Irrigation Part 1 – Success!

1st milestone in the The Plan has been met!  In the past a project like this would have overwhelmed me and one of 2 things would have happened.  1)  Overplan (procrastinate) to the point of needing to skip it entirely or I’ll miss the planting season; 2)  Decide it’s mandatory (can’t skip it), think about hiring it out, become overwhelmed with that prospect (choosing a service, money, etc…), and delay the entire yard project for yet another year.

Mini-Project Name:   Irrigation Part 1 – Backbone

Goal: Install PVC Sub-Main for Drip System


  1. Stop procrastinating and actually do the hard work of laying a foundation for watering (I’ll be so so happy later)
  2. More efficient use of water
  3. Ability to connect to rain collection system
  4. Save time watering!

Irrigation Part 1:

I have to say I feel quite proud of myself!  Next up today I tackle raised bed building!

The Plan

The Plan – Next Two Months

Since I’m starting in my own backyard, I have a lot of projects to fit into a relatively small window of time if I expect to actually grow anything this summer.  Below is a schedule of the next two months and “the vision” of what I hope to accomplish.  The bits in blue are my “critical path” tasks and the bits in orange are a few projects I’m running in parallel.  There is a solar workshop this weekend I want to attend to help me assess whether or not my site is conducive to solar (I really hope it is…).  I also started seeds (only about 250 plants!) that I need to get into the ground by mid-ish May (right now they are all in my dining room and kitchen windows).

The Schedule:  Next Two Months

Thanks to Visio, I’ve crudely drawn out “The Vision). The drawing below shows all of the elements I outlined in the Starting In My Own Backyard post.

“The Vision”

The Plan – Next 7 Days:

In the next week I need to get my site cleared, my irrigation “backbone” in place (underground PVC system that will feed the above ground drip system), and I need to procure the materials for the raised beds (which means I also need to finalize the raised bed design).  This plan is ambitious, but I did get a bit of a start the last two days – I took vacation days Monday and Tuesday since it was sunny and cleared the site.

Site Clearing:

The time-consuming portion of this task was the “rescues”.  I had 40 sq. ft. of healthy “Snow on the Mountain” plants, a russian sage, some star jasmine, about 8 sq. ft. of Vinca Major groundcover, and various herbs that needed to be relocated.  I potted all the herbs (about 12 plants were saved) and Russian Sage and placed along the south wall of the garage, and moved the “Snow” out to the driveway planting strips, and the Vinca Groundcover to the existing rain garden.  I’m soooo sore…but very happy with the overall rescue operation.  Keep in mind…these were all basically “left for dead” last fall.

“Snow” move was a success!
“Rescue Wall”

Irrigation System:

The image below on the right is the planned “final state” irrigation system, with the backbone (bits in red) and the drip system (bits in blue) shown…but I really only need to dig the trenches for the backbone this week.

Left Image: “Future State” Irrigation System with Drip; Right Image: Inground PVC “Backbone”

I just need to dig ~100 ft of linear trenching…The goal is to get the irrigation system in place by the 15th so I can start building raised beds.

Raised Beds:

I haven’t found the perfect design online but I have found elements of a few designs I really like.  I want to incorporate corrugated metal, since that is a design theme in my backyard, and I want the warm look of wood.  My plan is to combine the trim elements I like from the design on the left, with the corrugated panel and framing shown in the image on the right.

Left Image: 4′ x 4′ Design from Lowes
Right Image: 8′ x 4′ Design from Artesian Land Arts (Portland)

Materials List:

Since I don’t need to trim-out the raised beds when I 1st build them, I will only focus on building the core frame so I can then get soil in them ASAP.  I plan to build 6 beds of 3 different sizes.

4 – 8′ x 4′ Boxes, 1 – 4′ x 4′ Box, 1 – 6′ x 4′ Box, 1 – 12′ x 3′ box

I’m guessing the 8′ x 4′ beds are going to come in around $120 for just the framing & siding…I’m hoping all 7 new beds come in around or less than $800 before the trim and soil.  It’s amazing how quickly the hardware bits (lag bolts and screws) adds up!

OK – now that I’ve officially “published” my plan I better get to work!