How to Install a Drip System Irrigation


When you install a drip irrigation system, you'll be watering your plants at their root zone, which is where they need it. You won't be watering paths and sidewalks or the weeds that grow near your plants, as often happens when you use a sprinkler or even when you water with a hose. Drip irrigation also conserves water because none is wasted on areas and plants that don't need water. Perhaps the best part is that it will save time, especially if you connect your system to a timer.

Step 1

Measure your garden to determine the dimensions of the areas you want to water. Purchase a drip irrigation kit to simplify the job of setting up your system.

Step 2

Lay the main hose in the center of your garden area. This hose is normally ½-inch black plastic. If it pops up, anchor it with rocks or other objects: in time the hose will flatten out and you can remove the rocks.

Step 3

Install pressure regulator, backflow preventer, vacuum breaker or other pieces included in your kit. Follow instructions on the package. Such parts help limit the amount of water that flows from your faucet through the drip irrigation lines and are normally connected to an outdoor faucet. Also included might be one or more small screens that will filter sediment and prevent it from traveling through your drip lines, where it can contribute to the blockage of emitters.

Step 4

Connect a garden hose from the pressure regulator or other parts you connected to your faucet if the distance from the faucet to your garden is more than several feet. Then connect the other end of your hose to the main drip line in your garden.

Step 5

Punch holes in the main line near each plant you want to water, then insert one or more emitters near the base of each plant. Your kit might include ¼-inch hose that you insert into the main line with connectors and then snake or string these smaller lines through areas near your main ½-inch line. Cut the ¼-inch hose where you want an emitter and install emitters between the cut sides of the hose.

Step 6

Install a timer at your faucet if you want your drip system to start and stop running at the times you specify.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Drip irrigation kit
  • Hole punch for drip lines
  • Garden hose
  • Water
  • Timer (optional)


  • This Old House: How To Install Drip Irrigation
  • Irrigation Tutorials: Landscape Sprinkler and Drip Irrigation
Keywords: drip irrigation, watering methods, plant maintenance

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.