While drip irrigation was designed with commercial agriculture in mind, millions have already discovered the advantages of this type of irrigation system which applies water equally well to landscaping trees, shrubs, and container plants. Accurate amounts of water can be applied to the root zone of each plant. Water is kept off windows, sidewalks, and driveways, and plants receive the water that they need to flourish. A common problem in landscape design has been that plants with different water requirements could not be planted together. Drip irrigation overcomes this problem by allowing different amounts of water to be delivered to different plants in the same area.
If the entire area being irrigated is to be set up in one system (i.e. water will be supplied by one valve), multiple or higher output emitters can be placed by the plants which require more water. A preferable solution is to set-up multiple systems, with plants that have similar watering needs being placed on the same system. This allows large plants, such as trees, to get the deep watering they require, while allowing the frequent shallow watering that small ornamentals prefer.
Lines can be buried or mulched to hide them from view. Emitters, however, should not be buried, but can be brought to the surface by either bringing the main polyethylene hose to the surface wherever the emitters are attached to the hose, or by attaching a small adaptor and tubing to the main line, and inserting the emitter, leaving only the emitter above ground.
Small “Mini-Sprays,” are also useful in mixed landscape areas. A common design is to water the ground cover between shrubs with “Mini-Sprays,” while adding extra water near the base of each shrub with drip emitters. Another good use of “Mini-Sprays” is to water small plants or ground cover growing among rocks or bricks.
The flexibility of drip irrigation allows the removal of an individual emitter or a spray from a system and replacing it with a “goof” plug or to add new emitters or entire lines to a system with little worry about design. If a line is accidentally cut, it can be easily repaired with a coupling.