DIY drip irrigation is the cheapest and most sustainable way to water plants. Drip irrigation directs water through small holes called emitters into a network of hoses or pipes, rather than distributing it through sprinklers or hoses. This brings the water closer to the root system of the plants, reducing water waste, controlling weeds and promoting plant growth. Learn how to build drip irrigation yourself for your garden below!
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Advantages of the homemade drip irrigation system
Drip irrigation is a more efficient way to water crops, gardens and even potted plants and can be installed by homeowners themselves at a relatively low cost. Using 25-50% less water than sprinkler irrigation, drip irrigation allows homeowners to lower their water bills, time water use, and regulate application. Compared to indiscriminately watering a field or garden, drip irrigation delivers more water to the desired plants. The slow application of water results in less evaporation and runoff as nutrients are delivered directly to the root zone.
What do you need for the DIY garden project
1 Drill, pin needles or manifold tool
1 garden hose
1 hose cap
1 timer (to control the timing of the water release)
1 to 20 stakes (to hold the hose in place)
1 to 10 tees or hose disconnects (to direct water flow into different hoses)
1 backflow preventer (to keep water from flowing back into the water supply)
1 to 10 clamps (to attach hoses to tees and backflow preventers)
1 hose filter (to keep irrigation lines clean)
1 Pressure regulator (to reduce the incoming water pressure to prevent hose ruptures).
Build your own drip irrigation system for the garden: instructions.
While complex drip irrigation systems can water entire agricultural fields with underground or above-ground hose or pipe networks , you can easily and inexpensively build your own drip irrigation system yourself for the garden.
- Position garden hose: Lay out a garden hose around the plants.
- Attach hose cap: Attach a hose cap to the end of the hose.
- Create exit holes: drill or punch small irrigation holes in the hose at the desired locations. Be sure to drill through only one side of the hose.
- Optional: Use a backflow prevention valve: Install a backflow preventer on the faucet to prevent water from flowing back into the water supply.
- Connect your system: connect the hose to the faucet or backflow preventer.
- Turn on the water: Slowly turn on the water until the desired pressure is reached.
- Options: Consider a timer and pressure regulator for your drip irrigation system.
Other tips and options for a successful irrigation system.
- You can create a more complicated network of hoses by adding tees or hose disconnects as connection points between multiple hoses; another option is to cut off sections of your original hose to reroute the water supply through multiple paths. If you use tees, clamp the hoses to each tee. Be sure to use stainless clamps.
- The older your hose, or the longer or more complicated your net, the sooner you should install a pressure regulating valve between the faucet and the hose. This will reduce pressure in the network, especially at joints where clamps can loosen or break.
- Fabricate a fabric cover for your hose to distribute water more slowly and evenly. Sew together a hose from scraps of fabric or canvas that you can slip over your hose at exit points.
- Fabricate metal stakes to secure the hose. Use wire cutters to cut old coat hangers into pieces, then use pliers to bend them into U-shaped stakes.
- Especially if your hose network is buried under mulch or soil, flush the system at the beginning and end of each growing season by removing the hose caps and turning on the water. Place spray nozzles less than three feet from plants to be watered. Cover the hose with mulch to reduce evaporation. Poke holes no more than 15-20 inches apart to prevent the hose from rupturing.
- Infrequent, full watering is more efficient than frequent but shorter watering. This saves water, reduces evaporation and increases the amount of water that reaches the plant roots.
- Unless it is damaged beyond repair, reuse an old garden hose if you have one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can a drip irrigation system be used?
Drip irrigation is suitable for new or existing gardens such as vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees and shrubs.
Are there any disadvantages to drip irrigation?
Because the water from a drip irrigation system appears at or below ground level, it can be difficult to see if the system is working. It is important to check the system regularly for breaks or cracks and to check plants for signs of stress due to inadequate irrigation.