How to Do Garden Drip Irrigation


Drip irrigation is more than 90 percent effective as a way to water your plants. Other methods evaporate in the air, or soak into the ground too fast. With a drip system, your plants get the most benefit from the water you give them. Once you have an established system in place, using it is an easy task, but there is a little more to putting drip irrigation together than attaching a hose with holes in it to a spigot.

Step 1

Attach a sub-main line to your spigot. The sub-main line allows you to attach more than one length of tubing for several rows of garden. Never exceed 400 feet of tubing per spigot. It will not produce enough pressure to move water through all of the tubing.

Step 2

Attach a backflow preventer to the water source. The backflow device keeps ground water from flowing backwards when pressure is low, or cut-off and contaminating your house water system.

Step 3

Add a pressure regulator if your house pressure system is greater than 40 psi. The water tank in your home system will show the pounds per square inch of pressure on a gauge. If your home system does not have a gauge and you do not know what the water pressure is, install a pressure regulator to be safe.

Step 4

Attach a filter to keep out small particles in the water. This is most common in well-water systems, but useful in any situation to keep the debris from clogging your emitters.

Step 5

Attach a tubing adapter to the filter to fit your irrigation tubing. Run the tube down the row to where your plants begin.

Step 6

Place the proper type of emitter at the base of each plant. For optimum results, water must reach the root ball of the plant without being trapped by the earth and held there too long. The type of soil in your area will give you an idea on how to space your emitters. Space them close together, about a foot apart, for sandy soil where water is likely to drain off quick, 18 inches apart in perfect loamy soil, and at least 24 inches apart in heavy, slow draining clay soil. Attach a length of tubing between each emitter. At the end of the row, place an end cap on the tube.

Step 7

Send out branches from the sub-main line for each row and repeat the process above.

Things You'll Need

  • Sub-main line (optional)
  • Backflow preventer
  • Pressure regulator
  • Filter
  • Tubing adapter
  • Tubing
  • Emitter
  • End cap


  • URI Cooperative Extension: Healthy Landscapes: Drip Irrigation for the Home Garden
  • Colorado State University Extension: Drip Irrigation for Home Gardens
Keywords: drip irrigation, hose, spigot

About this Author

Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing medical, health, and home-related articles as well as articles on the types of animals she has raised for years on eHow.