Homemade Watering System for a Vegetable Garden


Watering a vegetable garden can be a hassle for gardeners. To avoid the problem of knowing when, and how much, to water, the gardener can install a homemade watering system. One method is a drip irrigation system. Setting up drip irrigation can save time, money, water and labor in a single season. This system can be installed in one day.

Step 1

Lay out the design of the watering system on paper before placing the pipes. Draw the boundaries of the property. Sketch in the outline of where the vegetable garden will be on the property. Draw in the house location. This will give you a good estimate of dimensions, distance and length for the watering system.

Step 2

Lay out the actual watering system to get an idea of what the setup looks like. This gives you an idea of potential problems before connecting and using the system. Use the elbows or corners to fit the main line to the shape of the vegetable garden. Avoid using 45-degree angles as this can cause a backflow problem within the system. Use a center line system for small or narrow areas and a perimeter system for large or spread-out areas. Put the main line as close to where the plants will be as possible; this ensures the feeder lines to individual sections of the garden are as short as possible.

Step 3

Install the Y connector to the water line outlet at the house. This is where the garden hose normally attaches to the house. Use the connector to have access to both the watering system and garden hose for dual applications. Attach the backflow preventer to the system timer. Attach the pressure regulator to the backflow preventer. Attach the swivel adapter to the pressure regulator. Attach the main line of the watering system to the adapter.

Step 4

Set up the 1/4-inch lines from the main line to run near the plants so water goes directly to the roots. Put the feeder lines between rows if you are using a row system for the vegetable garden; place the feeders running between hills or in a starburst pattern with the ends in the middle of the garden for hill layouts or spot gardens.

Step 5

Punch sets of emitter holes on three sides of the lines, using the hammer and hole punch. Put the holes next to the plants. Attach the end caps at the end of the line.

Step 6

Set up wood blocks under the lines before or after each set of emitter holes. This will help create the drip for the irrigation and avoids drowning plants and clogged lines. Put the main line over weed fabric to protect it; put garden mulch over the main line if you wish to hide it from view or prevent tripping or damage.

Step 7

Attach the garden hose to the faucet at the house. Attach the other end of the garden hose to the backflow preventer; this will attach the entire system to the water line. Test the system by turning on the water. Adjust the lines as needed to ensure proper placement of the lines and proper water flow. Set the timer once the watering system is functioning properly.

Step 8

Place the clamps over the lines. Set hair pins at the ends of the clamps to hold them in the ground. Start at the faucet and set the clamps every 3 feet. Continue setting the clamps until the main line and all feeder lines have been clamped into position. Make sure not to cover emitter holes.

Things You'll Need

  • Y connector
  • ½ -inch PVC tubing
  • ¼ -inch PVC tubing
  • Connectors and elbows
  • Terminals and end caps
  • Hammer
  • Hole punch
  • Timer
  • Backflow preventer
  • Pressure regulator
  • Garden hose
  • Hair pins
  • Clamps
  • 2-by-2-by-2 inch square Blocks


  • Demesne: Really Basic Drip Irrigation
  • Colorado State University Extension: Drip Irrigation for Home Gardens
  • Irrigation Tutorials: What Do You Need Help With?
Keywords: drip irrigation system, watering vegetable gardens, vegetable garden irrigation

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.