How to Install Garden Drip Irrigation


A drip irrigation system is an essential gardening feature that provides timely and adequate amounts of water to growing plants, thus reducing waste, lowering utility bills and saving time. Such a micro-irrigation system is basically composed of tubes and tiny sprayers or emitters that water the base of plants and soil. Design your system to suit your garden shape, size and needs, and install it yourself to save on excess costs.

Step 1

Draw the shape and size of your garden on graph paper to reduce time during assembly and installation. Mark out the positions of different sized plants, trees and shrubs that you want to water. Join different plants to one another with dots to form the shortest route for tubes used in the system. You need 1 foot of 1/2-inch tubing for every square foot of plant bed.

Step 2

Lay the plastic tubing in the sun to soften it before using it. Make sure the hose bib is attached to a pressure regulator. Secure a vacuum breaker to the regulator first, and a filter to the regulator. Connect the hose swivel to the other end of the filter. The hose swivel has an end through which you will attach the tubing later. Screw the entire assembly to the hose bib.

Step 3

Lay the tubing in the garden. Attach a garden hose to the hose bib, ensuring it reaches the desired garden bed. Secure 1/2-inch wide tubing with pre-attached emitters to the end of this this garden hose with barbed connectors. Snake this tubing around the base of individual plants in the bed, keeping the lines 12 inches apart.

Step 4

Secure the tubing with plastic stakes that feature a hook near the top. Push each stake down in the soil so the hook presses against the tube to hold it in place.

Step 5

Loop 1/4-inch wide tubing around a tree or shrub. Punch a hole in the 1/2-inch tubing where the loop around the tree begins and push a tiny tee-connector into it. Attach an end of the1/4-inch tubing with attached emitters to one side of this connector. Form a large tubing loop around the tree trunk that extends halfway out to the canopy. Cut the tubing with scissors and attach this end to the other side of the connector.

Step 6

Install micro-sprayers for dense planting where it is not possible to install tubing around the base of individual plants. Pierce the 1/2-inch wide tubing and insert a straight connector through the hole. Attach 1/4-inch wide unperforated tubing to one end, and the sprayer to the other. Make sure the tubing length reaches the spot where you want to install the sprayer easily. Clip the tiny sprayer to a stake and position it in the ground cover.

Step 7

Close the tubing after you position all micro-tubing and attachments by sliding an end clamp into the opening and folding the rest. Cover all tubing with 2 inches of mulch to avoid evaporation.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • 1/2-inch drip tubing (with or without factory installed emitters)
  • 1/4-inch drip tubing
  • Vacuum breaker
  • Pressure regulator
  • Filter
  • Elbow, straight and tee connectors
  • Micro-sprayers and emitters
  • Plastic hook stakes
  • Bark mulch


  • This Old House: How to Install Drip Irrigation
  • Colorado State University Extension: Drip Irrigation for Home Gardens
Keywords: drip irrigation system, installing drip irrigation, garden drip irrigation

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.