So many projects – everything from laying turf to constructing driveways and patios, footpaths and timber decks, present potential future problems when fitting extra ‘garden’ features requiring connections if consideration is not given to the installation, at the time of construction, to enabling the wires, cables and piping to be fitted speculatively.
Irrigation, including hosepipes and low volume drippers, lighting schemes, water features and fountains, water stand pipes and power points are just a few of the possible additions the home owner may wish to consider in the future. (Indeed, if you mention the provision of a method of conduit and the benefits of installation, you may end up with more work fitting these items during your visit)
My method and choice of conduit is simple but very effective. I use plastic waste pipe, available from most Builders Merchants in two metre lengths. Costing around £3.00 per metre, using a 40mm pipe with a 32mm inserted in the same way as the segments of a telescope, it is easy to ‘build’ a four metre length. To add extra length, simply add another 40mm outside the 32mm and keep repeating until you have sufficient length. If you take the lengths to their maximum, it is essential to use a plastic adhesive during the operation, to prevent any splitting apart of the length.
To make life easy, draw strings may be inserted during the operation, one length at a time, and if you wish to, you can either colour code the strings, or fix different types of ‘handle’ to each length to ensure the correct string is pulled. Using the 32mm internal pipe, it is easy to fit an 18mm hose plus three or four low volume lighting cables within the same conduit. (Cables first, water pipe last)
Simply bury the ends of the draw strings at the entry and exit points of the conduit until they are required. Always use strong, thin, plastic string (builders’ lines) as these are not prone to rot.
I charge £20.00 per metre for the provision and installation of these conduits, which is very little to pay for peace of mind for the future. A five metre run equals 2 x 40mm pipes and I x 32mm pipe – total cost £18.00, and taking a few minutes to fit. Try undermining a footpath to install a cable and it may take hours!
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