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Irrigation System Installation On A Large Property Near Peterborough

Popups On The Main Lawn Area

Let me introduce you one of our most sophisticated irrigation system of a large property near Peterborough, that was installed last year.

Originally we were enquired to install popup sprinklers only for part of the main lawn area in front of the main terrace. This seemed a fairly simple job with around 12 sprinklers. To learn more lawn watering solutions, click here.

I have chosen the well-working Hunter PGP Ultras due to their flexibility in operating distances and angles. The 4″ tall stems are used widely where the lawn is cut regularly and they able to spray over on it.

Because the original lawn has been ripped off, then the installation was easy. Just cut up the trenches in the right depth with our handy machine, then lay the pipes in the trenches conveniently.

And we had to take a halt here because the borehole hasn’t been drilled hence no water has been provided for the lawn.

The first Layout

Only part of the main lawn was requested as part of the irrigation system. Initially.

This is why the drawing above includes the popup sprinklers and their feeds only, marked with blue circles and different coloured lines.


Soil conditions right before laying down the lateral pipes for popup sprinklers.

One of our nice narrow trenches leads to the retaining wall on the image above.

The pipe laying jobs were made with our trenching machine in November.

Digging the trench

I can’t highlight it enough how nice our trenching machine is.

Thanks to its tracks it sticks to the ground strongly. But if the soil is slippery, then we always can put some extra weight (the handler’s weight) on the machine by folding down its stepping platform.

Final level

Unfortunately there’s no image about the pipes just laid before the final level has done.

But we were in the right place at the right time to install the pipes and heads before preparation of turfing.

Sprinklers need levelling

Popup sprinklers are invisible most of the time unless they are not levelled perfectly.

At this job, the sprinklers have been installed before the turfing as it happens lots of time. We used to mark them with small flagsso the landscapers won’t ruin them by accident.

Best time for levelling when the turf just been laid. The top of the popup must be half-one inch deeper than the final surface. This makes sure that the lawnmowers/robot mowers can’t cut them.

The Main Lawn Irrigated

Hunter PGP Ultra one-jet rotary sprinklers are in place with blue nozzles, 11 m from each other.

The sprinklers do their jobs and so do the dogs hence the lawn is “boosted” by ammonium in patches.

Additional Bed Irrigation

We didn’t have to wait too much before the owner decided to have irrigation for the beds around the lawn. It’s always a good decision where thristy plants are in place, like clipped box hedges. I always recommend the irrigation for freshly planted matured shrubs, trees and solitaires. Regular watering is a must for plants with less roots then crown in the first 2-3 years.

For wide beds with taller perennials, I prefer to install micro sprinklers. In this case, the dripline was required by the landscapers. Covering nearly 300sqm beds with driplines is labor-demanding and we haven’t even talked about hiding the lines with mulch. Following the manufacturer’s itinerary, now there’s nearly 900m dripline has been laid in the surrounding beds.

The base of the path

One of the best stage to lay down the feed pipes for the beds on both sides of the path.

The edges are perfectly straightforward hence no chance to make a mistake by leaving the feed tail in a wrong place.

Dripline doesn’t need high pressure for operating so we used 20mm HDPE pipe as feed.

You can discover our trenching machine on the right side of the image.

Thirsty Large Solitaires

Nine giant yews have been installed on this site.

This size of plants are delivered with relatively small root balls. Hence they demand lots of water in the first-sceond summer season which can be delivered by an automatic irrigation system reliably.

Compared to the price of a long row of these expensive plants, the irrigation system is a small addition.

The Large Irrigation System Extended Again

The next stage covered the old piggery garden. This area includes:

  • a tennis court surrounded with pleached trees
  • a long yew hedge
  • a rest area with water features
  • a barbecue terrace with large planters around
  • small flowering trees
  • and a small formal lawn.

On the other side of the building:

  • a visitor car park/venue area with semi-hard surface
  • surrounded with pleached trees and tall yew hedge.

As the design shows, all yew hedges are connected on the same hedge zone (marked with green) with double dripline.

The pleached trees are designed on a separate tree zone, marked with yellow. All beds are covered by the blue drip zone.

This way the plants with same water demands are fed by the same zone. That can supply even coverage for them.

Feed For Dripline

We had a chance to lay down the HDPE feed pipes before the beds were filled up with topsoil and the paths are laid.

This not just made our jobs easier but the feeds got in the right depth to avoid any later disruption at later gardening soilworks.

Because the feeds have been left there for long time, their open ends have been closed by strong tapes.

Working together with other contractors On A large irrigation system

It’s a key question to work together seamlessly with other contractors on landscaping projects. This makes possible to go ahead efficiently.

For example the decorative edges were made together with laying down our feed pipes. Everything was made as designed this way.

Irrigation for pleached trees VS hedge

Around the tennis court, we installed two separate zones, one for the hedge and one for the treeline. However both of them are in the same location, they have different water demands. It was simply better to split them.

The yew hedge got two lines of drip on their sides. The inserted drip emitters supply even amount of water all along the lines.

And we installed only one feed around the trees and added individually adjustable bubbler to each one of them. This makes possible to supply different amount of water for each tree right at their root ball.

Dripline for wide areas

Dripline is a very efficinet way of watering if the lines are laid as per manufacturer’s recommendation.

Depending on the distance of insterted emitters in the pipe, the lines should be laid same distance form each other. In this case, the emitters distance determines 33cm distance between the pipes for achieving even coverage.

Because the small conifers sit on hard surface that hot in summer, they have their own drip rings around them under the white grindings.

Finished planting

Final stage at the old piggery garden.

The newly planteed perennials haven’t started to cover the dripline but it will happen soon.

Thanks to this complex irrigation system of a large property near Peterborough, these plants won’t suffer in the heatwave.

Planters Irrigated

Installing invisible irrigation for planters needs forward thinking on all aspects. As the planters may need more or less water than the surrounding beds, it may worth to add them on a separate zone if possible.

For installing the systme invisibly, the pipes should arrive right under the planters and have to be poken through the drain hole of the planters. So the accurate location of the planters has to be marked before the pipes are laid.

Preparation For Planters

Unfortunately the patio has been done when we were enquired making the yard garden on the left side completely unaccessible for irrigation pipes.

The only area that we could connect to the system here was the row of planters designed over the shingle strip.

The feed pipe runs together with the popup sprinkler feeds along the edge of the lawn and sticking out in the middle of the shingle.

Invisible Irrigation For Planters

Just before arrival of the planters, we asked the landscapers to mark their exact place and extended the feed right under them.

Our special flexi pipes (called funny pipes as well) come up in the middle of the planters before the trees have been planted in.

When the planters are filled, then connecting the dripline and making a loop on the surface of the soil is a piece of cake. Effective and invisible.

Water supply

As I mentioned before, the water supply hasn’t even been designed at the first stage but borehole was demanded.

The usual configuration when the flow of the borehole is unknown is installing a tank and filling it up by the borehole pump. Running out of the water in the middle of the irrigation cycle is unavoidable this way.

I don’t have images about the tank as it’s a 10m3 underground tank and were installed when I was away. But it’s able to store more than enough water for three irrigation cycles supplying the water for the whole system reliably.

The pump is a premium quality Lowara submersible stainless-steel pump with a DAB pressure switch. When any zone is fired, then the pressure switch is powering up the pump immediately. By using pressure switch, the main feed can even be equipped with garden taps as this is the case on this property as well.


This large irrigation system was designed and installed together with the constantly changing landscaping process we still managed to keep it in scale. The lawn zones give even coverage thanks to the consistently used nozzles. The drip irrigation zones include similar size and type of plants with almost identical water demands.

Not mentioning the environmental benefits of an automatic irrigation system for large residential properties, like

  • Efficient Water Use: Automatic irrigation systems use sensors and timers to deliver the right amount of water at the right time, reducing water wastage compared to manual watering.
  • Reduced Runoff: By applying water more precisely, these systems minimize runoff and ensure more water penetrates the soil, benefiting plant roots directly.
  • Controlled Watering: By delivering water slowly and evenly, automatic systems reduce the risk of soil erosion that can occur with traditional irrigation methods.
  • Weather-Based Adjustments: Many systems use weather data to adjust watering schedules based on current conditions, avoiding unnecessary watering during rainy periods or adjusting for seasonal changes.
  • Optimal Watering Schedules: Consistent and adequate watering ensures plants receive the right amount of water, promoting healthier growth and reducing the need for chemical treatments that can harm the environment.
  • Efficient Operations: Automatic systems often use less energy than manual systems because they operate more efficiently and can be powered by renewable sources such as solar panels.
  • Consistent Moisture Levels: Regular and appropriate watering helps maintain soil structure, reducing compaction and promoting a healthy microbial ecosystem.
  • Advanced Technology: Features like drip irrigation and moisture sensors enhance the efficiency of water delivery, ensuring that every drop counts.
  • Integration with Smart Technologies: Automatic systems can be integrated with smart technologies and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, allowing for more sustainable management practices and real-time monitoring of water use.

I hope you enjoyed this short introduction of one of our last large residential irrigation system jobs and we have served you with some useful advice regarding automatic garden irrigation. If you want some reasons why you need irrigation system, then read our other article.

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