Manually watering a lawn is a pain. It also wastes a lot of water. Whether you’re gardening for fun, or growing vegetables as part of a drive towards self-sufficiency and living the homesteading life, you might end up saving time and money by installing your own irrigation drip system.
Installing it is a lot easier than you might think. In fact, you can go through the whole process in four easy steps.
1. Pick Your System
There are a lot of different ways to go about drip irrigation. Today, you’re going to learn the simplest form. The system will consist of a main one-inch line. From there, ¼-inch lines can be attached to feed directly to your plants.
We aren’t going to fight with sprayers, porous pipes, or anything too fancy. If you want to install those types of systems, they will still largely follow this tutorial, but you will need to make a few adjustments to your equipment.
2. Go Shopping
You need materials for your irrigation system. The first thing you want to do is estimate the length. The shape of the line will determine how much tubing you need. You can try to measure things directly, but a rough estimate is usually good enough.
Since the main line is made with 1-inch tubing, you can find that at your local hardware store in 50-foot coils. So, you only need to get your estimate right to within 50 feet.
Aside from the main tube, you’re going to need enough ¼-inch tubing to run from the main line to each plant. Typically, you need a few feet of ¼-inch tubing per plant.
The rest of the materials you need make a nice, easy list:
- Faucet connection
- Timing system (optional)
- 1-inch hose connectors
- ¼-inch hose connectors
- Punching tool (often comes with the ¼-inch connectors
- Ground stakes (optional)
- Line-cutting tool
- End cap
- Silicone adhesive
3. Lay the Main Tube
Now that you have your materials, it’s time to install. The first thing you want to do is connect your one-inch hose to the faucet. If you’re using a timing device, go ahead and connect that first; the drip line will connect to the timing device.
From there, uncoil the main line and run it along the path that you select. Try to get it within a few feet of each plant it will water. If a single coil of tubing isn’t enough, use your connectors to attach one coil to another.
If you want to stake it to the ground, this is a good time to do that.
Also, make sure you place the end cap on the final end of the line.
4. Run the Drips
Now that the main line is in place, it’s time for the ¼-inch runs. For each plant, you need to punch a hole in the main line. Once you punch the hole, push your ¼-inch connector into the hole until it clicks into place. Then, attach the ¼-inch line to the connector. Run the smaller line where you want it and cut it. You can secure it with mulch or dirt.
Repeat this process for every plant. When you’re done, run the water and check for leaks. Most commonly, you will find leaks at the faucet, wherever you joined 1-inch hoses together, and at each punched hole with the ¼-inch line. In most cases, you can secure the hoses around the leak to make them stop. If you need a little extra sealant, use your silicone glue.
That’s it! You now have a functioning drip system.