When the summer heat makes you thirsty, don’t forget it’s making your plants thirsty, too. Gardens need a refreshing drink of water on a regular basis. An irrigation system is easy to design and install, and saves money by delivering water to your flowers, fruits, and vegetables more efficiently than using a hand-held hose.
Check out our tips below to get started. Gather your tools and materials ahead of time, and you can complete your garden irrigation system in a weekend.
Novice to intermediate
Time to complete:
4 to 6 hours
Plan Your Irrigation System
1. Which plants do you need to water? Once you’ve decided, lay out a grid with hoses and emitters, which are like tiny sprinklers. You’ll need an emitter for each plant. Each emitter will be attached to your water source with a network of drip irrigation lines. Use 1/4″ and 1/8″ plastic tubing for the lines, which you will run from the main hose to your plants.
2. To make sure all your plants are adequately watered, plan to locate your emitters every 12 inches apart in sandy soil, 18 inches in loamy soil, or 24 inches apart in clay soil.
Assemble the Hoses
1. Install a backflow preventer valve to your outdoor faucet. This will keep groundwater from backing up into your drinking water.
2. Attach a hose adaptor to fit the diameter of the system’s main line.
3. Connect the system’s main line to the backflow preventer, and run it your garden.
Install T’s for Branch Lines
1. Place a T in the line for each branch line and secure with band clamps.
2. Cut lengths of line long enough to extend through the garden to each T.
Install Emitters and Feeder Lines
1. Punch holes in the line for each emitter with an emitter tool. Place the emitters where you want them.
2. If the plants you want to irrigate are more than 1 foot away from the line, cut an appropriate length of 1/8-inch emitter tubing. Attach the feeder line to the emitter on the branch line. Next, attach an emitter to the end of the feeder line.
3. Plug the ends of the individual lines with caps and secure with band clamps.
4. To maintain a good flow, flush your irrigation system every 4 to 6 months by removing the end caps and turning on the water. Let the water run until it’s clear.
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