Garden Irrigation & the Tale of a Tail

The garden irrigation ‘project’ has been on the ‘to-do’ list for a while — since about a week before the ground hog ate my entire garden last year and overnight, the irrigation project became irrelevant.

irrigation project

But with all the materials in hand and a page and a half of scrawled instruction notes from my most highly recommended irrigation contractor friend in the Boston area I set out to get ‘er done so that my veg patch has a chance of  being every bit as beautiful when I return from vacation as it is now.

I lasted about 15 minutes.  My notes may as well have been in french, wires and pipes and eluded me, and I was forced to cry mercy.

I had more than one goal with this project, the garden needs water, but I need to learn new stuff….but struggling to the point of wanting to kick the dog doesn’t teach me anything but bad stress management.

Graciously, my friend, the best irrigation contractor in Boston sent over a couple guys to help and they didn’t mind me tagging along like a little sister looking over their shoudlers and trying to learn a few things.

installing irrigation

Here is what I learned:

1) Very specific jobs like these are always so much more pleasant when you have the right tools.  They had crass tampers (to replace the dug up areas), the just right epoxy for the pipes, clamping tools, rubber mallets and more.   Had I done it myself, I would have spent hours searching for the just wrong tool to do the job not quite right.  I hate that feeling.

grass tamper tool

2) Irrigation isn’t that tricky — if you know what you are doing.  If you have a Rube Goldberg sort of mind…you stand a chance…Otherwise — forget about it.  Hire a pro.

And finally – 3) dead mice stink.  Our final act as installers was to test the system; run it through its paces. We made 4 zones and 1-3 tested perfectly.  But zone 4 gave us nothing.  Back tracking, the guys knew exactly where to look for a problem (hint – look first where the pipes merge from one size to a smaller size).

We all had smelled something as we worked (but you know how people are with funny smells….you just don’t say anything).  I thought it was the remnants of my seaweed fertilizer from a few days prior – who knows what the guys thought.

Turns out the pipe was plugged with a dead mouse who clearly thought the coiled hoses made for a cosy resting place.

dead mouse in an irrigation pipe

Yes, that is his tail sticking out of the pipe — unfortunately mistaken by Adam for a twig.   So thankful the guys were there and I wasn’t left to deal with that on my own.



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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

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