Drip Irrigation and Backflow Prevention
Yes it's that time to seriously start thinking about the yard and garden. With drought comes new ways of looking at garden design.
Many of us are going to "xeric gardening". Myself I'm leaning towards automating my garden for less work out in the heat.
Installing drip irrigation and automatic sprinklers is a great time and labor saver...after the initial installation. (ugh)
I found a great how-to web site on do-it-yourself irrigation. Lowes and some sprinkler manufactures have their own how to do it with their products info. Some will design your system for you if you send them your yard dimensions. That's nice, but check this site out first to give you a more knowledgable base to make these labor intensive and expensive yard irrigation decisions.
Another VERY important part of installing an irrigation system is backflow prevention. Underground lawn sprinkler systems usually require a permit from the city. They will specify the kind of backflow prevention device they require.
For drip irrigation systems the city may not require a permit.
No permit does not mean backflow protection is not necessary. Backflow protection keeps the water in your house safe. For instance on toilets, all the new ballcocks/flushvalves have a vacuum breaking device. This is because prior to this people were getting blue ice cubes, intestinal problems etc. They were drinking their toilet water because of backflow.
Do you want to drink dog poop, fertilizer, pesticides? Then install a backflow preventer. Yes, even on a drip irrigation system. At the very least have a vacuum breaker on your hose bibb and a cheap pvc check valve on your discharge line to your irrigation system. This will sometimes protect you.
My two favorites are a "double check" backflow preventor. (Technically it needs to be tested every year and I differ with the web site author). And the best bang for the buck, the PVD vacuum breaker. Note it MUST be installed atleast 6 inches higher than the highest point of your irrigation system or it will not work.
Here is a link explaining backflow devices.
Hope you find this info helpful. Now here are some gratuatious photos of birds I have snapped recently.