What Is Reticulation?

Reticulation vs Irrigation

Reticulation, essentially a synonym for irrigation, is often referred to in Perth to describe watering systems for people’s lawns and gardens. These systems, which can range from simple to complex, typically consist of an interconnected network of pipes, sprays, drippers, and more. They serve the purpose of efficiently watering specific areas.

In Perth, Western Australia, we use reticulation to nourish our gardens due to the hot and dry climate, receiving little rainfall over the summer months. For instance, as I’m writing this blog, it’s 40° – very hot. Very little survives without water, and with people leading busy lives, having an automated irrigation or reticulation system has become as essential as air conditioning and refrigerators. Who has time to spend hand-watering every day?

The term “reticulation,” in its broadest sense, refers to the arrangement forming a net or network. Its irrigation application is a more specific use of the term, which has evolved over time. Historically, “reticulation” has been used in various contexts to describe a network-like pattern or arrangement, which can be seen in biology (to describe network-like structures in organisms), in art and design (to describe patterns), and in engineering (to describe network systems).

The use of “reticulation” as a synonym for irrigation likely stems from the concept of a reticulated network, which is a system of interconnected lines or pathways. In the context of irrigation, this refers to the distribution network that delivers water from a source to the fields or areas where it is needed. The term captures the essence of an irrigation system, which is essentially a network of water channels, pipes, or tubes designed to distribute water efficiently across a landscape.

Reticulation vs Irrigation

The History of Reticulation and Irrigation

Historically, the development of irrigation systems can be traced back thousands of years, with early civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley developing sophisticated methods to control water for agriculture. However, the specific use of “reticulation” to describe these systems is a more modern linguistic development. It reflects the engineering and design aspect of creating an efficient and extensive network for water distribution.

While it’s challenging to pinpoint the exact moment when “reticulation” began to be used specifically in the context of irrigation without access to historical linguistic databases or specific etymological studies, it’s clear that the term’s application to irrigation systems is a natural extension of its original meanings related to network patterns and systems.

The evolution of language means that the use of “reticulation” in this way would have developed alongside advancements in irrigation technology and the need for a term that accurately described the complex, networked nature of these systems. As irrigation practices became more sophisticated, requiring extensive planning and engineering to create reticulated systems that could support agriculture, the term “reticulation” would have naturally found relevance.

Different Kinds Of Reticulation Systems

  • Drip Irrigation Systems: Efficient for watering specific areas directly at the root zone, minimizing water wastage.
  • Sprinkler Systems: Various types include fixed, rotating, pop-up, and gear-driven sprinklers suitable for lawns and larger garden areas.
  • Subsurface Irrigation: For delivering water directly below the surface, reducing evaporation losses.
  • Micro Spray & Jet Systems: Offer precise watering for small garden areas, pots, or targeted watering within larger garden beds.
Different Kinds Of Reticulation Systems
Sprays and Nozzles

Sprays and Nozzles

  • Fixed Spray Heads: Provide a constant spray pattern and are typically used for small to medium areas.
  • Rotary Nozzles: Rotate as they spray, covering larger areas than fixed spray heads. They are more water-efficient and great for larger lawns.
  • Adjustable Nozzles: Allow for the adjustment of spray patterns and distances to suit the specific needs of the garden area.
  • Bubbler Nozzles: Ideal for watering trees or deep-rooted plants by delivering a gentle stream of water directly to the root zone.

Drippers and Drip Lines

  • Inline Drippers: Installed within the length of the hose, ideal for long rows of plants or hedges.
  • Adjustable Drippers: Allow the flow rate to be adjusted based on the plant’s needs.
  • Drip Lines: Hose lines with pre-installed drippers, ideal for efficient watering of garden beds and borders.
Drippers and Drip Lines
Experience in Reticulation

My Experience in Reticulation

With nearly two decades in the field, I’ve seen a spectrum of reticulation systems: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. In Perth’s unregulated trade environment, sub-par work is all too common, leading to numerous issues like broken wiring underground, inadequate sprinkler placement, and substandard system components.

Common Reticulation Problems

  1. Wiring Issues: Non-installed or improperly joined reticulation wiring leading to system failures.
  2. Unsightly Surface Parts: Haphazard and visually unappealing conduits, wires, and crooked sprinklers.
  3. Vulnerable Sprinklers: Sprinklers protruding above ground, prone to breakage.
  4. Inferior Quality Components: Cheap materials resulting in poor coverage and pressure.
  5. Inaccessible Solenoid Valves: Buried valves in low-quality boxes, making maintenance difficult.
  6. Misdirected Spraying: Water missing targeted areas, leading to unhealthy gardens and lawns.
  7. Leaning Risers and Sprinklers: Improper installation affecting water distribution.
  8. Mixed Nozzle Types: Inconsistent nozzles leading to uneven watering.
  9. Persistent Wiring and Solenoid Issues: Continual problems requiring frequent repairs.
  10. Poor Quality Coverage: Inadequate number of sprinklers, incorrect placement, or improper pressure calculation.
Common Reticulation Problems
reticulation solutions

Our Solutions

  1. High-Quality Pipes: All piping adheres to Australian standards, including strong PVC and blue line plumbing piping.
  2. Protected Underground Piping: Stormwater pipe used as a sleeve for added protection in paved or concreted areas.
  3. Abundant Solenoids and Sprinklers: Installing more solenoids and sprinklers than typically necessary to ensure sufficient pressure and coverage.
  4. Flexible Fittings and Tall Pop-Ups: Shock-absorbing fittings and well-placed tall pop-ups to prevent damage.
  5. Expert Coverage Planning: Overlapping coverage for thorough water distribution, with each sprinkler meticulously placed.
  6. Proactive Problem Solving: Addressing complex issues like malfunctioning solenoids or shared bore complications.
  7. Neat, Aesthetic Installations: Visually appealing and efficiently laid out systems.

Undervaluation of Reticulation – You get what you pay for!

One of the most significant challenges we’ve encountered with reticulation systems in Western Australia, based on our two decades of experience, is the widespread undervaluation of this trade and the proliferation of poor-quality work completed by retic companies. Regrettably, it is all too common for both customers and tradespeople to hold unrealistic expectations. Neither party fully recognizes reticulation as a legitimate trade. Installing a new reticulation system—methodically and carefully, including all wiring and conduits, ensuring sufficient stations, using pre-made manifolds, high-quality controllers, reliable pop-ups, and paying close attention to the placement of pipes and sprinklers, especially in established properties—demands time and expertise. DO IT RIGHT – THE FIRST TIME!

Additionally, there is a significant cost involved. People often express shock at the price we quote for installing a new system. However, they are never disappointed with the result. Our customers who choose to have a new reticulation system installed by us are invariably extremely satisfied. This is because we go the extra mile to ensure everything is done correctly from the start. Our commitment to quality and attention to detail means that while the initial investment may be higher, the long-term benefits and satisfaction are well worth it.

Properly valuing trades like reticulation ensures efficient, long-lasting work, providing greater overall value and satisfaction. Underestimating the importance of such trades can lead to various problems, affecting immediate results and long-term satisfaction.

Benefits of Properly Valuing a Trade like Retic

Benefits of Properly Valuing a Trade like Retic

  1. Quality Workmanship: Skilled professionals delivering high-quality work.
  2. Long-Term Savings: Reduced need for frequent repairs or overhauls.
  3. Reliability and Efficiency: Reliable and efficient systems or services.
  4. Safety and Compliance: Adherence to safety standards and regulatory compliance.
  5. Increased Property Value: Enhanced overall property value.
  6. Professional Expertise: Seasoned professionals offering expert advice and solutions.
  7. Customer Satisfaction: Better customer experiences and satisfaction.
  8. Sustainability: Use of better materials and practices

Negatives of Not Valuing a Trade Like Retic

  1. Poor Quality Work: This leads to substandard work and frequent system failures.
  2. Increased Costs Over Time: Frequent repairs or replacements result in higher expenses.
  3. Unreliability and Inefficiency: Systems that are unreliable and inefficient.
  4. Safety Risks: Potential for safety hazards and property damage.
  5. Decreased Property Value: Negative impact on property value and appeal.
  6. Lack of Professional Insight: Deprivation of professional advice and advancements.
  7. Dissatisfaction and Frustration: Customer frustration due to poorly valued work.
  8. Environmental Impact: Potential for wasteful practices and environmental harm.
  9. Although we can’t prove it we are certain that relationship breakdowns can occur with poor-quality reticulation
Negatives of Not Valuing a Trade Like Retic

To summarize, if you want a high-quality reticulation job done by someone who cares about lawns and gardens, whether it’s a Reticulation repair, servicing, complete overhaul, or brand new Reticulation Installation then please reach out to us as we are different to your ‘run of the mill Reticulation company’ in Perth.

Luke Porter | Install Sprinkler Heads

Luke Porter

The Director of Retic Renovation is passionate about beautiful healthy lawns and gardens.

I have over 17 years hands-on experience in both landscaping and reticulation service and I’m extremely competent in problem solving, repairs, installation, and product knowledge.