Domestic Subsurface Irrigation

Domestic Subsurface Irrigation Systems

 Subsurface Drip Irrigation (what is it)

Domestic Subsurface drip irrigation better knows as (SDI) applies water to the root zone of the turf using buried polyethylene tubing.

The drip tube comes in different diameters in order to maintain acceptable irrigation uniformity. Smaller tube like 13mm is used for short runs up to 60 meters in domestic subsurface systems. Where 16mm is used mainly for commercial subsurface irrigation applications.


The main advantage of subsurface irrigation over other types of irrigation is that it is more efficient. I order to archive this it must be properly designed, installed and managed. Only then it can be more efficient than other forms of irrigation.

Burial Depth:

The aim of the irrigation system is to apply the water efficiently to the root zone. Therefore the depth of burial is determined by the root zone depth. some water from the emitter will travel upwards (by capillary action), some sideways, but the majority of water will travel downwards (under gravity).

The drip tube installed below the root zone will waste the majority of water it applies. Drip tube installed too close to the surface runs the risk of water ‘breaking” through to the surface.

This will cause uneven evaporation losses (in-efficient watering) and promote weed growth and lawn diseases.

Soil Type            Line Spacing            Drip Spacing              Depth

  Medium Sand              30cm                           30cm                        100mm

  Loam                           30cm                           30cm                        100mm

  Clay Loam                   40cm                           40cm                        100mm

domestic subsurface irrigation incorrectly installed

Incorrectly Installed Tube

Domestic subsurface irrigation installed like this will only encourage shallow roots and runs the high risk of water breaking through the surface.

Drip-line Placement from Edges:

Consideration of drip-line location is necessary when laying out zone edges. Hardscape materials act as heat collectors and cause turf edges to dry out before the center of the turf, making it essential to compensate by placing the first drip-line no more than 50mm -100mm from the turf edge.

domestic subsurface irrigation grass

So if you are thinking about subsurface irrigation for your lawns, come and talk the people that know the correct way to do it.

We can design, supply and if you cannot install it, we can arrange for that as well.