How to Do a Drip Irrigation System


Drip irrigation systems are used to deliver a slow, steady stream of water to plants and garden areas. Using a drip irrigation system can help save time, money, water and labor. You can purchase a kit or build your own from garden hoses or PVC pipe. Having the proper layout and maintaining the system are the two most important considerations when you do a drip irrigation system.

Step 1

Plan the drip irrigation system by drawing the layout on paper. Mark the boundaries of your property. Draw in the outline of where the garden areas are on the property. Draw in the location of the house; use for walls with a good estimate of their dimensions in relation to the property.

Step 2

Set the main line of the drip irrigation system into place. Use a center line system for narrow or smaller plans, and a perimeter system for larger or spread out plans. You want the main line to be as close to the garden areas as possible to keep the length of the feeder lines to a minimum. Attach the ¼ -inch lines to the main line near the plants you want to water. Install emitters at the end of the feeder lines; you should place emitters mid-line as well if your lines are passing multiple plants within one area.

Step 3

Connect the faucet from the house to the garden hose. Connect the garden hose to the backflow preventer, pressure regulator and timer. Attach the main line to the end of this set-up. Test the system to make sure it is operating properly and adjust as needed. Set the timer after you are satisfied with the placement and performance of the line.

Step 4

Check the emitters and lines during the season to ensure they are functioning properly. Clean out any dirt or debris from the emitters and connections. Flush the system after any maintenance. Clean the filter regularly.

Step 5

Winterize the drip irrigation system at the end of the season. Take off the head assembly, backflow preventer, pressure regulator and filter. Store these inside the house. Take the cap off the mainline end and drain the lines. Recap the line. Wrap the lines in the foam insulation.

Step 6

Flush the mainline again in the spring to clean out any debris or anything which crawled into the line. Clean the filters and recap the lines. Pressurize and run water through the emitters to check for problems.


  • -- Drip Irrigation
  • Colorado State University -- General Overview of Drip Irrigation
  • Jess Stryker -- Drip Irrigation Tutorials
Keywords: drip irrigation, drip line irrigation system, drip irrigation system

About this Author

William A. Swan 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.