A Look into How Irrigation Systems are Designed in Australia

Irrigation systems in Australian landscapes are crucial to keeping lawns and gardens healthy and thriving. After all, plants in your landscape need adequate water to thrive. Moreover, with the restricted water availability, developing a water-wise and efficient irrigation plan is a must to ensure that no drop is wasted. But how exactly are these systems designed? Let’s explore this topic further below.

What is an Irrigation System?

An irrigation system is a network of fixed pipes, valves, and sprinklers designed to help conserve water by delivering the right amount of water at the right time to your landscape. It helps reduce wastage and improves efficiency in how much water you use in landscaping. 

Types of Irrigation Systems

There are four main types of irrigation systems used in landscapes. These include spray irrigation, drip irrigation, and surface irrigation. Each system works differently, but they all have the same purpose: to deliver water where it’s needed without wasting it. 

Spray Irrigation Systems – Spray systems use a sprinkler or nozzle to distribute water in a spray or mist form. With this system, you can control the sprayers’ range and strength. It is the most common type of irrigation system used in landscapes and parks. It’s also best suited for vast spaces like lawns and large garden beds.

Surface Irrigation Systems – Also called flood irrigation, surface irrigation systems are primarily used in smaller properties. It is also the most traditional watering method as it involves applying water to the soil surface and letting it trickle down into the root systems. You can do this using a hose, a watering can or a hose with a sprinkler attachment. However, this method is highly inefficient and labour-intensive since water is unevenly distributed and requires constant maneuvering.

closeup of drip irrigation system

Drip Irrigation Systems – Drip systems use pipes with drippers to deliver water directly to the soil at specific points. It helps reduce wastage by ensuring that only the required amount of water gets delivered to a particular area rather than the entire landscape. It is best suited for perennial and vegetable gardens, but it can also be used to water shrubs and trees.

Blended Systems – This system combines drip and sprinkler systems in different areas of the landscape. Doing so significantly reduces water waste, as each zone gets just the right amount of water.

What is an Irrigation Designer?

An irrigation designer is a professional that is responsible for designing and installing irrigation systems for landscapes and agricultural properties. They know the best way to use water to have an efficient, effective system. 

Are Landscapers also Irrigation Designers?

Yes and no. That’s because not all landscapers are also irrigation designers. Landscapers focus more on the aesthetic aspects of a landscape, such as plants, trees and other features. They may also have some knowledge about irrigation systems and can install them. However, irrigation experts work with the newest technology to design efficient and water-wise irrigation plans that consider every aspect of a landscape. 

Then again, some landscapers can also be irrigation experts. So, if you plan to get landscaping services, check if the experts you are considering also offer reticulation services. This way, you won’t have to hire separate contractors, and planning can be done simultaneously. 

How Do Landscapers Come Up with an Irrigation Plan?

When creating an irrigation plan, reticulation designers and architects rely on industry design standards and codes of practice to develop suitable irrigation designs. Apart from that, they also consider various factors, such as:

Soil Type

The soil type can significantly impact how much water is needed and how it should be distributed. For instance, sandy soil requires closer spacing since water drains through the sand. On the other hand, clay soil requires wider spacing since water travels laterally on clay. Then again, the spacing also depends on the type of reticulation system you have.


landscaper installing plants

Different plants require different amounts of water, so it’s essential to consider this when designing an irrigation system. By doing so, irrigation designers can ensure that none of the plants become over or underwatered.

Grass Type:  The grass in the landscape also affects how much water is needed and where it should be distributed. For instance, some types of grass require more water than others. 

Plant Zoning:  Plant zoning is vital to consider when creating an irrigation plan. Dividing the plants into certain zones helps determine which type of irrigation system should be used and how they should be spaced out.

System Type

This factor is ultimately up to the landscape owner, and they can choose between a manual or automated system. Manual systems are cheaper, and a fully automated reticulation costs more initially. But if property owners choose an automated system, they will reap long-term benefits, and their convenience is unparalleled.  

Manual System: This system is the most affordable option, but it also requires more hands-on management daily. That’s because you turn on the tap when you want to use it and turn it off when you think the area has had enough water. Moreover, you will need a manifold to allow individual watering in different zones.

Tap Timer: Reminiscent of egg timer styles, his system is quite inexpensive, but they also reduce the flow rate of your system, which means you might need to reduce the number of spray heads you use within a particular zone in your system. A manifold is also required for this type of system.

Automatic System: This is the most expensive type of watering system, but it is also the most convenient as it allows you to water your landscape any time, wherever you are. You can also add a rain sensor, so the system automatically shuts off when it rains.

Outdoor Irrigation Guidelines for Efficient Use of Water

closeup of rotating automatic sprinkler

Irrigation Equipment

When using drip irrigation for lawns, ensure that the installation has been certified. Moreover, use a timer to operate an irrigation system and set it for a maximum of two hours. The system can also be linked to moisture or rain sensors.

Watering Requirements

Water only when needed. Don’t water when it’s expected to rain or when it’s already raining. Ensure the reticulation system only waters plants and grass (not pathways and buildings). 

Why is It Important to Follow Irrigation Guidelines?

Following irrigation design standards and codes of practice is crucial because it helps ensure that water is used efficiently, which in turn reduces wastage. It means that property owners will save money on their water bills. 

It is also essential to follow irrigation guidelines to prevent plant diseases caused by overwatering or underwatering plants and grass. Furthermore, proper irrigation will help ensure that landscapes remain attractive and well-maintained. 

Overall, following industry standards, guidelines, and codes of practice is essential for creating a safe, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing landscape irrigation system. By doing so, property owners can rest assured that their designs are compliant with the minimum requirements and that their landscapes will thrive.

Water Your Lawns Efficiently with Green Oasis Lawn and Reticulation

Your irrigation system will only be as good as the people you choose to design. As such, ensure you only select trusted professionals for the job. Our expert team at Green Oasis Lawn and Reticulation is always ready to provide residential and commercial lawn owners with well-designed and water-wise lawn irrigation systems. So if you ever need irrigation in Perth, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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We are a team of dedicated turf and irrigation professionals with over 15 years of experience. A family business, we are passionate about our work. We strive to provide a uniquely personable service built on excellent client relations and unparalleled attention to detail.

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