How to Install a Drip Irrigation Kit: A Start-to-Finish Guide
Keeping your garden and other plants lush and green takes a lot of work. One way to make it easier is to install a drip irrigation system. This sprinkler system uses a series of drip tubing that delivers water to the places your lawn and garden need it most. Some systems come with timers you can program to water at the ideal times of the day.
This also reduces the amount of water needed due to accurate delivery. They come in convenient kits and you can add parts to customize the system to suit your needs. If this sounds like a helpful solution, here’s our guide on how to install drip irrigation on your property.
Parts of Drip Irrigation
Your kit consists of drip tubing and emitters that water your garden. The tubing is placed in the areas of your garden that need water, and the water is released into the soil where it is absorbed at the roots. Some kits are pre-punched with factory-installed emitters while others require you to insert the emitters and punch the hose yourself. You can then adapt the system to suit your needs by adding parts and accessories such as:
- Sprays for better ground cover
- Foggers to reach hanging containers
- Additional emitters
So despite kits being available, you’ll more than likely need to add parts to suit your specific needs.
Mapping Out Your System
Before you commit to a kit, take a look at your property and map out where you’ll need to lay the tubing. You can then consider the best kit to help you complete the installation with as few additional parts as possible. Once you decide on the kit, you can then list the accessories and additional parts you’ll need for your system.
Look at Your Parts
Before you begin, look at all the parts and become familiar with them. This will make it easier to walk through the process. These parts are designed for easy installation and for small gardens it can be completed in less than half an hour. Most kits also contain a Drip-Lock coupling allowing you to expand your system if you find you don’t have enough tubing and emitters.
How To Install Drip Irrigation Systems
Follow these steps:
Your kit will include a hose faucet adapter that allows you to connect your hose faucet to the provided tubing. Some kits may have a pressure regulator included, or the adapter may have pressure regulation abilities. Your hose faucet (also called a hose bibb or spigot) might also have its own vacuum breaker. This part is important as it prevents contaminated hose water from backwashing into your home water supply. Attach the hose adapter to your garden hose, and then the garden hose to your hose faucet. Now, you’re ready to lay out your tubing and attach the tubing to your hose. Alternatively, you can attach the adapter directly to the hose faucet if you don’t need the extra distance provided by the garden hose.
Lay Your Tubing
You’ll need to attach either unperforated tubing or a length of garden hose to the hose faucet. Make sure it reaches your plant beds. You can then attach the tubing with emitters using barbed connectors. Your tubing can then be laid around your garden, near the roots of your plants. Be sure to keep the tubing about 12 inches away from your plants.
Install Your Stakes
Make sure your tubing is where you want it before using the ground stakes to hold them in place. The stake needs to fit over the tubing and into the ground.
If you find you have sharp angles, or you need to make attachments to other sections, you’ll want to customize your tubing layout. Cut the tube and then reattach it with connectors to get the configuration you need. Once everything is attached and staked, leave an opening where you can flush out the water.
Trees and Shrubs
If your plan includes trees and shrubs, you’ll need to loop around them. Lay loops of ¼-inch tubing down and then punch holes in ½-inch tubing at the sites you want the loop to begin. Use a small tee connector and then attach the ¼-inch tubing with emitters to it. Create a lasso at the trunk of your tree that extends out to the edge of the leaf line or “canopy”. Then you can attach the tubing to the other side of the tee. You’ll have to cut it to the right length at this point.
Ground cover requires a special approach as you won’t be able to lay the tubing at the roots. In this case, what you can do is use micro sprayers. First, puncture the ½-inch tubing, insert the straight connector and then attach a length long enough of unperforated ¼-inch tubing to reach the micro sprayer. The other end of the ¼-inch tubing then has to be connected to the micro sprayer. Clip the sprayers to a stake so they are secured in the ground. If you have special emitters for things like rose bushes or hanging plants, you can use the same process to attach special drip heads or foggers.
Close the Tubing End Off
When you’re satisfied with the installation, you can turn the water on to flush out the tubing for a few minutes. Then turn it off and find the open end of the tube. Slide a ½-inch end clamp into it, fold it and then clamp the folded piece by sliding the other loop of the end clamp over the fold.
A nice finishing touch is to cover the tubing with mulch. First check all the connections are tight, there aren’t any leaks, and nothing seems clogged or blocked.
Drip irrigation systems are incredible for saving water and giving your plants the most effective hydration possible. Now that you know the basics, you'll be able to adjust and improve your system when needed. Happy gardening!