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Watering Green Walls

Living green walls and vertical gardens will optimise your garden space in an eye-catching way. They are becoming increasingly popular in both commercial spaces and home gardens. Vertical gardening can take a number of different forms from hanging baskets to wall mounted systems. But keeping a vertical garden looking its best month after month takes special care, especially when it comes to irrigation.

Consider these watering tips:

If you just direct a spray of water from the top to the bottom of a green wall you risk the top plants getting too little water while the ones at the bottom drown. At the very least, the plants at the top and bottom are likely to grow at different rates.

For plants growing in vertically mounted boxes or frames, it’s worth removing the box from the wall to water it. With the box flat on the ground, water it slowly but lightly – enough to completely moisten the soil and roots.

Hanging baskets can be left in place while you water them as long as drainage is not a problem. Simply place other pots and planters directly below your baskets so they can benefit from the excess water or collect it in a bucket to feed to other plants. Moulded plastic baskets hold moisture better than woven baskets.

Some wall mounted planting systems may be able to incorporate their own irrigation systems. Ask the team at Aqualight for any garden irrigation advice but otherwise use the finger test to ensure that the plants’ roots are not drying out. Water or adjust the irrigation schedule as needed and don’t be tempted to mist wall gardens in between watering sessions. Shallow watering encourages shallow root growth and it’s better to encourage the roots to grow downwards.

The Power of Garden Lighting

Garden lights can be more than just a means to an end. Yes, choosing the right lamp for the job is important and so is choosing the right fitting to house it. But this is an opportunity to think about so much more than how well the lights will blend with the garden materials. Installing garden lighting is an opportunity to give your garden a whole new life – at night.

Well balanced garden lighting is a powerful way to accentuate any interesting features of the house itself, as well as the garden. verandas, decking, sculptures, water features, steps, pathways and pots – by making the most of outdoor lighting opportunities you can highlight their beauty, texture and personality.

A good approach is to consider your garden lighting needs in terms of function – whether it’s for decorative effects, safety reasons or practical such as barbecue lighting so you can see what you’re cooking. Think about which lights can be used to achieve the lighting effects that you require. Do you want to accentuate paths, ensure the driveway is safely lit, highlight specific plants or a garden pergola, or you may want the whole garden bathed in a soft light.

A popular way of designing gardens is to divide it into rooms. Each room is designed to serve a particular function and has its own look. The clever use of lighting can very subtly but effectively alter the experience and aesthetic of each garden ‘room’.

Lastly, if you are installing lights in a new, young garden, it’s important to remember the garden will grow. Professional garden lighting designers know how to locate the lights and cabling in a way that makes the most of the lighting opportunities today while also allowing for future plant growth.

Winter Irrigation – Preparing your Garden for Spring

While we are lucky to have a temperate climate, Auckland gardens still benefit from a different type of care when there’s a change in the seasons. As winter begins to set in, here are a few things to help your garden and lawn flourish.

Spring planning

Winter is generally a time when we are less active with our garden and lawn care but these months provide the best opportunity to get ready for the coming spring and summer. Now is the time to plan any new garden areas, prepare your soil and to think about ways to conserve water once the garden is growing.

Planting

Winter is a great time for planting trees in Auckland but it’s still important to water thoroughly at the time to make sure the soil is snugly in contact with the roots. Take advantage of the cooler months to get plants in the ground and established before the dry summer spells. Watering should be done thoroughly but not often.

Irrigation

Winter in Auckland gardens is the perfect time to really allow plants to flourish and appreciate their lushness. Start your irrigation schedule in the early morning to minimise fungal growth and think about whether you can reduce your watering if it’s been a wet winter.

If you don’t already use one, winter is a great time to plan for an irrigation system. Today’s best irrigation systems include sophisticated controllers that allow you to easily adjust watering schedules. Winter is also a great time to maintain and upgrade your system. Irrigation systems need regular maintenance to keep them working efficiently – winter frosts can cause leaks and other problems.

Don’t let the winter months be a time where you stop caring about your garden. Give us a call at Aqualight for help with all your garden irrigation.

Drip Irrigation – How Long Should You Water?

Many plant problems are water related; it’s easy to water too much or too little. Drip irrigation systems are targeted, water efficient irrigation systems that deliver a slow trickle of water to the plant’s root system. But how long should you water?

A drip irrigation system puts out water much more slowly than a traditional sprinkler system so watering is going to take longer – hours, not minutes. It’s important to understand the differences so your plants don’t get used to a shallow watering program. Too little water and the roots stay near the surface where they are more subject to drying out quickly, stressing the plant and making it vulnerable to disease.

With a drip irrigation system, water deeply, but infrequently (once or twice a week). Apply enough water to penetrate the soil to a depth of approximately 20 cm. Use a soil sampling tube or dig down by hand to see if the soil is properly moist.

It’s also important with a drip irrigation system to use enough emitters for the plant – more than one – and they should be spaced evenly around the tree or shrub. Their spacing will depend on your soil type.

A typical summer watering schedule in a raised vegetable garden with a drip irrigation system is to run it twice a week, several hours at a time. However the best regime for you will depend on your weather, soil type, slope and crops.

To water trees and shrubs consider using micro-sprinklers or sprayers. They thoroughly wet the root area and put out more water. Depending on the temperatures, during the summer you might run them for an hour, once or twice a week.

Drip irrigation systems will produce healthy thriving plants – so long as they’re used properly to allow thorough watering.

Irrigating Living Walls

Green walls are an increasingly popular feature on commercial buildings and in domestic urban gardens. A vertical garden is a great use of space and can substantially increase the planting area in a small garden or roof terrace. However, keeping the plants well irrigated is not always easy.

Putting up a green wall is not like buying wallpaper. Particular skills are needed and as vertical greening becomes more popular and the palette of plants increases, getting the irrigation right is a key issue. North facing installations in particular, risk overheating and plants can suffer if watering is intermittent.

Irrigating Living Walls

To ensure success irrigation should be treated as an integral part of the green wall. One effective method is to fix irrigated planting modules to a frame allowing water to flow from cell to cell and panel to panel within the wall. Automatic timers can be used while sensors measure the humidity and the temperature in the air.

Get the irrigation right and your green wall will not only bring charm and life to a featureless facade, it will create its own ecosystems and even improve air quality.

Top Lawn Watering Tips

How is your lawn handling the dry summer weather? There are many factors including grass type, soil, sun and wind that can affect a lawn’s performance but get the level of watering right and you’ll help your lawn survive summer healthy and intact.

Under watering and over watering can both be damaging to your lawn but a general rule to keep in mind is that turf grasses do better when they’re managed on the dry side. A daily sprinkling can cause more harm than good. It encourages shallow roots that are more susceptible to heat stress. Also, soil that is constantly wet can increase the risk of disease.

Instead, it’s best to water deeply but not too often. A deep watering that penetrates into the soil will wet the entire root zone. This practice encourages a deeper, stronger root system, and a more drought resistant lawn.

Don’t be tempted to water again until the grass is dry. Watch out for changing grass colour to tell you when your lawn is thirsty. If the blades are yellowing, wilting or browning then give your turf a drink.

It’s best to irrigate your lawn early in the day or during the evening. If you water in the heat of the day, the moisture can be lost through evaporation. If you water at night, the moisture can sit on the leaves and increase the risk of disease.

If you need any lawn irrigation system advice, contact the team at Auckland’s Aqualight Irrigation any time.

What’s Best? A Soaker Hose or Drip Irrigation?

As a home gardener you can be faced with a lot of choices when it comes to the best ways to keep your garden healthy and well-watered. If you’re thinking of installing an irrigation system you’ll find it useful to understand the difference between soaker hoses and drip irrigation.

What They Have in Common

There can be some confusion between soaker hoses and drip irrigation because they share key features and do a similar job. Both irrigation systems release water slowly and directly to the soil which is good for plant health, the environment, and your time and money.

Soaker Hoses

A soaker hose has tiny perforations in it that allow water to seep slowly and evenly through the hose and directly into the soil. Soaker hoses are a simple system and extremely easy to set up.

The release of water to a soaker hose is unregulated which means that as the water travels through the pipe it is losing pressure and flow. While this can be a constraint for some gardens, the soaker hose is a great product for small areas and they are particularly useful for intensively planted garden beds.

Drip Lines

A drip line incorporates drip emitters inserted along its entire length. These emitters allow precise calculation of flow requirements delivered to precise locations. This irrigation system uses less water and only waters the growing plants.

Drip irrigation is a more advanced garden watering system. That means it needs more fittings in order to make the necessary connections but provides even more efficient watering than a soaker hose and works well over large areas.

Home Irrigation Systems a Smart Choice with Limited Summer Water Supplies

Water matters to everyone. We need to be smart about using water sustainably, especially in summer when supplies can be limited.

Auckland can receive a lot of summer rainfall, leading gardeners to think they don’t need to worry about conserving water. In fact the opposite can be true. By conserving water when it’s plentiful you can help reduce or delay restrictions once the dry weather actually arrives.

Auckland gardeners who want to use water wisely in the garden should consider installing a home irrigation system. Smart watering is all about knowing how much your garden needs, when and where it needs water and what you can do to retain moisture in your soil.

That’s the benefit of automatic irrigation systems – they give you that high level of control over the amount of water you use, allowing for the proper amount of water to be distributed to the plants as they need it.

Automated irrigation using timing devices mean you can control the frequency and length of time the system runs. You can also use smart shut-off devices like rain or soil moisture sensors to ensure your automatic irrigation system doesn’t run when it’s not needed and save even more of that precious water this summer.

Irrigation Provides Greater Reliability

Using automated irrigation systems has many positive effects – for you, your garden, and as a  way of saving water. Irrigation systems make distributing water to your gardens easier and more reliable because they meter water volumes more precisely.

Irrigation can be set up to automatically deliver the right amount of water to the right plants when they need it, stopping and starting exactly as required. You no longer have to do it all manually.

When irrigation is set up with timing systems it is easy to operate it at night, minimising water loss from evaporation. You can also rely on an automated irrigation system to continue watering when you’re spending time away from home.

Irrigation comes into its own when it’s properly installed to distribute water to the garden and lawn in different zones. Each zone includes plants with similar water needs allowing for a very efficient reliable irrigation process.

If you’re interested to learn more about the benefits of a quality irrigation system, talk to specialists like the experienced Auckland based irrigation experts at Aqualight. The team at Aqualight will design and install reliable irrigation systems for the home lawn and garden, saving you time and money as well as supporting healthy plants.

What is the Best Garden Watering System for You?

When life gets busy or you’re away from home, installing a simple, automated watering system is an easy way to ensure your plants get watered. So how do you choose the best garden watering system for you?

The best design for an irrigation system will apply the precise amount of water required by each plant so there is no single irrigation system that will suit every different residential garden. To get the best watering system for your garden, it is the planning and design process that will determine its success.

At Aqualight we believe that by planning ahead with a good design strategy, you can implement an irrigation system that uses water responsibly as well as allowing your garden to flourish.

best garden watering system

Know Your Garden

Consider your garden’s soil type and climate. Note all the different areas of planting such as lawn, flower beds, hedges, vegetable gardens and fruit trees and whether they are densely or sparsely planted. Different parts of your garden will need different amounts of water, dictating different design approaches and irrigation products.

Calculate the Water Requirements

Once you have an understanding of each plant’s water requirements you can decide how often you’ll run your watering system and calculate the number and type of emission devices needed.

Lay out the System

The garden can now be broken up into different watering areas with an automatic irrigation controller to control the watering frequency to best suit each individual area. Choose the components that best fit your needs from mains powered controllers to battery controllers, Wi-Fi controllers and tap timers, pop-up sprinklers, micro sprayers and dripline systems.

At Aqualight we specialise in the design and installation of irrigation systems with the best emission devices and appropriate spacing, pressure, flow rate and filters for your garden.

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