Setting Up An Effective Irrigation System

If you are like me, you are not a big fan of watering your small garden. It takes too much time and wastes too much water. If you want a hassle free garden a great idea is to set up an irrigation system from the beginning. Not only will this save you time in the long run but money as well. When it comes to small gardens there are basically 3 types of irrigation systems; watering by hand, sprinkler systems and the drip irrigation system. Here are the pros and cons of each:

1. Watering by hand:


-If you love to play with water, this one’s for you

-Watering plants by hand can actually be quite relaxing

-Brings you into your garden and closer to your plants

-You can water individual plants, with as much or as little water as they need


-Wastes water; a lot falls onto the surrounding ground when using a hose

-A lot of the water just evaporates from the surface of the soil before being able to reach the roots

-Can lead to overwatering if you don’t know when to stop

-Heavy watering can cause soil and nutrients near the roots to be washed away

2. Sprinkler Irrigation system:


-Waters quickly

-Waters a larger area with less water and time than by using a hose

-Can be set to a Water Timer and Rain Sensor to make it a more effective irrigation system


-Unless you have a larger yard this doesn’t make much sense

-Needs to be installed by a professional, unless you are really handy

-Wastes a lot of water when a sprinkler head breaks or pipe bursts

-There can be a lot of water runoff if not set up correctly

-Heavy watering can cause nutrients near the roots to be washed away

 3. Drip irrigation System:


-Very water efficient; slowly waters plants at the roots = less evaporation and less water loss

-Can be set to a Water Timer and Rain Sensor for more effective watering

-Can be set up even if you are not very handy

-Precise watering; each individual plant gets the water they need

-Light watering will prevent nutrients and soil from being washed away

-Less weeds- water will only go to the roots and not feed weeds surrounding the plants

-Plants grow faster because they get the necessary water they need

-Cheaper than sprinkler irrigation systems

-Very flexible; can water plants at roots as well as on the surface with micro-spray irrigation


-Can become clogged

-A bit complicated to set up

-If laying on the surface, can become a tripping hazard

My favorite of course is the Drip Irrigation System because it conserves water, irrigates precisely and is somewhat easy to install.

To purchase:

Water Timer

Rain Sensor

Drip Irrigation System

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Purchasing and installing any type of irrigation system, including drip irrigatio systems, can get complicated. So if you don’t understand it, it’s best to consult a professional before attempting it yourself.
  • There are many different types of drip irrigation systems tailored to specific needs (patio systems, raised garden bed systems, for lawns and for regular garden beds), you need to choose the one that fits your needs.
  • Before buying accessories such as timers, filters, rain sensors etc. make sure they will work with your specific irrigation system.
  • Some of the accessories you will need are; a filter (keeps small particles from clogging the lines) an anti-siphon valve (keeps water from flowing back into your house water) and a pressure regulator (keeps constant pressure within the lines, so smaller lines don’t pop off) connected to your water source. If you purchase a kit some of these accessories may be included already.
  • You may want to draw a layout of where each lines is going to go; this will save you time and guesswork later on when installing.

To learn more about drip irrigation system installation and get more tips check out these VIDEOS:

Simple Drip Irrigation

How To Build And Install A Drip Irrigation System

How to Install a Drip Irrigation and Water Timer using a standard garden hose faucet

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