All About Reticulation

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All About Reticulation

Postby ColinM » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:21 pm

(Readers NB - this thread is curremtly at a 'work in progress' stage and I'll be adding to it as time with other duties permits)

I thought I start a thread on reticulation. One dictionary definition is "to form a network". In gardening terms, I guess this has come to mean basically a water distribution system. In other words, when we 'reticulate' our garden, we commonly understand that we design and instal some form of water distribution system. This can be as simple or complex as you like. From a feeder hose attached to a tap via an inline timer - right through to a mains or even (bore/dam) pump driven.

I've designed and installed two reticulation systems now, both off the mains. I'll freely admit, this hardly makes me an expert, but hopefully, some of what I have learned will assist others that haven't undertaken reticulation and, better still, it may encourage some real experts to contribute to this thread or members that have better/alternative ideas and/or incites.

Here's an image of my current reticulation plan so far, with the wiring schematic included. It includes 31 wires all up - 4 x 7 core plus 3 sperate 5mm wires:

Image

Here's a couple of "zoom-ins" to show you details:

Image

and

Image

OK, on the assumption you are going to reticulate from the mains, where do you go from there?

I'll assume you haven't undertaken any reticulation before.

So; let us start by explaining the components of the 'water delivery system':


  1. PIPE - This is the conduit that will carry the water. This can be made of two materials - PVC (or Polyvinyl chloride) is basically a hard plastic pipe and usually (at least for retic purposes) comes in white, the second one is polypipe, a softer more 'bendy' pipe. Both come in various diameters.

  2. PIPE USE - PVC is usually used to start your retic off (don't worry, I'll explain that more shortly), carry the water where the area is subject to high traffic or where the water delivery system needs to be very robust. Polypipe tends to be used in garden beds or 'risers' (yes; that will be explained also).

  3. PIPE DIAMETER - So what size pipe do I use. Well, basically you need to start off large and go down from there. There are ALL sorts of reasons for that. Without wanting to scare or dishearten you, it's all about the amount of water you want to deliver - volume vs length (and that's about water resistance, or, to be more accurate, the resistance on the water cused by friction against the inner walls of the pipe) and what amount of water you want to deliver at the 'sprinker' end. Usually, you start with 25mm PVC from the boundary service, master solenoid, then down to 20mm from the station solenoid and then (if required) polypipe out from the station solenoid or from the 20mm PVC past the station solenoid.

  4. OK; let me explain those previous terms.

    1. BOUNDARY SERVICE - this is the collective term for where your water meter is. It consists of the pipe running into your property from the water main, the junction where it connects to the water meter (the inlet union), the water meter itself, the junction where the pipe runs to your house (the outlet union) and then the pipe running to your house that supplies tap outlets etc. These pipes are collectively and commonly known as your 'internal service'.

    2. MASTER AND STATION SOLENOID - A SOLENOID is an electrically controlled valve that controls the flow of water. The valve is is opened and shut at a set time and day for a desired duration and it is this action, together with the (Reticulation) CONTROLLER that determins water delivery onto specific areas of your garden. The MASTER SOLENOID is installed on your reticulation boundary service. This valve opens and shuts every time a STATION SOLENOID is turned on and off and control water delivery to the STATION SOLENOID that is activated by the CONTROLLER program.

      A Picture of a Reticulation Boundary Service - showing the branch from the interal service, gate valve, master solenoid, and main 25mm PVC reticulation feed pipe:

      Image

      The STATION SOLENOID controls water supply and delivery to the respective garden bed by allowing water (delivered by the opening of the MASTER SOLENOID) to pass through that STATION SOLENOID.

      Here is a picture of three station solenoids, showing wiring, the solenoid and attached reticulation fittings:

      Image

      Each SOLENOID, be it a MASTER SOLENOID or STATION SOLENOID consists of the the following:


      1. (TO BE CONTINUED).


    3. RETICULATION CONTROLLER - Often just referred to as the CONTROLLER is the unit that controlls when (days and start times) and for how long (station run time duation) the MASTER SOLENOID and STATION SOLENOID opens and shuts and thereby supplies water to a predermined section of your garden.




[*] (TO BE CONTINUED).
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby Quenda » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:39 pm

We have a limited amount of retic here, but went for a very simple system from Bunnings. It has worked very well in the 4 years we have been here, though most of it hasn't been used after the first summer. I resurrected some this summer as it has been very dry, still works well.
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby ColinM » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:06 pm

Like the other thread on the Celtic Knot herb garden rose retaining - I WILL finish this.

Our block is half an acre with a substantial amount of potential garden area - the controller can expand to 24 stations - I wanted PLENTY of spare capacity - so I have 4 x 8 core cables running in to the controller.

I even have one station dedicated to a 19mm polypipe filler for our garden pond - so when I need to top it up due to evaporation water loss, I can flick to that station and fill the pond via a concealed filler pipe. Much easier than having to drag out a hose. :D
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby Quenda » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:15 pm

A lot of stations in your system, Colin. I have the capacity for 8, 5 are currently set up to be used. Oh...just remembered...I also have two lines that just have timers on them. One I rarely use, the other I hope to rarely use (if ever) now summer has past, unless we have another dry summer.. :x

Yes, much easier indeed. I have a dedicated pipe going into the pond for top up, but mine is a 13mm....I think, not a part of the retic system. I am also thinking of putting a dripper on the irrigation in that area into the pond so at least twice a week it gets an auto top up. May even put the small dripper hose into the pond without the dripper, will have to see how that goes perhaps and adding a dripper if it's too much water as my pond is in shade.
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby ColinM » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:51 pm

A lot of stations in your system, Colin


Very true! :D , keeping track of the wiring is something of a nightmare, hence the diagrams.


I am also thinking of putting a dripper on the irrigation in that area into the pond so at least twice a week it gets an auto top up. May even put the small dripper hose into the pond without the dripper, will have to see how that goes perhaps and adding a dripper if it's too much water as my pond is in shade.


I prefer to do this manually, though I have been guilty of turning on water flow via the controller, and getting distracted with water overflow :oops: , I hate over using water. Yes the dripper feed I assume, will be be 4mm.

By the way, when using this, unless your water delivery through drippers, risers, sprinkers (macro, micro sprays) are on par, NEVER hot water your 4mm tubing. I found that out the hard way - my experience is that the 4mm and 'spur' (hose or sprinkler) will part under even a modest disparity between the solenoid outward delievery and the overall water distribuition system (sprinklers).

It can be quite a fiddle otherwise between variable solenoids abd variable sprinkers/drippers.

I assume you know that you shouldn't combine drippers and sprinklers. :D
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby Quenda » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:53 pm

Yes, well aware that one keeps being told that...however....I have combined in the past and do so at present, personally I don't see why one can't. I have done it for many years, more than I care to state with no problems whatever. No one has ever said why one shouldn't, just that one shouldn't. When I have a problem with it, I shall desist... :)
I have two lines running both at present, one has drippers and micro sprays, the other line has drippers and butterflys.
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby ColinM » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:09 pm

Quenda wrote:Yes, well aware that one keeps being told that...however....I have combined in the past and do so at present, personally I don't see why one can't. I have done it for many years, more than I care to state with no problems whatever. No one has ever said why one shouldn't, just that one shouldn't. When I have a problem with it, I shall desist... :)
I have two lines running both at present, one has drippers and micro sprays, the other line has drippers and butterflys.


Well, well, well - good for you Quenda :lol: 8) - I believe it was to do with how pressure in the feeder pipe affects each of these differently and feeds back to the pressure within the pipe - or something like that.

Hey, at the end of the day - if it works..... :P
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby gardenlen » Sat May 25, 2013 7:06 am

amazing seems so expensive and complex, but whatever hey?

we use all our grey water in the gardens simple most efficient system so it is used fresh is buckets, we have just over 1 acre. we are on tank water only so that is heavily managed, we hose water only when we absolutely have to.

still K.I.S.S is always best.

where may i find: "Re: All About Reticulation

Postby ColinM » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:06 pm
Like the other thread on the Celtic Knot herb garden rose retaining"

len
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Re: All About Reticulation

Postby ColinM » Sat May 25, 2013 11:50 am

Hi Len,

Thanks for the interest :D .

ONE day, I'll finish this thread (and the Celtic Knot Herb Garden on) off :roll: .

I agree, the KISS principle is best.

The diagrams I posted up probably make things look more complex than they are :mrgreen:. It's just about planning and using the right fittings.

Probably the hardest part is remembering all the darn wires.

At a previous property I had all the solenoids in one spot - on a PVC manifold, because that retic installation made that possible, unfortunately, in our current situation that would have meant running a LOT more PVC.
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