You may have read about how a drip irrigation system is the best way to water your plants. But what exactly is this and how easy is it to set up in your own backyard?
How to install drip irrigation: One of the most important tasks when it comes to a garden is adequately watering it. You want to have a good amount of water over a period of time to allow the soil to really absorb it. You also want the water to hit the soil and not the foliage so that rot doesn’t set in. To achieve all this, you can install a drip irrigation system. It actually isn’t very hard nor is it too expensive.
Why should you install drip irrigation?
First, let’s talk about why drip irrigation is so important. You want the soil around your plants to absorb the most amount of water but you don’t want the area to be constantly soggy.
Drip irrigation releases a small amount of water over a long period of time. This allows the soil to absorb all the water and then hold it for the rest of the day.
Installing drip irrigation also means you can turn on the system, forget about it for a while, and then simply turn it off again. It’s a relatively easy setup and means you don’t have to go around watering for hours.
One last reason you should install a drip irrigation system is that it will target your soil and not your plants. If you water the leaves on a plant, they can become soggy and mold can set in, so it’s best to always water just the soil and the base of the plant.
Things You Need to Install Drip Irrigation
- Lots of tubing
- Tee dividers
- Hole punch
Steps on How to Install Drip Irrigation
Step 1 – Plan your route
First, you want to think about where your want your tubing to go. Remember that it needs to start at a water source, so this will be your first place to start planning.
Then, map out the rest of the route. Ideally, you will have one continuous flow of tubing, so design a back and forth way that your irrigation system can reach all of your plants.
Once you have your route in your mind, you can go about laying the pipe. Don’t make any cuts yet as you may have to move it around a bit.
In order to help you know how much tubing to purchase, you can use some string to plan out the route. This will give you a rough idea of how much tubing you will need but you should also purchase a bit more, rather than less, just in case.
Step 2 – All about the plumbing
This next step requires a bit of plumbing and while it shouldn’t be too difficult, you may want to consult some online videos if you aren’t sure.
In order to prevent any water backing up, it’s recommended you install a backflow preventer right at the outdoor faucet. You can purchase one at any home improvement store.
Then, attach an adaptor that will connect the hose to the mainline of your water system.
Here is where you can also get even more technical by installing a sprinkler timer system. While not at all necessary, it can allow you to set your watering schedule so you don’t have to worry about it.
Having a timer is also beneficial if you travel a lot during the summer. Then, you can simply program the timer and not come home to a garden full of dead plants.
Step 3 – Create your system
If you have a very large garden and can’t run one continuous hose, you will have to install tee dividers. This connects three tubing parts so that water can flow between all of them.
Make sure the tee dividers are installed securely so that the water doesn’t leak at these points. If there is too much leaking, there won’t be enough pressure for the water to get to the end of the tubing.
Step 4 – Add feeders
Take your hole punch tool and make holes in your tubing, roughly about 12 to 18 inches apart. You want these holes to be close to the plants, no more than a foot away from them so that the water can reach the plant roots.
With each hole, attach a feeder line followed by an emitter. This is where the water will exit the tubing.
Step 5 – Clamp the end
Before you turn on the water, remember to place a clamp at the end of your tubing. Even though there won’t be a lot of pressure by the time the water gets to the end, if you don’t tie off the tube, water will pool here and if left for long enough, will create quite the mud puddle.
How much does it cost to install a drip irrigation system?
Overall, it does not cost a lot to set up a drip irrigation system. The tubing is relatively expensive, as are the plastic feeder lines and emitters.
Do take note that the more tubing you need, the more expensive the whole system will be. You should budget about $50 for every 100 square feet of garden you have.
How long does it take to install drip irrigation?
Amazingly, it does not take very long to install your drip irrigation system. However, this time will depend on just how large your garden is.
You should expect your work to take about two hours, more so if you aren’t sure about the plumbing. You should also factor in a lot of bending over and if you have any back issues, you may want to ask another person to help you out when laying the tubing.
While it may look daunting at first, a drip irrigation system does not take a lot of money or time to install. And, once it is in your garden, it will be easier to care for your plants and have them as healthy as possible.