The Best Garden Watering Systems

You may not need more than a watering can to water your garden, but consider these methods of irrigation that may be more efficient.

Add Automatic Irrigation

Add Automatic Irrigation

Auto-irrigation systems can be operated manually or using a timer, providing plants with water on a regular basis. Take care not to flood or deprive pots when regulating flow.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Auto-irrigation systems can be operated manually or using a timer, providing plants with water on a regular basis. Take care not to flood or deprive pots when regulating flow.

When using a watering can, put the rose on the spout, and use a spray adapter on a hose. A fast, solid stream from a spout or hose can easily wash soil from around the plants’ roots and may destroy the soil structure. A gush of water is also less likely to penetrate the ground. 

  • Sprinklers should really only be used on new lawns and other large newly planted areas. They are wasteful, and also water some areas more heavily than others. Avoid using them in windy weather, as the water will be blown off course, or in the heat of the day, when water will evaporate. Rotary types cover circular areas and oscillating designs cover rectangular areas; powerful pulse-jet sprinklers are only suitable for large gardens. 
  • Leaky pipes or soaker hoses are permeable and extremely efficient as little or no water is lost in runoff or evaporation. Lay them along the base of walls, between rows of vegetables and fruits, and through borders. They can be covered with a loose mulch, such as compost or bark chips. Most will not work with the low pressure of a rain barrel. 
  • Trickle- or drip-irrigation systems are useful for pots and in greenhouses. They have a main tube, which you attach to a garden hose, and a number of nozzles or spurs, depending on the area to be watered. The main tube runs from pot to pot, and water trickles out of nozzles or thin spur lines. 
  • Automatic timers are great for vacations. They allow you to set the duration and timing of watering for maximum efficiency, and can be linked to control water to trickle irrigation systems, seep hoses, and lawn sprinklers. Test the timing before you go away. Auto-irrigation systems can be operated manually or using a timer, providing plants with water on a regular basis. Take care not to flood or deprive pots when regulating the flow.
  • Rain barrels can be attached to the downspouts of your house, as well as to outbuildings, such as sheds and greenhouses. The stored water is suitable for all garden plants except for young plants and seedlings.
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