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Ideal to save time, save water and reduce its bill, automatic watering can meet the needs of plants without effort or in case of absence. How to choose the right system?

Choose your watering system

An automatic watering system avoids regular chores and allows to enjoy all year round a healthy garden. It guarantees the quantity and flow of water needed by plants with different needs. But to be efficient, economical and perfectly controlled, it must be well thought out. Depending on the size of your land, the variety of your plantations and your budget, you have the choice between three systems that can be complementary: surface watering, micro-irrigation (drip) or watering buried, enough complex to implement. Each solution requires a number of equipment.

Well conceive watering

  • Draw the detailed garden plan on a sheet of graph paper (landmark aligned with a corner of the house).
  • Identify areas to be watered (vegetable garden, trees, hedges) and those not to irrigate.
  • Divide them into separate watering zones according to the needs of the plants (a lawn is more water-hungry than a mass of aromatics).
  • For even watering, the jets must cross each other. Draw with compass the surfaces to be watered and place the sprinklers: the ideal distance between them is equal to their range.
  • Avoid covering the sprinklers: place the 90° (quarter circle) in the corners, then cover the sides with the 180° (semicircle) and possibly position 360° (circle) in the middle of the area.

Six modular automatic watering systems: systems

The total water consumption must never exceed the available flow.
• Pressure: expressed in kg / cm2 or in bar, it is measured by means of a manometer connected to the tap of arrival of water. The installation must have at least 2 bars (2 kg / cm²). Above 5 bar, a pressure reducer is necessary.
• The flow: to calculate it, fill a bucket with 10 l of water, using the tap closest to the water meter and time the filling time (in seconds). The flow, expressed in m3 / h, is equal to the capacity of the container (10 l) divided by the filling time (for example, 10 seconds), multiplied by 3.6.
Download for free a "watering planner" buried on the Gardena site or obtain a reliable project study (about € 50) on

Elements for the installation of an automatic watering

Flexible hoses

Six modular automatic watering systems: water

Flexible hoses and fittings connect the sprinklers to a bypass clamp attached to the pipe.
Oscillating or rotating sprinklers

Six modular automatic watering systems: watering

Oscillating or rotating sprinklers Adjustable are equipped with nozzles of variable diameter and their jet covers up to 350 m².
Drip (Micro-irrigation)

Six modular automatic watering systems: modular

Thedrip irrigation (or micro-irrigation) combines porous or integrated drippers, self-regulating drippers and micro-sprinklers.
Sprinkler and sprinkler

Six modular automatic watering systems: systems

The nozzle and the turbine sprinkler lift automatically with the pressure of the water.

Six modular automatic watering systems: water

Solenoid valves feed each network separately. They are connected to the electronic programmer by a multiconductor cable and electrical connectors.
Valve sight

Six modular automatic watering systems: systems

The valve eyes allows easy access to electrical and manual valves and protects them.

Programmer: the brain of the system

The programmer is the central part of the installation. It controls the frequency, the duration of the inflow of water and the days of watering. His choice depends on the system. Surface watering (eg a drip) requires a battery operated programmer that screws onto the faucet nose. Buried watering is designed in several areas (to provide each of them with the required amounts of water) and therefore in several pipe networks, the programmer must be multi-channel: it controls each network via a solenoid valve installed in a look. The programmer sends electrical signals to the valve, which functions as an automatic faucet and controls a group of sprinklers.

The solenoid valve

It ensures the successive triggering of the different networks. It is also essential when the flow of water available at the tap is insufficient to supply several sprinklers. There are two models: 9V battery for wireless programming; in 24 V for installation with cable.

The pipes

The larger the diameter, the lower the pressure drop.
To cut the pipes, use a hacksaw and deburr the inside to avoid clogging the sprinklers.
Opt for quality if you want the installation to withstand the weather and withstand the pressure.

The drip kit

The drip kit

watering drip, also called micro-irrigation, is to bring water very slowly to the foot of the plants, thanks to non-buried pipes that circulate through the plants or near the shrubs. Various accessories bringing water, in a localized way, are integrated - of origin or not - on the pipes (drippers and micro-sprinklers). Efficient and easy to install, this system is offered as a kit by the majority of manufacturers. There are also porous pipes that regularly water vegetables and flowers.

Six modular automatic watering systems: automatic

Porous pipes
Designed for watering flowerbeds and vegetables, the porous pipes let the water seep over their entire length. Other types of pipes are equipped with drippers or microjets for local use.

What types of sprinklers for the garden?

The sprinklers adjust the water flow, the width and the reach of the jets to define a multitude of zones.surface watering (up to more than 300 m²). Manufacturers offer many models: oscillating, rotating, spitting peaks to be planted, turbines mounted on peak, sprinklers, so-called modular sprinklers or multifunction. These offer several types of jet (square, round, semicircle...); they are recommended for the seedling area in the kitchen garden or for a small flower bed.
Theburied watering uses two types of retractable sprinklers. Screwed on water intakes mounted on semirigid pipes buried in trenches, they spring from the ground under the pressure of the water and return to their initial position, after the watering sequence. Ideal for lawns, turbine sprinklers (rotating jets, more rarely oscillating) cover surfaces greater than 150 m², while nozzles - static jet - are to be installed on areas not exceeding 5 m on one side; they are rather recommended for the massifs and the kitchen garden.

Install an automatic watering

For a uniform and efficient watering, be careful not to install nozzles (fixed jet nozzles) and turbines (rotary jet or oscillating) on ​​the same circuit! Their flows and ranges are too different.

Comparative table of six automatic irrigation systems

Comparison of 6 automatic irrigation systems

Video Instruction: Automatic Watering System for Plants using Arduino