DIY Drip Irrigation Systems: Step-by-Step Guide for Home Gardeners

DIY Drip Irrigation Systems: Step-by-Step Guide for Home Gardeners

Mar 20th 2024

The right balance in soil, air, and moisture can help you grow a beautiful home garden. Many gardeners now rely on micro-irrigation methods, such as drip, to deliver water in low volumes and create the perfect harmony required for plants. Drip irrigation is 60% more efficient than sprinklers and optimal for landscape, flower, or any other type of garden in your backyard.

On top of that, you can easily install this system even if you have no previous experience. In this blog, you will find every nitty-gritty detail about installation, followed by a step-by-step guide to begin your DIY drip irrigation. So, let's dash ahead and discuss more about the topic!

Main Parts of a Garden Drip Irrigation System

Like other unique methods, drip irrigation requires a few key components for efficient operation. While drip irrigation styles can vary according to the soil surface and field size, the fundamentals of any installation setup are almost identical. For your home garden, you need the following main parts ready before installing DIY drip irrigation.

1. Hose Bib

The hose bib is simply a water faucet outside your home that connects to the mainline tubing and distributes water across your plants. If you don't already have one, we recommend calling a plumber and installing one near your home garden.

2. Hose Splitter

As the name implies, a hose splitter divides the flow of your spigot or hose bib into numerous pathways and provides water to different areas of your garden.

3. Digital Timer

Using a digital timer, you can set up water schedules and simplify your gardening routine. For instance, set your timer to activate watering on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday around 8 a.m. every week. The timer will begin and water your plants automatically.

4. Screen Filter

Dirty water can clog the emitters, drip tubing, and other irrigation equipment, harming your garden plants. Hence, a screen filter is crucial for trapping particles and ensuring a consistent water flow.

5. Pressure Regulator

Pressure-reducing regulators are convenient for adjusting the water pressure according to your garden's drip design and needs. Most gardeners prefer a regulator with 15 to 30 psi working pressure. But overall, it should be compatible with your drip system to avoid risks of damaging your drip lines or fittings.

6. Backflow Preventer

A backflow preventer ensures that water only flows in a single direction from your garden hose and prevents water supply contamination. Otherwise, your potable water source can fill with dirt and bacteria, especially if your gardening involves fertilizers.

7. Mainline Tubing

Distribution tubing takes water directly from the hose bib to your gardening space. It should be flexible yet robust and easy to install in your garden. Mainline is often made from Polyethylene which is a low-density poly tube. This type of tubing is mainly used to distribute water to emitters or drip lines that deliver water to your plants.

8. Drip Lines

Drip lines are available in various diameters and lengths. One of the bestselling drip lines is Drip tape. It is ideal for long-row crops and delivers a low volume of water at low pressures to your plants. The 1/4" Soaker Dripline is a micro tubing with emitters built into the tubing. It is great for containers, small to medium beds, and small shrubs. The 1/2 Emitter tubing has pressure-compensating emitters built into the tubing and is great for long rows, orchards, and uneven hilly gardens. There is a drip line for every application.

9. Fittings

Fittings are a must for any drip system. Tees, elbows, caps, and couplers are available for all drip line sizes. The most common fitting type is the Perma lock type fitting, also known as the Easy-Loc style. The Easy Loc is easy to install and replace if needed. Compression and barb-style fittings are also commonly used in drip irrigation.

10. Hold-down stakes

One last component that will make any job easier is the hold-down stakes. These hold your mainline and drip tubing in place. Available in various sizes and materials, these stakes will complete your system.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Installing a Drip Irrigation System in Your Garden

1. Plan the Layout

First and foremost, plan the whole thing out. Take a piece of paper and sketch your layout.

  • What is the total size of your garden?
  • What are the water requirements of your plants?
  • How far is your garden from the outside faucet?
  • How much water is available from your faucet?
  • What is the incoming pressure from your faucet?
  • Is a single water source enough?
  • How will you run the tubing through your garden?
  • Mark how many tees, elbows, caps, and dripline you will need.

Once you have answered all these questions, half of your problems will be solved. Moving forward, read more about the types of plants in your garden and the length and pressure that would work best with your drip system.

2. Gather Equipment

Make a checklist and purchase the necessary equipment from a reliable source like DripWorks. It's better to go for high-flow drippers if your garden has sandy soil and low-flow drippers for clay soil. Check with your local gardening store for watering requirements for your plants.

3. Get the Mainline

The mainline is like a spine to your garden's drip irrigation system. You can start with ½'' polyethylene tubing, a perfect option for small and medium-sized gardens; oval hose is available for extensive gardens and farms.

4. Set up the System

The next and most important step is setting up the entire system, from hose bibs to the drip line. So, follow the sequence below and get your drip system running.

  • Place a timer at the hose bib and set your watering schedules.
  • Add your back flow preventer, filter, and pressure regulator, followed by a hose start fitting.
  • Attach the mainline to the hose start fitting. Then run your mainline towards the garden.
  • Use fittings to make turns and to branch off into desired areas.
  • Connect your driplines or emitters as needed.
  • Turn on the drip system and flush out any debris or dirt and then cap the ends of the tubing.

5. Perform Initial Testing

Also, don't rush the process; it will take 3 to 4 days to know how long you should keep the system on and see how things are going.

The Bottom Line

It may sound daunting initially, but installing the drip irrigation on your own is not a big deal. You need proper instructions and a premium kit to help set up the system. However, a reliable drip store is essential for a long-lasting drip irrigation system. DripWorks provides top-notch irrigation services for design help feel free contact us. Customer service is available to answer any drip irrigation questions.