Great idea, and I just finished installing mine. I hope this post will
help those who are thinking about it. It is not as difficult as I
First, on googling "drip irrigation for the home gardener" i got
across a very useful page that lists almost all (ha! not all) the
components of a system. I went with stuff from Landscape USA, who were
very helpful (you all know me, I have posted here many times, no spam,
I simply thought these guys were doing their best). The page
I ended up eliminating the backflow preventer because I have the four
way splitter, and I can always open one of the other taps to eliminate
backflow. I am sure you all know how to plan a layout, so let me cut
to the chase.
Because of connector mismatches I ended up buying a few parts at a
local irrigation store (they too were helpful).
There are TWO types of thread, hose thread and pipe thread, and this
is very important to know. Some pieces just will not fit into another.
If you encounter this condition, you will need a connector to match
things. Don't force it!
If I were to do it again, I would buy all the connectors from tap to
filter, from filter to transfer hose, from hose (which is 5/8) to
irrigation hose (which is 1/2) at the local store, and make sure they
fit right there before exiting the store. bring a small piece of
irrigation hose and the filter to the store if you already have it,
and make sure everything fits. i would still buy the bulk of parts at
Landscape USA because I found their hoses and drip hose to be of
superior quality (they press fit in a snap. The one drip hose I bought
locally was a pain to fit).
1) I think the brass, four way faucet is great (first item in
webpage), and does not leak like the cheap two way I used to have. It
also has a fixture to bolt it to the wall for superior stability.
2) from there you connect to the filter (or backflow preventer) via a
female-female hose-pipe connector (a double female with two different
threads). The filter is male-male pipe-pipe. First important advice -
BUY SOLID BRASS CONNECTORS. They are a pain to screw on because the
whole line twists (they are rigid), but they will never leak if the
3) use teflon tape for all threaded connections.
4) even though they tell you that O-rings are not necessary for hose
male-female connections, buy and install them. You must have an O-ring
for a pipe male-female connection. Scared? The local store will
provide all these minutiae in a snap.
5) if you wish to use a regular garden hose to get to the irrigation
system, be aware that they come in lengths of 15 ft, 50 ft, or
greater. No in between. I needed exactly 20 feet, but I had to buy two
of 15, and coil ten feet.
6) Get a connector or series of connectors to go from 5/8 to 1/2, and
you are in the in-ground part of your project. Neither the irrigation
hose nor the the drip hose is UV rated. I trenched all the way to the
garden and buried the irrigation hose forever (I covered the drip
lines with compost). In areas with rodent activity I wrapped the
underground hose in six inches of chicken wire before burying
(approximately 70 feet).
7) Luckily one branch was right at the lowest point of the line. I
installed a faucet there too (underground, I made a simple housing of
bricks around it), for the sole purpose of evacuating the line before
the soil freezes. The line is rigid enough that it will shatter if
left full over the winter.
8) both irrigation and drip hose are press fit into connectors. I
learned immediately that the proper way to do it is to have a cup of
boiling hot coffee with you. you dip the end of the tube into the
coffee for five seconds, and then it enters the (typically T-)
connector most easily. After a while the coffee will be cold and
gritty (I think the plastic gives it an off taste too), so stop
drinking it and put it in the microwave to make it hot again. Very
easy. and no leaks anywhere.
9) drip lines (with large, turbulent flow drippers which do not clog
as easily) terminate in an end plug that can be opened for
end-of-season flushing of the line. The end plugs press fit with the
coffee method. You do want these.
10) last but not least. it takes some practice to cut pieces of
irrigation hose of exactly the right length. do not be afraid to throw
out a few feet until you get it right.
Having used it a few nights I can say I am impressed at how evenly the
water distributes. then again, to smother weeds I covered most beds
with cardboard, laid the hose on top of the cardboard, then covered
the hoses with compost. it is possible that it is the cardboard that
is spreading moisture so far and wide.
So now a thorough, even soaking of a 75X75 garden is as simple as
opening/closing a faucet.