Learn how to install a DIY drip irrigation system for raised beds to keep your garden watered all season long!
After building our new DIY raised beds, I realized two things pretty quickly. One was that our existing sprinkler system couldn’t water them in their current positions and that I was NOT going to come out and hand water everyday! We live in hot, humid Houston, TX and the sun bakes pretty much everything – especially tiny little seedlings! For that reason I decided to try a DIY drip irrigation system for raised beds!
How To Move Sprinkler Head
Before we could work on our DIY drip irrigation system, we needed to move one of our sprinkler heads. We had 3 pop up sprinkler heads in this zone which was plenty for our new raised beds. Unfortunately, I built, installed, and filled the beds before I thought about the sprinklers – whoops!
One of the heads had to be dug out, but it was in the perfect spot between two beds. The second one was at the end of one of the beds and could easily cover two of the raised beds. The last needed to be moved about 6 feet so the tubing wasn’t strug across the grass in the walkway and then it would cover the remaining two DIY raised beds we built.
We started by gently digging around the head to see which way the pipe was going. Luckily the end was easy to slightly bend in the direction we needed it to go. We removed the pop up head along with the elbow joint that connected it to the pipe. We used a couple of EZ pipes connected with 1/2 inch EZ barbed coupling to extend across the grass.
After digging the trench, we placed the now longer pipe and the new end that had a riser and the new manifold on top (in place of the pop up head). We used a clamp to hold it in place while we backfilled the trench.
For added durability, we also wrapped each of the fittings with plumbers tape. I’m not sure if this was required but we figured it wouldn’t hurt! We were also careful when digging out the grass to keep it in large sections so we could try to salvage the grass. After a few weeks in filled back in nicely.
DIY Drip Irrigation
- Remove your existing sprinkler head.
- Add a riser (and a coupling if needed)
- Attach the manifold on top of the riser.
- Measure out how much you need and push a section of 1/4 inch tubing onto the manifold.
- Open the valve.
- Insert the drip emitters onto the other end of the 1/4 inch tubing.
- Insert the drip emitter stake into the soil where you'd like it placed.
- Turn on water to test and adjust the spray diameter by twisting the top.
The drip emitters I tried originally fit directly into the end of the tube. This meant I had to try to curve the tube and angle the heads so they would spray out horizontally instead of perpendicular to the ground. Ultimately I swapped out my DIY drip irrigation supplies and used these instead!
It’s important to note, you don’t need the water to shoot out over the edges of your raised beds. As long as the water is covering the majority of the soil, you plants can absorb the moister they need. You’ll also notice the longer the run, the more the soil is soaked (duh!). I only needed to run mine for about 10 minutes to keep the soil moist for my little seedlings.
You’ll see I’ve setup my drip irrigation system in a varity of locations. One is coming up through the dirt in the bed, one is at the end of one of the two beds it covers, and the third is outside or next to one of the raised beds. I think the ones behind or in the beds are probably best, I just have to be careful not to bump the one outside the beds when I mow. The important thing is all the drip lines are secured in or behind the beds. You may not have much choice where your sprinkler heads are located, but if you do need to move one you can use our advice above!
Swapping your sprinkler heads to create a DIY drip irrigation system isn’t too difficult or expensive! I hope this project inspires you to install your own drip irrigation system for your raised beds.
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