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

Small Garden Irrigation Ideas

By Tami Parrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

A successful garden, regardless of whether it is a vegetable or flower garden, is dependent on adequate water. Planning your garden bed so that it is easily accessible to a water source isn't enough. Figure out how you are going to deliver the water to the area. Anyone, regardless of exact schedule, can set up an efficient method of watering a garden.

Can and Hose

An age-old method of garden irrigation is the typical water can. A water can is especially efficient for raised beds or very small garden areas. You can spot water individual plants that require a little extra water in between other types of watering with a can, too. Another old-fashioned but very effective method of garden watering is a hand-held hose and spray nozzle. This method allows you to apply an exact amount of water to all areas.

When watering with above-ground means, do it early in the day. This gives your plants time to dry off before the sun is at its hottest when it can burn wet leaves. Watering late in the day may not give plants time to dry off before nightfall and encourages mildew.


A sprinkler system is another above ground watering system and requires the proper timing. A sprinkler system does not require your personal attention beyond turning it on and off when you want water delivered to your garden. You can even attach a timer to turn the sprinkler system on and off for you so you never have to worry about it. Sprinkler systems are a little cumbersome for larger gardens because you may have to move the sprinkler head several times to get all areas sufficiently saturated.


Puncture the rubber sides of a hose long enough to lay down the rows of your garden at the foot of the plants. Attach the hose to your water source and turn on. Water will flow out of the small holes in the hose providing an excellent source of water right where plants need it most: at the roots. Be careful not to let the water run too long. Saturate the ground to about 4 inches deep, but not flood the area.

Time Release

A great source of garden water is a drip jug. These are easy to construct from any large plastic container. Use 1-gallon milk jugs, 2-liter soda bottles, or any other jug big enough to hold a sufficient amount of liquid. Make sure you clean the jug well before using in your garden. Puncture several holes in all sides (or around the circumference of a round jug) and bury the jug so that the holes are below the soil line. Set one at each plant, or several along a row depending on your desired saturation.

Fill the jugs from the top opening and leave them out. The jugs will drain into the soil over time giving a constant source of water without drowning plants.


About the Author


Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing for eHow on medical, health and home-related topics as well as writing articles about the types of animals she has raised for years.