How to Make a Self-Irrigation System

Use this kid-friendly step-by-step guide to make a self-irrigation system for container plants.
Related To:

Materials Needed:

  • plastic planter
  • sheet of expanded polystyrene
  • craft knife
  • plastic pipe
  • small plastic pot (like a yogurt container)

1. Cut a Polystyrene Disk

Ask an adult for help and make sure it sits about 3 inches (7 cm) from the base of your container. Make a hole in the center a bit smaller than your pot.

Create A Styrofoam Base

Create A Styrofoam Base

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2. Cut Plastic Piping

2. Cut a length of plastic piping. Make it a little longer than the height of the container, and make another hole in the edge of the polystyrene for this pipe.

Plastic PVC Pipe

Plastic PVC Pipe

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

3. Add Holes to the Small Pot

3. Punch holes in the base of your small pot. Tuck the pot underneath the hole in the polystyrene disk. Water will seep through the pot's holes from below.

Self-Irrigation System Ready for Gardening Project

Self-Irrigation System Ready for Gardening Project

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

4. Position the Pipe, Then Add Soil

Place the pot and polystyrene disk inside the container. Insert the pipe and fill the container (including the pot) with soil ready to sow some seeds.

Match Soil with Seeds for Sowing

Match Soil with Seeds for Sowing

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

5. Add Water

Pour water down the pipe. Make sure to also pour some into the reservoir underneath the polystyrene. It will seep up through the pot into the soil above and to the roots of your plants. Put the container under cover if heavy rains are forecast. If you don't, it will become waterlogged.

Self Irrigation System

Self Irrigation System

jug of water being pured into tube

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Without adequate water, plants will suffer and eventually die. Supplies can run short as rapidly growing plants draw up moisture from the soil. It's important to know what to water and how.

Tips for Watering Your Garden

Keep your garden hydrated and healthy with these simple ideas for watering your plants.

How to Make a Garden Compost

Save money and the environment with these simple steps for creating a natural fertilizer.

How to Plant in Gardening Containers

To ensure that plants in gardening containers grow and perform as well as possible, you need to plant them properly.

Making a Stink: How To Keep Skunks Out of Your Garden

Learn how to get ride of skunks while protecting yourself from their best defense.

How to Make a Decorative Garden Path

Make a fun, leaf-inspired garden path with this step-by-step guide for making steppingstones.

How to Kill Weeds (Without Hurting Your Garden)

There are several good reasons to keep your garden clear of weeds. They not only compete with flowers for light, nutrients and water but some also harbor diseases, which may spread to surrounding plants.

How to Make Homemade Tomato Juice

Make tomato juice at home without separation anxiety.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.