How do you water that living wall? Why is that building’s landscape so lush when everyone else has the same ocean of dry, brown bark dust dotted with boring box hedges and juniper bushes? How can Boston Cityscapes take our biophilic campus to the next level of sustainability? 

Whenever we’re maintaining our award-winning existing plantscape projects or creating design assessments for new clients, we expect to field these questions. Sometimes passersby wonder aloud as they admire cascading living walls or vibrant street-level landscapes, and we can’t help but overhear. 

Our designs are contemporary, but we rely on horticulture principles that date back thousands of years. It’s entirely possible that you’re using the same technology at home as we do in our commercial irrigation systems: Low-pressure micro-irrigation. 

More than just “drip” irrigation

Micro-irrigation uses a network of small hoses and tubes to deliver precise amounts of water at or just below the soil surface. Moisture leaves the tubes through two types of emitters: Spray/mist and drip. Most emitters are small “heads” inserted into distribution tubes, but sometimes, the tubes themselves deliver the water, much like standard-size “soaker” hoses. 

The primary line attaches to a water source—an existing or custom-plumbed hose bib—or a holding tank via a screened connection. A digital controller regulates water flow to the system, and manual valves on emitters and junction points allow another level of precision in managing water delivery to the plants. 

The safe, sustainable, and cost-effective irrigation option

Our maintenance plans are affordable largely due to our designs, in which micro-irrigation plays a critical role. We can economize our service calls and, when we’re on-site, focus on the plants themselves. This reduces our need to burn fuel, and drastically reduces your water usage. 

You may have read about our porous paving options for outdoor water absorption and runoff reduction. We can further divert and use rainwater through a catchment system. Stored rainwater can supply your plantscape or biophilic system using gravity rather than plumbed-in, electrically-pumped city water. This is an economic and energy-saving strategy, but it also reduces the amount of runoff that carries urban pollutants from your rooftop to Boston’s already over-taxed stormwater system… thus protecting Massachusetts’ sensitive marine, aquatic, and riparian ecologies while earning your firm applause from municipal and non-profit conservation programs. 

We’ve already discussed your potential savings in water usage and maintenance calls, but micro-irrigation installation is much simpler and more affordable than traditional below-ground systems. It’s absolutely more efficient than manual watering, which involves moving, storing, and hauling around cumbersome hoses, pack sprayers, and spray wands. If the flexible, resilient components should fail, low-pressure irrigation systems cause barely a fraction of the damage incurred by broken pipes or damaged standard sprinkler heads. Nor do they pose the same trip hazard to pedestrians, and they avoid the need to climb on ladders to tend to hanging plants or living walls. 

Increased diversity, density, and plant health

Micro-irrigation presents a whole new world of landscape design opportunities. Efficient use of maintenance time, natural resources, and space through targeted water delivery allows for higher-density planting and a broader selection of compatible species. Micro-irrigation allows us to water your plants in a manner that prevents root and crown disease and the problems associated with overhead sprinklers. Proper use of mulches and mist emitters increases humidity for semi-tropical plants, and low-volume drip systems satisfy a xeriscaping garden’s bare-minimum needs.

Traditional commercial landscape designers default to species that tolerate neglect and abuse. We can provide lush, tender plants as well as the more resilient “classic” varieties, and the plants you select for your interior and exterior designs will exhibit richer, more vibrant foliage and flower color. 

Micro-irrigation is scalable, customizable, and worthy of the investment…

…Just like Cityscape’s services. Our systems work beautifully no matter the size of your facility, and they can go with you should you relocate. They’re versatile, adapting to dynamic designs and themes. 

Micro-irrigation is just as adaptable, even when the components are integrated into many leading living wall systems at the point of manufacture. If you have a garden at home, or you’ve always dreamed of one but don’t want the hassle of daily hand-watering, set one up this season. Consumer-grade systems have a few more quirks than those designed for commercial applications, but even still, the results might make you might fall in love with your garden all over again.

Now, imagine your employees feeling the same way when they come to work each morning. Let us help you make it happen!