Architect-designed home with customised automatic irrigation

Rosewood Irrigation Services of St Albans is seeing increasing interest from the residential sector for professional irrigation systems.

From small courtyard-style urban gardens to country houses, property owners are specifying Rosewood's irrigation systems for sustainability and conservation of water.

Homeowners who have employed garden design services are also looking to protect their investment by installing proper irrigation that will ensure their gardens continue to flourish.

Rosewood has chosen a high street location for its HQ and interest from passers-by has paid dividends. Rosewood invites potential customers to see the benefits of its irrigation systems through a purpose-designed living wall. “ An irrigation system can be up to 90% more efficient than traditional watering methods. We introduce our customers to state-of-the-art controllers and products that irrigate efficiently with minimal environmental impact,“ says Director, Andy Leaver.

This philosophy attracted the owners of a new architect-designed family home on a half acre plot. Following completion, the next step was to transform the clay and flint wilderness behind the property and the area to the front, into a landscaped family garden. Gilly Leach Garden Design was chosen as designer with The Landscape & Garden Company as the contractor.

The results fulfilled the aspirations of homeowners Mike and Eve, including the creation of a split-level fully-landscaped rear garden with a large grassed play area, corners of tranquility and the retention of some existing ornamental trees. On the lower level, a lawn, full-width patio, raised beds, perennial-filled borders, planters and contemporary water features provide a stunning display. To the front, a semi-circular landscaped area complements the sweeping driveway.

Keen to ensure that the new garden would remain vibrant for the forseeable future, Mike's internet search for irrigation led him to Rosewood Irrigation. “ I decided to go with Rosewood not only because they were a knowledgeable family-run business, but I was also impressed by Andy's background in civil engineering and water conservation. "

Rosewood has decided to use Rain Bird products exclusively, sourced through Landscape Watering Services.

An automatic irrigation system managed by Rain Bird's ESP- ME controller was designed. Surface dripline was specified for the flower beds and borders so that irrigation could be provided exactly where needed, close to plants' roots and minimising the risk of wastage through water run-off. 90º and 180º pop-up sprinklers work in tandem covering the grassed areas.

A Rain Bird Root Watering System protects investment in new pleached hornbeam screening, providing essential irrigation in the infancy of the trees' life.

The ESP-ME has provided the facility to create the 14 different irrigation zones with three different timed watering programs. “ These were essential with so many different plant and shrub varieties on-site; shaded areas and sunny locations; raised planters requiring more water; the need for overnight sprinkling of grassed areas and separate zoning for the sprinklers for highest efficiency,” says Andy. A Rain Bird rain sensor monitors rainfall levels and automatically overrides the controller to curtail irrigation cycles when appropriate.

" It is easy to set programs with the ESP-ME's dial control and the whole installation can also be conveniently managed by Mike on his smartphone/iPad using the Rain Bird app linked to the controller by the LNK Wifi system,” says Andy. With his previous experience of sustainable rainwater harvesting, Mike had installed a large tank at the property. It provides the predominant water source for the installation, and as it is only topped up by mains water, helps to minimise impact on water usage.

Rosewood worked alongside The Landscape & Garden Company, laying pipework at the correct time before walls and paths were constructed or trees planted. They ensured the surface dripline was positioned carefully to match the planting layout and undertook commissioning of the installation in stages as the garden was created. The early summer days of 2018 set the trend for some of the hottest days on record that would follow. “It was vital that young plants in their bedding in phase and new lawns were well irrigated and Rosewood ensured this was the case,” says Mike.

The owners remain delighted with the garden design, landscaping and the irrigation system: “Investment in the irrigation paid for itself in one season and in 2019 we have continued to benefit as the gardens continue to flourish. It was a challenging project and good communication between all parties was key to its success. “

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