Water is a vital component of plant growth, but watering your garden by hand can prove an exhausting task. You have to take time to water every plant, drag hoses between gardens or even move sprinklers around. This is where drip irrigation systems come in. They take the hassle out of watering your plants by supplying them with consistent moisture to bloom beautifully.
What is Drip Irrigation?
Drip irrigation is a low volume, low pressure watering system that delivers water to landscapes. It helps keep the roots moist while minimizing the amount of water used. You can conceal most of the drip irrigation system with mulch as long as the parts that emit water are on top of the mulch. While drip irrigation systems offer many advantages, it is important to note that watering of any kind is restricted. As such, you should consider familiarizing the local water regulations before installing any irrigation system.
The popularity of drip irrigation has grown considerably over the recent years, mainly due to the fact that most people don’t have time to water their gardens. It is one of the cost-efficient and easiest ways to keep your garden healthy. There is also the issue of lack of fresh water. With many places going through extreme drought, homeowners need an irrigation system that minimizes water usage. The drip irrigation system can also be used to add fertilizer quickly and boost plant growth.
Here is why drip irrigation systems are worth investing in:
They require minimal tools and time to install
You only need to install them once and they’ll do their job throughout the season
They can be customized to optimize water usage
The garden will water itself if you install a timer
They have minimal overspray and evaporation, hence more water conservation
They offer flexibility as your plants grow
Raindrip R560DP Automatic Container and Hanging Baskets Kit
KORAM IR-D 50 Feet Blank Distribution Tubing Hose Plant Watering Irrigation Drip Kit
Rain Bird GRDNERKIT Drip Irrigation Gardener's Drip Kit
Rain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit
Orbit 69525 Micro Bubbler Complete Drip Irrigation Watering Kit
Orbit 69500 92-Piece Drip Irrigation Assortment Kit
Enterra Supply Drip Irrigation Kit Blank Distribution Tubing & 40 Emitters - 70ft
Flantor Garden Irrigation System, 1/4" Blank Distribution Tubing Watering Drip Kit
KINGSO 82ft Micro Drip Irrigation Kit
75ft Garden and Greenhouse Landscaping Irrigation Plant Watering Drip Hose Sprinkler System Kit
The Raindrip R560DP is a starter kit that comes with everything you need to get started with drip irrigation. It boasts an innovative design that includes hose thread and snap in connections. The kit combines the ease of automatic watering and the satisfaction of vibrant looking plants. The supply tubing and timer are threaded like a hose, hence easy installation and customization.
It offers superior quality with a Raindrip hose made from low density polyethylene. The hose also has UV inhibitors to minimize damage from the elements. This precision watering system delivers water at the root of the zone and waters up to 20 plants. Setting up is easy and the included timer automates the irrigation procession.
- Easy to customize and expand your irrigation system
- Only installs in three steps
- Raindrop hose is made from low-density polyethylene and has UV inhibitors
- Comes with timer to automate the entire process
- Timer has been known to fail after a few months
The Koram IR-D comes with everything you need to set up and install a water-saving drip system. One of the major highlights is that it offers high quality customization. It comes with durable nozzles, pipe and tee with an average lifetime of two years. You can adjust the flow of every nozzle individually to meet the water demands of each plant.
From greenhouses and flower beds to handing plants and pot plants, this drip irrigation system can prove quite versatile. This is a great kit for 20-25 square meters of an area. It helps you save up to 70% by delivering water to the root zone.
- Works in a 25-45 PSI pressure range
- Ideal for small to medium sized gardens
- Innovative design with hose thread and snap connections
- Additional tubing, fittings and feeder lines for customization
- Hose cannot thrive under high pressure
Another one of our favorite irrigation kits is the Rain Bird GRDNERKIT, which covers up to 75 square feet in landscape or garden areas. It is a precise drip watering system that offers a perfect balance between automated watering and healthy plants. Installation is quite easy and doesn’t require any special tools, particularly since it comes with everything you need.
The kit comes with 50 pieces including spot watering meters, emitter and distribution tubing, stakes and fittings, distribution tubing, faucet connection, regulator and more. Because the system only waters the plants, you don’t have to worry about excessive weeding. The emitters have a patented design that ensures clog-resistant flow.
- Reliable flow in any planting area
- Precise watering for healthy and vibrant plants
- Comes with 50 pieces and an instruction manual for easy installation
- Designed to ensure clog-resistant flow
- Not efficient if your plants are more than 15” apart
The Rain Bird 32ETI is an in-ground and fully automatic sprinkler system for watering your lawn or garden. It is specially designed for DIY installation and helps you get rid of the ugly brown spots in your backyard. Additionally, the system provides precise and even coverage with automated watering convenience. You will appreciate how easy it is to maintain your system. It self-drains to prevent freeze damage during the winter.
The Rain Bird 32ETI kit has everything you need to set up an irrigation system and can cover an area of 3000 square feet. It comes with the rugged gear-drive rotors that are found in professionally installed Rain Bird systems. Every rotor has a watering range of 19-24 feet at an average 45 PSI home water pressure. You also get 12 extra nozzles for fine-tuning the sprinkler coverage to optimize water usage.
- Can cover large lawns of up to 3000 square feet
- Simple top of the rotor adjustments
- Greener and more vibrant plants with less water
- Automated watering for convenience
- Timer and valve are not of very good quality
The Orbit 69525 is an all in one drip system that installs in less than 20 minutes and delivers precise watering. It saves water consumption by up to 70% compared to traditional spray heads, making it quite handy for drought conditions. The micro-bubbler and simple stake placement makes it easy to water your plants directly and minimize growth of weeds.
You get very flexible tubing that allows for stress-free installation around trees. This system can be used for yards and gardens up to 250 square feet. The 0.5” and 0.25” distribution tubing is very flexible, hence easy customization.
- Plenty of flexibility to water your plants
- Designed to get you going with quick and easy installation
- Includes a drop-lock coupling for easy expansion when needed
- Hose may burst if water is under high pressure
This 92-piece drip irrigation kit from Orbit includes everything you need to water your garden efficiently. It includes ¼” fittings, heads, accessories and an installation guide to get you started. Everything comes in a handy refillable case that makes organization easy. What we love most about this kit is that everything is compatible with other drip irrigation systems and can be used expand your already existing system. The main concern is that it doesn’t come with any tubing or hoses.
- Great assortment of items for expansion
- Easy to understand drip installation instructions
- Items are compatible with most drip irrigation systems
- Doesn’t come with tubing or hoses
The Enterra Supply Drip Irrigation Kit comes with blank distribution and 40 emitters to help you set up an efficient watering system. Installation is easy and doesn’t require any tools. All you need to do is connect to your ¾” garden hose thread faucet. The kit allows you to save water during the dry season by delivering water to the root zone of the plants. In addition to the 70’ tubing and 40 emitters, you also get 40 T connectors, 5 end line and 5 2-point connectors, as well as 40 stakes.
- Instruction manual for easy installation
- Assortment of accessories and fittings to get started
- Saves water by targeting the root zone of the plants
- Easy to customize
- Not for high pressure water flow
Once you have installed this automated water distribution system, all you have to do is turn on the faucet and your plants will be watered. It ensures that your plants are well taken care even when travelling or on business trips. Each of included nozzles can be adjusted individually to meet the demands of different plants simultaneously. Installation is easy and doesn’t require any special tools or skills. Other contents that come with the kit include 50 feet ¼” blank distribution tubing, 20 barbed tee, 20 barbed couplings, 20 tee pipe connectors, 20 single barbed couplings, 20 goof plugs, 20 atomizing nozzles and ¼” tubing connector.
- Easy to customize
- Nozzles can be adjusted individually
- Can be automated if you integrate a timer
- Long 50 foot tubing
- Not very powerful when more than 10 heads are installed
The KINGSO 82’ Micro Drip Irrigation System is an excellent solution for someone in search of a self hose watering kit. It comes with a 25m hose for water distribution. You also get 30x tee joint, 30x fixed stem, 30x adjustable dripper, 3x faucet connector accessories and 1x Teflon tape. Once installed, this drip irrigation system can be used for automatic plant or flower watering.
- Automatic watering and highly versatile
- Comes with everything you need to get started
- Saves up to 70% compared to standard watering systems
- Can be connected directly to threaded faucet
- There were leakage reports
This irrigation kit works both as a drip and sprinkler watering system. Highlights include 10 PC drippers, 1 compensating flow control, 75’ vinyl tubing, a pipe thread tubing adapter and filter washer. The system sets up easily and can be adjusted to accommodate hanging baskets, pots, troughs etc. It offers an efficient solution to watering your plants and the best thing is that it minimizes water usage.
- Comes with all the fixtures required to install up to 75ft of irrigation
- Easily adjustable to accommodate the needs of different plants
- Efficient watering system that minimizes water usage
- Tubing may burst if water is under high pressure
Components of Drip Irrigation Systems
These turn the water flow through the pipe on and off. They come in two main types i.e. control valves and isolation valves. Control valves turn water on and off to individual areas of the garden that are irrigated separate from the rest. They can be manually or automatically operated. You can install one or multiple control valves depending on your needs.
Isolation valves are manually operated and used for infrequent water shut-off. They are usually installed at the water source so that water can be shut off during the non-irrigation season or repairs. Isolation valves can also be installed elsewhere other than the water source to allow repair of sections when shutting down the entire system is inconvenient.
As the name suggests, pressure regulators or pressure reducing valves help keep the pressure of water consistent. Most drip systems operate at low pressure as compared to standard water supply systems. A pressure regulator lowers the pressure and helps maintain it at a constant level, even if the incoming water pressure fluctuates. This is something you need to install, especially if the water pressure is higher than 40 PSI. It is important to note that a pressure regulator cannot increase pressure. As such, you should avoid installing one if you already have insufficient pressure.
A non-adjustable pressure regulator is a great option for a small garden or drip irrigation system with less than three control valves. It comes with a preset outlet pressure and is usually made from plastic. Non-adjustable pressure regulators have very specific flow ranges and don’t work at ranges higher or lower than what’s listed. They have to be installed after the control valve.
Adjustable pressure regulators can be installed before or after the control valve. They come with a large screw for adjusting the pressure and are usually made from bronze or brass. It is important to ensure that the pressure regulator you choose is the right size as rated in the flow range. Keep in mind that manufacturers use different sizing formulas.
The emitter controls the rate of water flow into the soil. Emitters are usually made from plastic and are small devices that screw onto a pipe or drip tube. With some kits, the emitter is preassembled as part of a tube. Most emitters emit water at a rate of one gallon per hour.
This is a device that helps prevent dirt and debris from getting sucked back into the drinking water from the irrigation system. A backflow preventer must be installed on every drip irrigation system. There are different types of backflow preventers including atmospheric, anti-siphon, pressure vacuum breaker, reduced pressure type and double check type backflow preventers.
Every drip irrigation system should have a filter for cleaning the water. This will save you lots of grief and dead plants by cleaning suspended impurities to prevent clogging and passage of drip nozzles. There are three main types of filters i.e. gravel, screen and disc filters. Gravel filters are designed for biological materials, suspended soils and organic materials. They are good for open reservoirs, where algae tends to grow. Gravel filters basically consist of sand or small basalt gravel placed inside a metallic cylindrical tank. Water is discharged at the bottom and reversing the flow cleans the filter.
Screen filters are cylindrical and made from plastic or non-corrosive metals. The filtration elements of disc filters are grooved plastic disc that are piled around a telescopic core.
This is the tube that runs from the water source to the control valves. It may be made from copper, galvanized steel, PVC, PEX or Heavy Wall Polyethylene. If using PVC mainline, you should consider keeping it buried. This is because PVC is susceptible to damage by the sun. You can also apply a coat of paint or wrap it with aluminum tape when using the mainline above ground. Polyethylene should only be used where the pressure is below 50PSI. Too high a pressure will cause a polyethylene mainline to burst. PEX is a type of polyethylene and can handle more pressure. It is a great alternative to more expensive copper tubes.
Hose thread vs. pipe threads
There are two different types of threading found on 0.75” drip equipment. Hose threads are found on garden hoses and faucets. The female side has a soft hose washer that completes the connection. Pipe threads are found on standard pipes.
The lateral is a pipe located between the drip tube and control valve. It can be made from polyethylene, PEX or PVC. Small drip irrigation systems don’t always require a lateral. However, the lateral is a necessity when connecting multiple drip tubes.
Otherwise known as the drip hose, drip tubing is laid on the ground surface between plants and emitters installed on it. Common sizes of drip tubing are 3/8”, ½” and ¾”. Drip tubing aren’t used for some systems. Such systems are called hard-piped drip systems and are often found in commercial landscapes.
Other notable components of drip irrigation systems include:
Flush valves/end caps
Spaghetti, feeder and distribution tubing
Drip tube fittings
Hose to pipe adapters
Gromate and take-off