Drip irrigation systems are a wonderful choice to provide your garden with a controlled amount of water in the most effortless way. While hiring a pro to set it up in your garden costs some, you can try to do it on your own.
Quite new to this? Here is a detailed guide on how to install a drip irrigation system from scratch.
Plan The Pipe Network In Your Garden
Map out the area where you intend to set up a drip irrigation system.
Locate the tap, then draw a path past those plants you want to use this watering system. Make sure two things:
- These pipes are at least 3-3/8’ away from your plants
- They are out of sight
Consider your garden size as well. If it’s too large, a pipe network from one tap doesn’t provide enough water at once. You should divide it into different zones, instead.
Plan it as detailed as possible, such as jot down each pipe’s length and which connector for each path.
Build Your Shopping List
From your plan, build the shopping list, following this guide:
Count Up The Connectors, Fixings, Drippers, And Outlets Required
With drippers, you should figure out the number of plants in your garden that need watering and whether you want to water them individually or in groups.
In terms of connectors, there are various types to choose from:
· Stop-end connectors for dead ends
· Elbow connectors for 90-degree turns
- T connectors for branching the pipe in different directions
Purchase a few more than the required number to make sure there are no nasty surprises during the installation.
Measure The Pipe Path Length
The measurement depends on your plan.
Always consider the vertical climbs, such as the pipe running from the tap to the ground.
Identify The Dripper Types And How Many You Need To Build Your Drip Irrigation System
Each dripper type delivers a specific flow rate.
You should rely on your pipe network plan to pick the right type.
For example, if you want to have fixed and precise flow rates for your garden, go for 2L, 4L, and 8L/hour pressure compensating drippers in either barb or spike version.
If you want a variety of coverages and flows for sharing between groups of plants or for large containers, choose adjustable drippers (from 0L to 40L per hour), and a spread up to 12” radius.
Here is a shopping list of drip irrigation systems used in borders and flower beds:
- Adjustable drippers (3 units per meter of flower border)
- 4mm micro supply pipe
- 4mm tube adaptors
- Irrigation hole punch
- Wall clips
- Pipe stakes
- 13mm connectors
- 13mm irrigation supply pipe
- Dual outlet water timer
Here is a shopping list of drip irrigation systems used in containers and patio pots:
- 20 pressure compensating drippers
- 10m of 4mm micro supply pipe
- 20 x 4mm tube adaptors
- Irrigation hole punch
- Wall clips
- Pipe stakes
- 13 connectors
- 15m of 13mm irrigation supply pipe
- Tail tap adaptor and nut
- Water timer
How To Install A Drip Irrigation System
Step 1: Connect To The Tap
If you use a pressure reducer, first thing first, add it to the water timer outlet.
Then, assemble the nut and tail tap adaptor.
For a water timer, directly screw it onto the tap. Later, connect a 13mm supply pipe to this water timer outlet through the tail tap adaptor and nut.
Step 2: Build The Pipe Network
Warm all the 13mm supply pipes under sunlight since they will be easier to use later. Layout them around your garden as planned, using weights to secure them.
Use scissors to cut these pipes, then secure them using stop ends, T pieces, and elbows to build the network.
To reach the required positions of the drippers, use micro supply pipes.
Drill a hole on them, then insert a tube adaptor into it to connect these micro supply pipes to the 13mm ones. Make sure to insert all of the fittings at a 90-degree angle.
Anchor and secure all of the pipes with wall clips and stakes:
- With the micro supply pipes, the stakes should be close to the dripper
- With the 13mm supply pipes, the stakes should be placed one every 3-3/8’
Now, connect the drippers:
If you use adjustable models, share this between different plants that are grouped nearby. Pay attention to the distance between them and your plants.
For barb drippers, use an irrigation hole punch to create a hole on them. Then, add them into the 13mm pipes through it.
For those drippers connecting with micro pipes, push the pipes onto the drippers’ barb inlet and secure them through a micro-tube stake.
Lastly, connect the pipe network to the tap and test if it works properly. Wait around 3-4 minutes for the whole network to build up and then drip water.
Make sure to check for any leaks before setting up the watering timer.
How To Maintain The Drip Irrigation System
Dismantle and soak all drippers in a mixture of water and vinegar for deep cleans.
Detach and store the watering timer as well as any tap accessories before the winter comes.
Get rid of all the stop ends at the end of the season. To clean off debris, flush with water, then let it drain out completely to avoid frost damage.
Knowing how to install a drip irrigation system not only helps you save a lot of cost in hiring a professional handyman but also makes your weekends more joyful and meaningful. This task is not hard to do and you can ask your kids or other members for help as an outdoor activity.
Thanks for reading!