How to say “You’re Fired” to the watering can with drip irrigation.

If you’re like me, you might think that only Jolly Green Giant has a green thumb when it comes to being able to maintain pretty plants and flowers on your patio or around your garden, especially in the Texas summer heat.  When I COULD remember  to complete this task, I would ask myself if quality time with my water hose was really worth it.  I finally decided to conquer what looked like nothing short of a complex puzzle…a drip irrigation system.   Have no fear!

sample of drip irrigation running from sprinkler head to pot

Lowe’s has all kinds of neat little tools and accessories for this project in their plumbing section (look for lawn sprinkler stuff) or if you have a small area, they have prepacked options.  I opted for building my own since our patio area is quite large and I have several pots spread further away than others.

Here is what I bought: a roll of tubing (comes in green, black or beige), packages of their miniature spray heads,  “T” connectors, end stop connectors, a package of what I call “oops” plugs and an adapter that I can connect directly to my current lawn irrigation sprinkler head.  Have no worries if you don’t have a lawn irrigation system as they have an optional timer and adapter that goes directly onto your hose bib outside which is more suitable for small areas.  A lawn sprinkler system makes this easier only because you won’t have the limitations of one hose bib for a water source, but rather where ever you have a sprinkler head, you can run a drip line from.

What to buy at Lowes (missing from picture-adapter to attach to existing lawn sprinkler head)

Adapter to place onto existing lawn sprinkler head; the side attachment shown in what you attach the tubing onto

What to do:

1) Roll out the tubing from hose bib or sprinkler head along the route that will be used to go from water source to pot. If you have several pots in a group, they can be connected together.

2) Using a pair of scissors, cut the tubing where the first “T” will be inserted at the first pot.  Insert the T and attached another piece of tubing that is the length of the distance to your next pot on the opposite side.  Attach another piece of tubing to the top of the “T” that will go into your pot.  Attach the mini-sprinkler head to the end of the tubing and insert the spike into your pot near the roots.

Example of a "T" fitting-the top is the continuous run and the bottom goes to the pot to be watered

Final part of step 2-attach the miniature sprinkler head with spike onto tubing and insert the spike into the pot

3) Repeat this for however many pots or landscape beds you need to water.  I used a rule of thumb of no distances longer than 25-30′ from the water source and no more than 10-12 pots on one length of tubing.  This may vary depending on your water pressure, vertical rises etc. so play with it…you can’t hurt anything because you can plug the tubing with the “oops” plugs.

4) At the very end of the line, insert an end stop plug into the tubing.

5) Now, gently dig up the dirt around the lawn sprinkler head  that will be your watering source until the connection of the head to the white PVC pipe is revealed.  You want to  leave plenty of room to have both hands to work in the hole.  You will usually have to only dig down about 4-6″ to reveal the white pipe.  Be careful not to dig up and break the white PVC line.  Once you have a good access to the head, begin unscrewing it by turning it to the left.  The entire head and shaft should come up.  Be careful not to let dirt drop into the white pvc hole because this might plug your heads later.  Screw on the adapter directly to the bottom of the sprinkler head and reattached it to the PVC line until it is hand tightened.

Step 5-running tubing to adapter attached to sprinkler head

6) Attach the tubing to the connector that is on the side of the adapter.

7) Run your lawn sprinkler and check for leaks in the hole before backfilling, adjust the miniature sprinkler heads in each pot to ensure the flow is what you want and check for any other issues.  If a head appears to be clogged or has no flow in the pot, simply unscrew it a bit to see if that works or take it off all together and flush it out.  The pots will now be watered each time you run your lawn sprinkler system.

What it looks like in the pot

Now go make a glass of lemonade and soak up some sun.

3 thoughts on “How to say “You’re Fired” to the watering can with drip irrigation.

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