popup heads and the 360 bush sprayer heads. I realize this just an upside down sprinkler system, but I really enjoy the process of creating things and I had fun sharing my ideas with you. Happy making!
P.S. The whole project cost about $30 and was completed in about 3 hours