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How to Build your own Drip Irrigation System

Assembling our kits is easy! Watch this gal, who has never put together a drip irrigation kit before, assemble our Medium Kit in a short how to video.

Our kits are much less complicated than typical kits you can purchase at a large home store.  You can build your own drip irrigation system to water your plants in under 30 minutes.  The same general instructions apply to all of our kits, there are just a few minor differences between them.

Is there a part of the process you’d like to see in more detail? Leave a comment and let us know!

18 thoughts on “How to Build your own Drip Irrigation System

  1. Very helpful video. It would appear that it is very low pressure in that the end of the drip tape that is closest to the tube that was inserted into it was not sealed of. Would there be enough pressure in the system to extend about 500 feet. I have a line of trees that extends at least 500 feet that line my property. My water source if at least 100 feet before the tree line begins. what would your recommendations be for this situation. Could I couple multiple tapes together and run the line straight down to access all the trees.?
    Thanks for your consideration and help.
    Brad

    • Thank you for your kind words Brad.
      It is a low pressure system, around 8 pounds of pressure is all it takes to run, so will run off almost any house water source without trouble. Although all of the ends of the system should be sealed once installation is complete, we only showed closing one end to save time on the video.

      Depending on the situation drip tape can work well to water trees, and with the correct size components supplying the water to it, can be used in 1000 foot or longer situations. Long rows are very common for the commercial/field systems it is designed for.

      We have contacted you by email to get further details about your trees in order to provide good advice.

      For others interested in using drip irrigation for long distance or watering trees, we are considering adding tree watering kits since we have had several questions on the topic.

  2. Would this be suitable to leave out year round under mulch? Freezing temperatures rarely go below 28 deg. How long would it last?

    • Thank you for your interest and excellent questions Sarah!

      Yes, it would be suitable to leave out year round under mulch. In fact we recommend mulch to help protect it from animals chewing on it or inadvertent puncturing some way.

      As long as the system is drained of water the cold will not bother it. When disconnected from the water source it will typically drain enough to be safe.

      We have had good success with it lasting 5-8 years. It is made of polyethylene with carbon black to prevent UV damage (mulching also helps). Most of the time an accident with a hoe or an animal chewing it up requires a repair before it has any other problem. It does not harden up and crack/split/burst like soaker hoses do after a year or two in the sun.

      If it is a high traffic area, rocky soil, or other reasons you are worried about possible damage we can also do custom systems with thicker drip tape that is rated to last 10-12 years. We use the thin tape for ourselves and most orders because it is easier to work with and lighter when installing/moving.

      Let us know if you have any more questions!

  3. My spigot is not very close to the areas I want to water, so the line/hose would definitely have to go over the lawn. What’s the best way to make this work and still be able to mow every week or so?
    Thanks,
    Jen

    • That is a common problem Jen. The solution can be elaborate or simple, depending on the desired result.

      The distance between, and how much area you need to water, will determine what size line you would have to run to be sure you have enough water pressure to get the job done.

      If it is not too far away and you do not mind the hose in the yard, getting some “quick connect” hose ends like these would let you rapidly disconnect the hose & pull it out of the way to mow. If you use 2 shorter hoses and put the disconnects in the middle you would only have to pull half the hose each direction.

      A classier solution that would be a little more work up front, but save you the trouble of pulling hoses out of the way weekly, would be some tubing buried from the spigot to the area you want to water. If you disconnect it before freezing temperatures and drain it you wouldn’t even have to bury it deep – a couple of inches. If the slope is the right way it is easy to drain, if not we usually blow some compressed air through it to remove the water before winter.

      The harder and more permanent thing to do would be connect to your water pipes and bury an actual water line below the frost level, and put in a freeze-proof hydrant out there. That could involve a plumber and get pricey, depending on local regulations and whether you or someone you can sweet talk can do the work.

      Good luck and let us know if we can assist you!

  4. Just rec’d your 50′ “Better than soaker hose Drip Hose”. Hooked it up & turned on the water.
    Came home 8 hours later and hardily saw any water in the area. I see it has a regulator.
    I took the end off and fiddled with the fittings but all I see is a very fine misty stream of water
    coming out of your fittings. Call me stupid cuz I saw you emphasize it is a SLOW drip hose.
    But is the regulator adjustable??? I turned it and saw no difference. Is the max flow really supposed to be that fine?? Humor me and fill me in. Thanks much. Stupido

    • Hey William,

      Don’t feel stupid, it sounds like it may not be working right, but we will try to help you determine whether it is or not. Because it drips slowly most of the water will soak in without spreading out in a wide area on the surface, and if the soil is sandy or drains quickly it will spread out even less. Typically we expect after watering that long an 8 inch to a foot spread on the surface of the ground on each side of the drip tape, even in sandy soil. If it was less, we need to determine why. As it soaks in down where the roots are it spreads more than that of course.

      We will be contacting you by email to help troubleshoot further.

  5. I have two questions, which may have obvious answers. Sorry if I’m not understanding. The demo above and other pics I’ve seen on site show the tapes lying in straight rows. Can they be laid in loose bends or loops (like you do with a soaker hose, winding it thru a bed), or does that pinch the tape closed? I ask because I want to use this in a larger perennial bed and plants will be scattered thru-out. Bed is roughly 36′ long x 21′ wide, with curving edge. I’m trying to figure out what size kit to order. The bed is on a gentle slope, so I plan to run the tapes across the slope. Is that right? Also, approximately how long do you suggest running the system to get a deep, good water? I know it depends on soil, dryness, etc., but is there a general rule of thumb/starting point? Thank you so much! I’m so glad i found your product. Can’t wait to get some. Installing plantings in a heat wave, so trying to mitigate as easily as i can. Also, we’re Zone 5, so quite cold winters. It sounds like as long as I drain it, I can safely leave the tapes out beneath the mulch? Just wanted to be sure in this colder area. Thank you!!

    • Hey Julie,

      Thank you for your questions, we are excited you found us as well!

      You can put gentle curves in the tape, but it will pinch off on loops or turns. Instead we usually make shorter sections of tape and use small connection tubing to make bends or corners – the benefit is being able to make almost any angle with ease, or even branch out and add multiple short rows to an area as needed.

      If your plants are spread out like larger perennials often are, it can be beneficial to use individual emitters running to each plant instead of watering empty space, but if there are a lot of plants drip tape is the way to go. We customize kits as well, so you can purchase exactly what you need. We will contact you by email to help you design something just right for your situation.

      You are correct, running the drip tape across the slope will help the water drip where it should, running up and down on a slope the tendency will be for it to run down the tape some and water more at the bottom than the top. Being under mulch would help prevent that problem though. Drip systems are much more consistent at watering, especially on a slope than any other method we know of.

      The watering duration does depend on soil type and plant needs, but in general we recommend running 4 to 8 hours at a time, 2 or 3 times a week so it will soak in deeply, or 2 to 3 hours at a time more often. Keep in mind that is applying the same amount of water that a sprinkler or soaker hose will in 30 minutes to an hour, but without the waste due to run off and evaporation those systems have.

      You can safely leave the tape under the mulch for the winter. The tape mostly self-drains, so being sure to disconnect the hose and let the water out of the header tubing with hard plastic components is really all there is to winterizing the system.

      Thank you again for your questions, and we will contact you to be sure we provide the right system for your needs.

  6. I have three raised beds 8×4 each. Plus a 100 foot long run that I would like to use a drip system on. I want to use different hose timer for each bed. Your medium system seems to be right for me except it only has one hose connection and I don’t see the option to buy more on your web site.
    Sarah

    • Thank you for your interest Sarah. It does sound like a good fit. Although we do not yet have a way to customize our kits on our website we can customize any of them for you.

  7. Hi,
    so pleased to find your site offering commercial grade equipment at great prices too!
    I have a greenhouse that’s about 65ft by 25ft, previously we have been using overhead sprinklers attached to a borehole pump but we had problems with disease, pests and weeds. I think that drip irrigation might be the solution.
    I’m not sure but would this system work with water stored in barrels in the greenhouse? There’s no faucet and the borehole pump is a beast that will blow most things apart (with a 3″ hose attached it still sprays about 6 feet)
    Thanks
    Jon

    • Hey Jon,
      Drip irrigation does work well in greenhouses, helping to avoid disease and will water only the areas you want watered to help keep weeds to a minimum as well.
      Our typical drip tape can be used with barrels (gravity fed), it just waters at a slower rate because the pressure is not high enough to operate at the normal flow. Usually that is not a problem though, because it is unobtrusive while running.
      We have created custom systems specifically for rain and grey water barrels that have larger holes, allowing it to water closer to a normal rate (which is several hours typically to soak in and encourage deep roots).
      You are correct about the borehole pump, drip irrigation does not take that much pressure, around 8 to 10 lbs is what it needs.

  8. My garden consists of raised beds in rows. Each raised bed is about 4 feet from the next one. Can I connect them in series? I.e. Header line –> connector tubing –> drip tape — > connector tubing –> drip tape –> connector tubing –> drip tape? Or will too much pressure be lost over the series of connections?

    • Linda,

      The main thing to keep in mind with the connection tubing is you do not want too many feet of it in a system. Because it has such a small diameter it has significant pressure loss over long distances. What would work well in your case is using the larger header tubing that we use in our kits to run the 4ft between beds, and at the end of each bed to connect the drip rows to. You can use the connection tubing to make 90 degree angles to go up and over the bed walls or such to provide flexibility as needed.

      Let us know if we can help further!

  9. We are also interested in watering a line of new trees as well as a raised vegetable bed.
    Will the Waterwise Drip/Soaker Hose supply water 500 feet?

    Thank you.

    • Yes they will work at 500ft no problem, the tape is designed for field use with long rows. We do not have a ready-made 500ft hose, at that length you would need the larger filter and pressure regulator we use in our kits, instead of the small ones in the others hoses we sell.
      Another thing to keep in mind is these hoses do not make sharp turns without kinking off, so you might want to have the raised bed be a separate system and design it something like this article shows.

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