Here’s an Idea…

Posted on 7th November 2015 in Ideas, Never Seen That One Before


Remember those old holiday shacks with grass driveways that always showed the furrows where the car had been driven into the asbestos shed at the back of the property?

Well maybe grass driveways are on the return.

This story in the news today is about a local Perth bloke who installed a special grass driveway using ‘Grass-Cel technology and now the council don’t believe it conforms to their specs…


‘Grass-Cel’ turf pavers are made of porous recycled plastic overlaid with soil and seeded with grass. They take the brunt of a car while allowing grass to grow undamaged.

I guess its not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does allow for a much greener street. The down side is obviously more water usage. It looks easy to install and would certainly be a viable alternative to concrete. Its around $35.00/m just to supply and then there would be installation and the lawn & soil on top. Not cheap, but definitely an alternative to concrete or paving.

Its not a new idea with the company having been around for 30 years or so, but its an idea if you love grass and hate concrete or paving…

Here’s a video of it all getting laid:


Shared Bores and Strange Problems in Yanchep

Posted on 27th September 2015 in bore, What's Going on There?


This week I had an early morning phone call from a regular client who lives at the top of our street.


‘Andrew – my retic is on and it won’t go off. I’ve turned the controller off but it keeps running…’


If this were a system running off the mains then we would naturally presume a faulty master and station solenoid but this was a bore. I told him to turn the bore off at the mains and that stopped the flow.


Assuming it was the electrical contactor failing I told him to get the electrician out to check it out and replace it.


So the electrician attended and couldn’t see a problem, apart from the faulty station solenoid.


So the client rang again and we discussed it some more.


It didn’t make sense. It had to be an intermittent problem. Then 3 days later he called again to say it had happened again.


Odd… I told him to get the sparky back because pumps don’t just come on of their own accord


The electrician went back and could find no fault with the contactor. Really?…


I was at home having a coffee so I headed up the street to see if we could resolve this somehow.


Sure enough it all worked perfectly, except for the faulty solenoid. I was hesitant to fix the solenoid until we had resolved the intermittent pump issue otherwise we would risk the pump coming on with nowhere for the water to go and possibly burn it out.


It was a puzzle… and it was also a shared bore…


So I guessed that perhaps the other person’s contactor had failed. Now we were getting warm. The contactor was fine, but then it dawned on me to check the settings on their controller.


Sure enough the times my client had noticed his retic running when it shouldn’t have corresponded to the times that the neighbour’s retic was running.


Problem solved and now we just need to replace a solenoid.

Shared bores can present some unusual issues so give us a call if you get stuck and need to troubleshoot

Easy Retrieve Memory on Hunter X Core

Posted on 21st September 2015 in Controllers

Xcore controller

Another good reason to choose the Hunter X Core Controller is the ‘easy retrieve’ memory function, which means I can come and set your controller, you can fiddle with it, make adjustments and then discover all has got weird, before implementing the memory retrieve procedure below and taking it back to where you want it.

To save a program into memory:

  1. With the dial in the RUN position, press and hold the    and     buttons for 5 seconds. You will see three segments    on the left of display.
  2. Release the    and    buttons.
  3. The display will scroll three segments    from left to right across the display indicating the program is being saved into memory.
  4. The display will show “doNE”, and then revert to time of day display.
  5. The Program is saved in memory.

To retrieve a program from memory

  1. With the dial in the RUN position, press and hold the    and    buttons for 5 seconds. You will see three segments    on the right of display.
  2. Release the    and    buttons.
  3. The display will scroll three segments    from right to left across the display indicating the program is being retrieved from memory.
  4. The display will show “doNE”, and then revert to time of day display.
  5. The Saved Program is retrieved from memory.

Add a Station Incompatible with Controller?

Posted on 19th September 2015 in What's Going on There?


I’ve been using ‘Add a stations’ for a while now as they are great for turning one power wire into two and solving the problem of having to run a new cable.

This week I arrived at a job in Ocean Reef where a 5 year old device appeared to have failed. One station would run via the ‘Add a Station’, but not the other. A couple of solenoids were also old and dodgy and in need of replacement.

So I did the job, installed the new Add a Station, ran several tests and all seemed to be ok.

Then I got a call back a few days later that the problem has come back.

I arrived and checked the Add a Station to see if it was working. There was power to the blue wire, but not the brown wire. I changed it for another new Add a Station and the result was the same.

I tested the controller which was working fine and operating the solenoids perfectly. I tested the wiring by running new cable from the controller to the solenoids and again it didn’t work.

So it was a complete mystery as to why things were failing

It seemed like a bad batch of Add a Stations perhaps?…


Then I got home and tested the Add a Stations on a brand new Hunter X Core and both worked perfectly. So the only conclusion is that the controller is failing to operate as intended. It was an Irritrol Raindial and functioning fine in every other way.

I haven’t tested the system with a new controller yet as the client is obviously reluctant to spend more money, but it seems this may be the only solution…


Irrigation and Turf Installation in Carramar

Posted on 4th June 2015 in What's Going on There?

This was last week


The client had started the work, dug out some of the old reticulation and was hoping to dig out the old turf and replace with Sir Walter buffalo. Then he decided to call us and this is the result


Bobcat on Tuesday

Reticulation on Wednesday

Turf laid today

Its an instant transformation and a much better look.

Its Sir Walter Buffalo with MP rotators for sprinklers


Retic and Turf Installation in Eglinton

Posted on 5th May 2015 in Installations, Sir Walter Turf

So this is where it begins… a blank canvas they call it…

I quoted this job today for backyard reticulation, removal of sand and dirt and supply spread of lawn mix, followed by 63m of Sir Walter Buffalo.

This yard isn’t in bad shape as the sand isn’t piled too high, but we will still need to remove quite a bit before spreading 40ml of lawn mix.

Once I have finished it on Thursday I’ll post some pics of the end result




Reticulation Cut Ins Done Correctly

Posted on 27th January 2015 in Local Knowledge



There are big fines for those who either DIY or do it wrong. Be sure to use a licensed plumber who does it right and you won’t face any penalty.

As well as needing to be a specified distance from the water meter there needs to be a dual check backflow prevention valve installed. The image above shows one installed incorrectly which we are currently in the process of rectifiying. The simple ball valve has been connected to the elbow of the water meter rather than spaces away from it.

For cut ins we recommend Andy of Orfords plumbing based in Yanchep 0416289860

Dismal Water Pressure For Reticulation?

Posted on 21st November 2014 in Never Seen That One Before


If you find your new home has very poor water flow/pressure then you might want to take a look at your water meter and see if its been fitted with a restrictor.

This week I arrived to do a job on a local property only to discover the water flow was absolutely abysmal – around 10 litres / minute and barely enough to get two half sprays sprinklers up and running.

With turf arriving in a few hours the retic needed completing so I texted my local plumber a pic of the meter and he advised me that it was fitted with a restricting device. He kindly sent a staff member around immediately and we replaced the device with an ordinary brass elbow.

It was back to normal and the job got completed with no hitches.

I’ve only had it once before but its worth considering if you are having problems with water flow

Reticulation Solenoid Puzzle in Yanchep

Posted on 22nd September 2014 in Local Knowledge, Never Seen That One Before

wiring a solenoid perth reticulation

On Friday I had a call from a client in Yanchep who had installed a solenoid, but was having problems. The two stations in the back were coming on together.


So I went out to see what was going on.


What was odd was that the two rear stations came on together but they didn’t come on when the front retic station was running. Normally if a solenoid fails open it stays on with every other station.


But in this case station one came on, then station two and three together.




So I checked:

  1. The direction of flow on the solenoid he had installed. It was correct.
  2. The wiring and the voltage at the solenoid. It was all perfect.
  3. Whether the solenoid was clogged with glue or dirt, but both were fine.
  4. Whether the controller had failed and was sending voltage on both stations rather than individually. It wasn’t…


There was no apparent reason and I was running out of options as all of the logical solutions were coming up blank.


Finally I decided to check whether a different controller would get a different result so we wired one up to test it. As I was doing this I asked the client why he replaced the solenoid.


He told me ‘I didn’t replace it – I added it to split the rear yard in two.’ And as he said that, it dawned on me what had happened. What was once a complete station had been divided in two – but not completely. Somewhere there was still a connection underground. It was the only explanation left for why both stations came on simultaneously.


When we discussed it he agreed and I left him to dig some holes and find that elusive connection.


There is always a logical solution to retic problems, but sometimes you need to gather all the information to make sense of it.



Reticulation and Turf in Joondalup

Posted on 12th September 2014 in Installations, Turf



This week I did a front yard makeover in Joondalup. It involved removing the old lawn/weed, installing some new retic and then laying some turf.

The existing turf had turned to weeds and looked almost impossible to revive, so the process was:

a) Spray existing turf / weeds and kill off what is there.

b) The bobcat came and removed existing stuff to a depth of around 100ml and then filled with special lawn mix so that it was 20-30ml below kerb level.

c) Reinstall retic and ensure all is getting covered. This involved placing sprinklers around the perimeter of the property spraying in as well as in the middle spraying out. The previous system had a row of sprinklers down the middle and consequently missed much of the lawn. I also installed a new Hunter X Core to make watering so much easier.

c) Screed and lay the new wintergreen lawn.

The budget for a project like this is usually around $3000.00.

Here’s a before and after shot so you can see the difference

photo (8)