How to setup water irrigation

How to setup water irrigation

Ask anyone on this planet what plants and crops need to survive and the answer you’ll get is water. Of course, there is also sunlight, air, and nutrients, but the first thing that comes to people’s minds is usually water.
For the average person, installing an automatic hose reel onto the wall or having an expandable hose is enough for their needs, but for those of us with greener thumbs who wish to create incredible gardens, or grow our own crops, we need something more- a water irrigation system.

A good system can be made up of drip lines, sprinklers, micro-jets, and more, so the amount of choice is not the problem most people face. The difficult part for the majority of folk is how to set up a water irrigation system.
In this article, we will take a look at the various options available and take you through the necessary steps to go through, in order to install a water irrigation system in your own garden.

Types of automatic water irrigation systems available

As we mentioned above, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to automatic water irrigation, but some are better suited for specific purposes than others, so we thought we would go through the main ones here and explain what they are best used for.

With any of these systems, I would highly recommend using a water timer, whether digital or analog, and if you want to keep the water bill down and do your bit for the environment, installing a couple of good-sized water butts is a great idea.

Drip irrigation systems

Drip irrigation systems are quite versatile and can be used for growing crops in patches, flower beds, and even in containers and baskets. Some people have problems with watering raised beds, and for that reason, we wrote an article called how to often you should do water raised garden beds.

Drip irrigation systems are highly efficient and you will not get a lot of wasted water with them, but because of the small amount of water they release, they are not ideal for some applications.
Basically, drip irrigation systems consist of a number of interconnecting pipes and emitters that work together to slowly release water. Because they only drip water and don’t spray it, they are meant to be placed near the base of plants and provide water to their roots.
This video shows you how to set up a drip irrigation system-


Sprinkler systems

I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you what a sprinkler is, but what some of you might not know, is that there are a few different types of sprinkler systems that you set up.

Some sprinkler systems have the hoses and sprinklers set up on the surface, and they work just fine, but some people are put off by either having to leave the system set up and it being a bit of an eyesore, or disconnecting everything and setting it up again every time they want to use it. being on top of the lawn, they can also be chewed by pets, although most dogs just love to play with them-

Pop-up sprinkler systems are harder to install because they require digging up your garden and burying the sprinklers and pipework under the ground. After this initial set-up though, they are very convenient and you can set them to simply pop up at specific times, water the lawn, and then go back to the sub-surface. This keeps your lawn looking neat and tidy with no pipes or hoses strewn around. When connected to a good timer, pop-up sprinklers are great labour and time savers, just set the right watering times and it’ll all be done for you.

Mini sprinklers are good for vegetable patches and flower beds that are larger than average. They disperse water in droplets and can have a decent-sized radius of 3-5 metres depending on the product. These sprinklers are very popular due to the fact that they are very easy to install, as you can see in this video-

Soaker hoses

Probably the easiest irrigation system to set up, soaker hoses only need to be laid in your flower beds, borders, vegetable patches, etc. Once they are in place and connected to a water supply, they leak along their entire length in a very slow manner, providing water to the roots of the plants. They are far more convenient than using a watering can and more efficient than a spray gun. Available in different sizes and diameters, and relatively inexpensive, soaker hoses are another very popular choice in the UK and abroad. Check out this post that shows a soaker hose in use-


Micro-jet systems

Another rather simple system to set up is micro-jet irrigation. These micro-jets often require very little assembly and can be installed in very little time. They are also easily customized to suit your needs, and this has made them a bit of a favourite for many gardeners.
When activated, micro-jets give off a fine spray, like the kind you get on the best watering can roses although, on most modern kits, the individual sprayer heads can be adjusted to reduce the flow if needed. If you’d like to see this mist spray inaction, watch this clip-

How to plan for your water irrigation system

So, once you’ve decided on your preferred type of irrigation system or even systems, you really need to plan the layout properly before buying, so you will know how much equipment you will need.

However, before any of that, you need to find out if your water supply has a strong enough flower and a high enough pressure to make having an automatic irrigation system viable. If your pressure doesn’t read at least 1.5 bar, it is likely that sprinklers, micro-jets, and other systems won’t work properly. Water flow rate isn’t normally as much a problem as water pressure, but it can affect how well your irrigation system performs if it is unusually low.

To know how much hose or pipe you will need, and also things like how many hose connectors, sprinklers, micro-jets, etc. you need a plan of your garden. Take a tape measure, a pencil, and either some plain paper or, better still, graph paper, and get an accurate drawing of the layout of your garden, including any permanent structures and features like sheds, greenhouses, flower beds, lawns, etc.

You’ll need to know where the outdoor tap is, or other main water source and have that marked on there too. if you need to know how to install an outdoor tap, you can read our article on the subject. Having a good representation of your garden on paper will really make the set-up of your water irrigation system go so much smoother, so don’t skip or slack off on this part. The more detail, the better, and hopefully your finished plan will look a lot better than this one-

We intend to keep this article brief for today and to describe in detail how to set up each of the different types of irrigation systems would take a very long time. We do intend to create separate how-to articles for each type in the near future, so keep an eye out for those. In the meantime, apart from pop-up sprinkler systems, you should be able to follow the instructions that come with your specific irrigation system and get everything set up.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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