Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Use a Soaker Garden Hose

By Kate Evelyn ; Updated September 21, 2017

Unlike conventional garden hoses, soaker hoses do not rely on a single nozzle at each end. Instead, they have small pores along their entire length. Using a soaker hose in your garden has several advantages. You can water your plants without standing over them to do so, have the water distributed more evenly and direct the water to the plants that need it most without worrying about soaking the roots of the plants that don’t.

Screw one end of your soaker hose onto an outdoor faucet that will serve as your water source, or screw it onto the end of your conventional hose. Snake the soaker hose around the plants that you would like to water, as in the image. Use the black pattern for a shorter hose and the red pattern for a longer hose. It should be close to but not touching the plants. Lay hose lines so that they are at least one foot apart from one another.

Anchor your hose with U-shaped stakes so that it stays where you put it instead of rolling up. This is especially important if the hose is new. Simply place one stake over the top of the hose at every 6-inch or 12-inch interval, depending on how many stakes you have and how many times the hose changes direction.

Turn on the water and make sure water reaches the plants you intend it to and only those plants. Turn off the water and move sections of the soaker hose as needed.

Cover the hose with a layer of mulch that is approximately a half-inch thick. You want to bury it enough so that the soil retains moisture but not enough so that you will have difficulty moving the hose if you wish to do so later.

Turn the water back on and let it slowly seep into the soil surrounding the plants. Do not turn the water on so high that it sprays out like a sprinkler. The amount of time you let the hose run depends on the type of plants you are watering. Start by watering for a half hour two times a week. Monitor your plants daily for signs of overwatering, which include drooping foliage and mold forming on the leaves or stems, and adjust the watering time accordingly.


Things You Will Need

  • Soaker hose
  • Conventional hose (optional)
  • U-shaped stakes


  • If you only want to water one plant, such as a large tree or shrub, wrap the hose around it in a spiral pattern.
  • Add a timer and flow regulator to your hose if you have trouble remembering to turn it off.


  • Your soaker hose might not be as durable as an ordinary garden hose. Be careful not to step on it or get debris lodged in its holes.
  • Lay your soaker hose on flat ground only. It does not work effectively on hills or uneven ground.