SimplyGuest houses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each house has its own unique features and facilities. Very often, houses come with small gardens or at least a decent number of potted plants. However, while any amount of greenery goes a long way in making a house seem appealing, one of the challenges we face regularly is ensuring that these plants are adequately watered. Unfortunately, whether they like having the plants at home or not, not all of our tenants are green-thumbed!
Often, we ask our housekeeping staff to water the plants, but just like tenants, they can also be indifferent to the flora of the house. Ambareesh sometimes specifically asks the caretaker to water them.
In fact, he is the sole reason Peace Haven and Aditi's are still green. Nevertheless, it is rather futile to depend on people when we can't follow up on them regularly; invariably, the plants have died in most cases. When we recently took on a new property in Koramangala, Ambareesh decided to fix this problem once and for all. If you’d like to replicate this minimal-effort model, here’s a step-by- step guide to how we went about the whole process.
Key takeaways. Before we begin.
- Minimal maintenance
- Minimal manual intervention
- Low technology
- No heartburn if someone steals the pipes
Easily available raw material.
We used a drip irrigation kit to set up the system. All the units can be purchased at KM Lane in Chickpet for about Rs 800. Alternatively, you can buy the entire kit on Amazon for Rs 430 to 2000, depending on the size and requirements of your garden. The kit comes with everything that you would need; primarily, it contains 20 meters of 16mm pipe, 5 meters of 4mm pipe, connectors, and adaptors as shown in the picture. Additionally, you may need these:
- Metal or plastic wire to tie the pipes
- A screw driver in case you want to tighten the clamps in step 7
- A sharp knife to cut the pipes; you can use a home knife too
Everything that we have detailed here is a result of our experiments in at least 3 places so far. We haven' tried the kits available on Amazon though; we bought all our material at Chickpet as it is a larger market offering better variety. If you can spare some time, we would definitely recommend this option.
Step 1. Make a Mental Layout
Make a mental note of the full layout before executing the project.
This depends entirely on your garden, how the plants are arranged and so on; if the plants are kept at different levels – on steps, for instance – you will need to factor that in.
Step 2. Water Supply Line
Lay out the big 16mm pipe strategically around the garden. This is the main water supply. One end of this pipe should be at the source of water - a tap or another pipe. Don' connect it yet though!
Your plants need not be arranged in a straight line; the pipe just needs to be close enough to most plants and the next step will show you how you can use the smaller pipes to branch out. The kit contains material to create odd layouts and reach all corners of the garden.
If needed, you can use metal or plastic wire to fix the pipe tightly.
Step 3. Attach pin connectors
Take pin connectors and attach them to the supply line. Pierce the sharp edge into the main pipe in a circular motion. You can use as many connectors as there are plants.
You can watch this video on how to do it.
Step 4. Branch out with the feeder pipe
Cut the 4mm feeder pipe into smaller pieces using a knife. The length should cover the distance from the connector point in Step 3 until the root of each plant. Push one end of this pipe into the remaining end of the pin connector in a circular motion. Make sure there is no gap between the feeder pipe and the pin connector.
Watch the video from Step 3.
Step 5. Water drippers
Take the water emitter and connect it to the open end of the feeder pipe. This is how the end result should look. You can also use stakes to lift up or adjust the pipes.
You could also alternatively connect these emitters directly to the supply line without using the feeder pipe.
Emitter Type 1
Dispenses about 4 litres of water per day.
Emitter Type 2
This comes with a tap. You can shut it down.
Step 6. Block exits
Block the rear end of the supply line either using a connector with a tap or an end cap.
You can use a tap connector. This is useful if you want to let water at the end.
It's part of the kit.
You can use an end cap to block the exit.
It's part of the kit.
Step 7. Connect Water Source
Attach the tap adaptor to the water tap. (This depends on the kind of tap you have at home.) Ensure your kit contains this adaptor along with a clap to tighten it, otherwise you can purchase the same from the local hardware shop for about Rs 100. Connect the open end of the main pipe to a water source and open the tap slowly. If there are leaks anywhere, you can fix them using tape.
The pipe may loosen up after pronged use.
You can't open the tap, but more secure
So that' it! Your drip irrigation system is now fully set up.
Follow up notes
The water emitter's inner design is very simple. You can open it up to see it yourself. If you notice water isn't being emitted properly, you can open and clean it up.
You may have to experiment a little with the tap adapters. There are so many sizes, its difficult to have one adaptor to fit them all.
You can also use a tap connector. This is useful if you want to let water at the end.
The good thing with this system is, you can use whatever is available. No other special equipment needed.
To Do Do We still need someone to switch on the water tap if we have to control the amount of water dispensed per day. We are planning to implement a gravity based design for this soon - the basic idea is to keep a small water tank at a height and connect the 16mm water supply line to it. As long as there is water in the tank, it will flow through to the drips; this controls the amount of water.
We don't want to implement a complicated timing system. The problem with such systems is that if there are glitches, water may get wasted. I'll update the post as soon as we complete the project.