When it comes to landscape design, people spend a lot of time and money placing ornamental plants, trees, grass, and so on. On top of that, it also costs money to maintain and fertilize the lawn just to create a beautiful environment in your home. And when we talk about maintaining the lawn, one of the rather tedious tasks is watering the gardens and lawns during the hot summer months and not to mention that it can also increase water bills!
Fortunately, there is a way to reduce the water bills significantly by switching away from the municipal water system and digging your own irrigation well! When we compare the costs of water from your own well vs. the municipal water, it becomes clear that the former is the cost-effective solution over the long run.
Irrigation Well - Explained
Irrigation well provides a water source for the homeowners which can be connected to the garden sprinkler systems or lawn sprinkler systems - Basically, the water from the irrigation well is perfectly suitable for any use outside the home. And the best part is that since you are drawing your own water from the ground, you do not have to use the municipal water system.
Without any doubt, one of the top benefits of digging your own well is that it lowers the water bill, thus saving you money. However, it is best to rely on a professional service to drill/dig your own well, and trying to do it without sufficient knowledge can lead to a big hole in your garden! So yes, unless you know how to dig your own well, it is best to leave it to the professionals!
Can I Dig A Well on My Property?
If you have enough room in your house or property, then you can definitely dig/drill a well on your property. To dig/drill a well, a lot of heavy equipment and machinery are required. That's why there needs to be enough room for all that machinery to go in and out of your home/property.
Another factor to consider before digging a well in your home is any future renovation or expansions. Once a well is drilled, it cannot be moved and will take some room in your home as well. So if you plan to make some expansions in the near future, then you need to keep that in mind as well.
The distance between the irrigation system and the home also plays a vital role when we think about this question... In general, a greater distance means that it will be more expensive to dig a well since more pipes and excavation will be required.
Last but not least, you also have to look up the local regulations related to well digging/drilling to ensure you are not breaking any laws. In general, digging wells is allowed as long as certain building regulations and local laws are followed.
Different Types of Irrigation Wells
There are two types of irrigation wells:
- Shallow Wells
- Bedrock Wells
Any well that is dug less than 50 feet deep is a shallow well - The actual depth of the shallow well depends on how deep the groundwater is present. That's why in many areas, shallow wells are only dug for 20-30 feet max before the groundwater is reached. For a normal-sized garden, a shallow well is more than enough and is more affordable.
On the other hand, bedrock wells are dug deeper and get water from the aquifers. For big lawns/gardens, a shallow well may not be enough, and that's where bedrock wells come into play.
Despite the difference between the depth of a shallow well and a bedrock well, both provide 10 gallons of water/minute. But a shallow well may run dry much sooner than a bedrock well if it is used extensively - On the other hand, bedrock wells can last for a long period of time but costs more money.
How to Dig a Well for Sprinkler System
Let's look at the steps involved in digging a well for the sprinkler system:
1. Getting Started
Use the pins or the bolts that come with the auger system and connect the pole with the hand auger bucket. Use the same method to connect the handle with the pole as well. Normally, poles will easily slide into the bucket, handle, or another pole's handle.
Bolt or pins also slide through the provided holes to properly secure all the pieces of the auger system.
2. Start Drilling
Now move the hand auger bucket to the specified location where you plan to drill the irrigation well. Twist the handle so that the bucket can start digging into the soil - All you have to do is to keep twisting the auger until the auger bucket is full of the soil. Once it is full, remove the hand auger from the soil and empty its content into a bucket or on the ground.
It is recommended to empty the soil and other content into a plastic sheeting or a bucket as it will make it easy to clean afterward.
3. Add New Poles
As the depth increases, install additional poles to the hand auger in order to continue the process. You may need to add multiple poles to continue digging the well until you reach the desired depth. For a normal sprinkler system for an average garden/lawn, a shallow well is more than enough, which means that you will not have to dig much deeper.
4. Install Well Materials
After assembling the well materials, screw the casing into the top of the screen and the well point into the bottom portion. Install the well cap on the top side to ensure that no material gets inside the casing as well as the screen.
Now, insert the assembled well materials into the wellhole (borehole) in such a way that the well point reaches the bottom of the hole.
5. Place Sand
Place sand in the space between the borehole wall and the outside of the screen until a height of 2 feet is achieved (when compared to the depth of the screen).
If the well screen is 15 feet below the ground surface, then the sand that should be placed must extend at least 13-14 feet below the ground. For a more accurate measurement, you can also use a measuring tape to calculate the sand height. But when you are using a measuring tape, ensure that no sand is poured on the tape as it will eventually be buried.
6. Add Pellets/Bentonite Chips
Now pour pellets/bentonite chips on top of the sand we placed earlier. Once it is placed, add a bucket of water to the same space to properly hydrate the pellets/bentonite - Now, wait for at least an hour to ensure that the sand is sealed and the bentonite clay properly swells as well.
7. Finishing the Well
Now all that's left is to fill the remaining space with a good quality grout - Mix the water and grout mix in a bucket and pour the mixed material via a PVC pipe (1-inch size) using a funnel. This will ensure that all the opening (bottom to the top) is properly filled with the grout mix.
In the end, finish the process by adding a well cover to protect the well pump and the casing.
Now you can connect your sprinkler system with the well and use the groundwater for your lawn/garden or for any other purpose.
Irrigation Wells FAQs
Let's look at some of the frequently asked questions related to irrigation wells:
- How much does an irrigation well cost?
It depends on the location as well as the type of irrigation well required. On average, it can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 (USD) - Although the initial cost is a little high, it pays for itself in no time in the form of lower water bills!
- What is the ideal depth of irrigation well?
It depends on which type of irrigation well is required for your location. As mentioned earlier, shallow wells are not dug much deeper, while bedrock wells are dug deeper. Another factor that is used in deciding the depth of an irrigation well is the depth of the groundwater in your area.
- Are irrigation wells safe for the environment?
Yes, irrigation wells are safe for the environment since they don't draw a lot of water. On top of that, all the watering on the lawn/garden eventually finds its way back into the ground anyway, which means that irrigation wells are not disruptive to the environment.