Question: irrigating a new community garden
Hey GardenWeb folks,
My name is Patrick Meighan, and I live in Culver City, CA (West Los Angeles). My neighbors and I are in the process of setting up an organic community garden in an unused space in the rear of our communally-owned townhouse complex. The puzzle we're currently trying to unlock is irrigation. Specifically, doing irrigation on the cheap. I thought perhaps someone here may possibly have some wisdom to share, so here's our sitch...
We are fortunate enough to have access to a water source on our property that runs near our future garden area, and our plan is to tap into that water source and run some subterranean pipe from there into the garden, where we'd have 4 hose bibs spread out amongst the 13 garden plots. But because cost is a factor, we'd like to do this in as thrifty a fashion as possible.
The first landscaping plumber we brought in for an estimate quoted us something in the $4,000 range for parts, labor, digging, making the connection, the whole bit. Too rich for our blood.
When the second landscaping plumber came in, we asked for an estimate that assumed that we, the gardeners, would pre-dig the pipe trenches, and that all he'd have to do is bring the pipe, lay it in, connect it to the water source (complete with a dedicated meter and any other required hardware), and install the hose bibs. For that he quoted us $1,500. That's getting closer, but we'd still like to make it even yet more cost effective, if possible, which has us thinking DIY thoughts.
Here's the problem: none of us really has any plumbing experience.
So here's my question: do you think it would be advisable (and cost-effective) for us novice, no-plumbing-experience gardeners to dig the pipe trenches ourselves AND purchase the pipe and hose bibs ourselves AND even lay the pipe and connect the hose bibs ourselves and then simply call in a professional plumber to make the connection to our water source (complete with a meter, and any other hardware necessary, like a backflow valve)? My hope is that doing the above would save us a lot of money and shrink our plumber's bill down to just a couple hundred bucks. My fear, though, is that our ignorance of the plumbing basics would cause us to make irredeemable mistakes, like buying the wrong type of pipe (i.e., PVC instead of copper, or vice versa), or buying the wrong size of pipe (i.e., too wide, or too narrow), or digging the wrong type of trench (too deep, or too shallow), or some other novice mistake that'll cost us untold amounts of time and money to correct after the fact.
So I turn to y'all for advice.
If anyone here can possibly give us some pointers on our irrigation quest (or perhaps refer us to someone else who can), we here at the (soon to be inaugurated) Rancho Higuera Community Garden would be forever in your debt.
Thanks so much for any wisdom or referrals y'all can spare,
Culver City, CA