Installing a Drip Irrigation System
Time Required: Over 1 day
Drip irrigation is an efficient, easy to design and install permanent irrigation system. Drip irrigation works by applying water slowly, directly to the soil and plants. Kits for drip irrigation are inexpensive and assembly is straightforward. You can install one in as little as one day's time, and few tools are required.
This guide outlines the procedures for laying out the irrigation grid and installing the hoses, branch lines, emitters and feeder lines.
- Lay out a grid with hoses and emitters showing the plants you want to water and how far apart they are.
- Each plant will get an emitter, a tiny sprinkler, for its own watering needs, and each emitter will be attached to the water source with a network of drip irrigation lines, 1/4- and 1/8-inch plastic tubing that runs from the main hose to your plants.
- For continuous coverage, place emitters every 12 inches apart in sandy soil, 18 inches in loamy soil and 24 inches in clay soil.
- Install a backflow preventer valve to the outdoor faucet to keep groundwater from backing up into your drinking water.
- Attach a hose adapter to fit the diameter of the system's main line.
- Connect the system's main line to the backflow preventer and run it to the garden.
- Punch holes in the line for each emitter with emitter tool and place emitters in the desired location.
- If plants to be irrigated are more than 1 foot away from the line, cut an appropriate length of 1/8-inch emitter tubing and attach the feeder line to the emitter on the branch line and then attach an emitter to the end of the feeder line.
- Plug the ends of the individual lines with caps and secure with band clamps.
- Flush the system every four to six months by removing the end caps and turning on the water, allowing it to run until the water flows clear.