Irrigation Installation & Maintenance Time Savers

Written by Jack Stone

Irrigation Installation & Maintenance Time Savers Article by Jack Stone Copyright 2003 by ProGardenBiz ProGardenBiz, an online magazine

Overrepparttar last few years some clever people have come up with some clever ideas to make your irrigation installation, maintenance, and repair jobs a heck of a lot easier. Installing and maintaining an irrigation system is one ofrepparttar 100182 primary jobs for any landscape contractor or grounds maintenance business.

First, there was PVC pipe, followed by electric valves and controllers. Then someone invented electronic controllers and some other guy inventedrepparttar 100183 PVC pipe cutter. What more could there be? A number of things actually and more new ones coming along everyday.

In this article we'll examine several ofrepparttar 100184 products that have been developed to make your irrigation maintenance, repair, and installation jobs easier.

The most common irrigation repair isrepparttar 100185 replacement of broken risers. The elimination of this problem can be solved in several ways. Stakingrepparttar 100186 riser to a piece of re-bar has long been a favorite solution to shrub riser breaks. Some have even tried encasing pop-ups in a concrete collar.

There are several products available today that aid inrepparttar 100187 solution of broken risers. AMS Plastics produces a variety of "flex" nipples. These nipples are constructed out of flexible polypropylene and polyethylene. Most are 1/2" by 6" and some can be shortened to 3" by cutting off 1/2" sections of unwanted threads. Another variety of flex-nipples are composed of a rubber body with female PVC threads at either ends coming in a variety of lengths. One company produces a nipple made of rubber with PVC threaded ends exceptrepparttar 100188 body is wrapped in a steel spring. These solutions are each effective in their particular environment, but what about a solution to chronic breakage?

The answer came inrepparttar 100189 form of a composite unit calledrepparttar 100190 swing joint assembly. The swing joint assembly allowed a kicked nipple or stepped on head to "swing" away fromrepparttar 100191 force ofrepparttar 100192 impact via rotation along threaded connections. The first of these had to be constructed with four street ells and a nipple. First,repparttar 100193 fitting inrepparttar 100194 lateral line ofrepparttar 100195 irrigation system had to be installed with its threaded end pointing sideways instead of straight up. If you were installing a shrub riserrepparttar 100196 following procedure was followed: Thread a marlex street ell intorepparttar 100197 fitting, another marlex street ell intorepparttar 100198 first one , and thenrepparttar 100199 nipple. If you were installing a lawn pop-up you would follow this procedure: A marlex street ell was threaded intorepparttar 100200 fitting, followed by a SCH 40 street ell, then a nipple of desired length, another SCH 40 street ell, and a final marlex street ell. The head was threaded ontorepparttar 100201 the last street ell,repparttar 100202 whole construction was twisted and rotated to insurerepparttar 100203 head was atrepparttar 100204 desired depth, andrepparttar 100205 hole was back filled. That's a lot of work. If you were installing a new systemrepparttar 100206 vast number of extra fittings and constructions could be bothersome at least. As a solution to that "bother" KBI, (King Brothers Industries), created a product calledrepparttar 100207 "Triple Swing Assembly". This is a pre-made swing joint assembly. Movement in all directions is still achieved, but best of all, it comes as a single unit! The need forrepparttar 100208 handling of many extra fittings is eliminated as well asrepparttar 100209 bother of on-site construction.

The second most common head "repair" problem isrepparttar 100210 replacement of stolen or "missing" heads. You know what a "missing" head is don't you? It's a head that decided "all on its own" to become part of someone else's irrigation system. KBI has two products that go a long way to reducing head theft.

The first product is called "Head-Lok". Made of SCH 80 PVC and available in 1/2", 3/4" and 1" sizes these fittings make it nearly impossible for someone to unscrew a pop-up and walk off with it. The Head-Lok is a short nipple with male/female threaded ends that swivels around it's middle. The male end is threaded intorepparttar 100211 fitting onrepparttar 100212 pipe andrepparttar 100213 head nipple is threaded intorepparttar 100214 female end ofrepparttar 100215 Head-Lok. Any attempt to removerepparttar 100216 head causesrepparttar 100217 female threaded end to rotate whilerepparttar 100218 male threaded end remains securely fitted torepparttar 100219 pipe fitting. Removal of a pop-up requiresrepparttar 100220 thief to dig a hole and removerepparttar 100221 head with two wrenches.

The second product is called "Impact Head-Lok". This is a short galvanized F X F threaded nipple in 1/2", 3/4", and 1" sizes. The Impact Head-Lok is installed betweenrepparttar 100222 sprinkler head andrepparttar 100223 lateral line. Two socket set screws atrepparttar 100224 upper ends ofrepparttar 100225 side ofrepparttar 100226 Impact Head-Lok are tightened with an allen wrench. The socket set screws are tightened againstrepparttar 100227 threads ofrepparttar 100228 impact head andrepparttar 100229 head nipple thus preventing quick and easy removal by thieves or vandals.

For making repairs of lateral and main line breaks there are a series of products called compression fittings. They are available in many sizes and styles. The most common isrepparttar 100230 compression coupling. There are also compression tees with or without threads, as well as threaded and slip adapters.

KBI has developed a product alongrepparttar 100231 idea of a compression coupling called "Quick-Fix". The major difference betweenrepparttar 100232 Quick-Fix andrepparttar 100233 standard quick coupler is that Quick-Fix has telescoping pipe on either side with ends like attached slip couplings. You simply loosenrepparttar 100234 adjustment nuts at both ends, adjustrepparttar 100235 telescoping ends torepparttar 100236 desired length, gluerepparttar 100237 ends torepparttar 100238 pipe, and tightenrepparttar 100239 adjusting nuts.

AMS Plastics has developed a product called "Slip-Fix". It's a telescoping coupling with slip fitting-type ends. The body ofrepparttar 100240 Slip-Fix seals itself with a compression coupling-type seal. The Slip-Fix eliminatesrepparttar 100241 problems of "backing off" and is available with a threaded adapter thus becoming an inexpensive union for valve replacement.

You've probably all hadrepparttar 100242 joy of replacing valves, especially one located inrepparttar 100243 middle of a large and complex valve manifold. You probably also discovered how nice it would have been if all those valves had been installed with threaded unions or Slip-Fixes haven't you? And how aboutrepparttar 100244 job of valve manifold reconstruction or even initial construction?

Creative Landscaping with Railroad Ties

Written by Jack Stone

Creative Landscaping with Railroad Ties Article by Jack Stone Copyright 2003 by ProGardenBiz ProGardenBiz, an online magazine

Did you know that people are still using railroad ties for all sorts of decorative and functional purposes throughout their landscapes? You didn't? Well, where have you been? Railroad ties are used by landscape contractors as a main design component of landscaping both homes and businesses. The use of railroad ties make work easier for grounds maintenance.

Before we talk about allrepparttar great things you can do with railroad ties let's talk about how easy and inexpensive they are to use when compared to various brick and block structures. The nicest thing about railroad ties isrepparttar 100181 ease with which they can be used. It requires much less skill to construct a retaining wall of ties than one of block. For one thing you don't have to be overly concerned about perfectly straight lines. While railroad ties may cost as much as brick or block per square foot to purchase they cost only 1/4threpparttar 100182 time in labor to install. Consider how much money that could save, especially if you have to subcontract outrepparttar 100183 brick or block work to a mason.

Creative uses of railroad ties are limited only by your imagination. They can be stacked horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. They can be staggered front to back or top to bottom. They can border lawns as a mowing strip or set off ground cover from gravel beds. They can be used as risers for stairs or as terraces on a slope. -

How about a walkway or driveway? How about a fence? Stand them upright and spaced 3" to 6" apart. Or, stand them upright on a diagonal so that from one angle they appear to be a solid wall but from another afford a view. Cut them into 2 foot lengths and create a basket weave walkway. Why stop there? How about a jumbled collection of short sections stacked amongst some boulders or to frame a flower bed? Have a steep hill that's slowly washing away? Terrace it with a series of short retaining walls. Tired ofrepparttar 100184 boring expanse of iceplant on a slope? Break it up with groupings of railroad ties.

Separate irrigation areas (i.e. lawns, flower beds, and trees). Stand one upright and stick a mail box on it or a concrete seagull! Better yet you can make some real nice walkway lights. Use railroad ties to define- water effects like ponds or fountains. Ties can be integrated into waterscapes as well as landscapes.

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