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Drip irrigation for a small patio with no spigot/tap/faucet.

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[OP]
Jr. Member
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Jun 8, 2012
133 posts
47 upvotes
Toronto

Drip irrigation for a small patio with no spigot/tap/faucet.

I have small rooftop patio, 11 by 13 feet, and I want setup a drip irrigation system. Here’s the catch though, there’s no water connection on the patio.

My rough plan is a 55 gallon drum with a pond pump to run the irrigation system. I can’t use a gravity fed system because I don’t think I can get the drum up high and safe enough.

I was thinking about using 1/2 inching tubing to run on the ground in a square around the patio, and then connecting 1/4 inch feeder tubing to the 1/2 inch, in series, that will run up vertically to various heights. I want do a hanging/vertical garden, on one but possibly two of our walls, in which case I might need two 6ft lifts. There will also be a two 4ft lifts and a few smaller one to planters/pots on the ground.

Here’s my questions: What size pump should I get?

Thanks

Oh and here's a rough diagram of what I want to do.

Code: Select all

      ^                               ^
      |                               |
      |                               |
      |                               |
     6ft 1/4"                      6ft 1/4"
      |               ^               |
      |               |               |
      |               |               |
      |               |               |
      |              4ft 1/4"         |    ^
      |  ^            |               |    |
      |  |            |               |    |
      |  |            |               |    |
+-----------1/2"-----------------------------+
+----------Tubing----------------------------+
8 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9960 posts
5246 upvotes
Paris
I’m not a fluid dynamics engineer but my brother is and has harped on this subject a number of times. When we looked at doing this with a solar pump at the cottage, he said to run all 1/4” line as you won’t be able to build the required pressure in 1/2 to go into 1/4” and then drip. I think drip line needs 30 PSI.

I think lee valley sells a solar kit and irrigation direct sells all the parts cheap if you know what you need.
[OP]
Jr. Member
User avatar
Jun 8, 2012
133 posts
47 upvotes
Toronto
Thanks - when I get to ordering what I need I'll try test out the 1/4" solely and see if that work.

I saw the kit at lee valley, but also saw a video if the kit in action and its pretty loud.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9960 posts
5246 upvotes
Paris
evilsee wrote: Thanks - when I get to ordering what I need I'll try test out the 1/4" solely and see if that work.

I saw the kit at lee valley, but also saw a video if the kit in action and its pretty loud.
I’ve never met a water pump that doesn’t sound like a jet engine that can generate any pressure. Ryobi used to sell a small submersible water pump in the US that was recommended as a replacement for my ice machine water pump. I’d also heard it worked well for spot watering small numbers of plants but it can’t generate much head pressure (rise) from a rain barrel up too far. The pump was $20 or something small.
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May 28, 2007
412 posts
154 upvotes
Peterborough
Lee valley use to sell a drip system for rain barrels. Our garden was a few hundred feet from the house so I would pump water from rain barrels by the house up to a couple of raised barrels by the garden. The garden was about 30 x 60 feet and everything was watered. If you decide to use a pump, make sure it has enough head to push the water where you want it.
Deal Addict
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Oct 9, 2010
2760 posts
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Windsor
How janky can this thing be? My uncle pumps from a lake into a 1000L tank that is maybe 8' off the ground, and gravity feeds for watering his garden/flowers. The tank has a sump-pump in it that auto-fills the 1000L tank as required.

You could do something similar, but much smaller scale. Find a pump that can lift maybe 8', and just put a pail up that high (should be pretty easy). Not sure how small of a "sump" you can find, but if you can find something like a super-scaled down sump pump, with all the floats and stuff, that would be great. Then, the 55GAL tank sits at deck level, the top "tank" is always full with water giving you ~2psi to your plants, then you use low-pressure drip fittings ( Like This ). You'll want either filtration, or a settling tank, to ensure your drip fittings don't get plugged up.

As for the comment about pressure and line size: it makes no sense. Pressure is pressure. Flow rate, OTOH, is different, but should be irrelevant for a drip system.

Or you could go low tech: fill a pail with water, put a hook. Hang bucket, waters plants.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9960 posts
5246 upvotes
Paris
ChubChub wrote: You could do something similar, but much smaller scale. Find a pump that can lift maybe 8', and just put a pail up that high (should be pretty easy).

As for the comment about pressure and line size: it makes no sense. Pressure is pressure. Flow rate, OTOH, is different, but should be irrelevant for a drip system.
OP could fill some sort of barrel stored on what I assume to be a patio with a hose hooked up to their sink inside once a week/month/whatever and use a gravity feed system as you describe.

As for “pressure is pressure”, try running 1/2 lines to a full lawn irrigation system vs 1” main lines with 1/2” takeoffs and see the significant difference in performance.
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Oct 9, 2010
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Windsor
Jerico wrote: OP could fill some sort of barrel stored on what I assume to be a patio with a hose hooked up to their sink inside once a week/month/whatever and use a gravity feed system as you describe.

As for “pressure is pressure”, try running 1/2 lines to a full lawn irrigation system vs 1” main lines with 1/2” takeoffs and see the significant difference in performance.
What you're talking about is flow rate, not pressure. That's why I pointed that out.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.

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