Making an Irrigation System for Planter Beds

We recently installed some planter beds for my wife’s garden.  To help make sure everything stays nice and watered, I built her an irrigation system out of PVC pipe.  Even if you haven’t worked with PVC before, this is a pretty easy project.

Tools required:

Chop Saw (You could use a PVC Cutter instead)
Rubber Mallet (Optional)
Tape Measure
Marker

Materials Required:

1/2″ PVC Pipe
1/2″ PVC Elbows
1/2″ PVC Tees
1/2″ PVC Caps
1/2″ Slip PVC x 3/4″ Female Thread Garden Hose to Pipe Fitting Adapter
Programmable Garden Hose Timer
Garden Hose Splitter
Short Garden Hose
Plumbers Tape
PVC Cleaner
PVC Primer
PVC Cement
Garden Stakes

I bought all of the materials at the local hardware store except for the ones that I linked on Amazon.

Start by measuring your planters or garden area that you need to irrigate.  Our three planter beds are about 8 feet long, so I cut the pipes at 93″.  I was able to buy six 10 foot lengths of 1/2″ PVC, so the excess that was cut off was plenty to finish the project.  Your mileage may vary.  If you need to go further than 10 feet, buy some couplers and keep going.  You may have to go up a size of pipe if you go too far, but for one 8 foot planter bed, the 1/2″ PVC works great.

I cut my lengths to size by using a chopsaw, but you can use a PVC cutter or whatever other tool you happen to have.  Just try to get your cut as straight and square as you can.  Measure the PVC to the correct length and use the marker to mark where you are going to cut.

Make sure after all your pieces are cut that you layout your pieces and dry fit them together so that you know you have everything ready to go.

Once everything is cut and dry fit together so you know you have what you need, you can begin gluing them together.  Start with the cleaner both on the outside of the pipe and the inside of the elbow, tee or fitting.  You need to make sure that there is no debris on the pipe, but if there are still markings it is okay.  Some of the markings might start to come off with the cleaner, but don’t worry about it.  After your cleaner is dry, then apply your primer in the same way.  I used the purple primer so I would know what was glued, but you can buy clear so that it looks neater.  After the primer is dry, apply some PVC cement to one end or the other and put the pipe and fitting together.  If you have to, use the Rubber Mallet to make sure the pipe is fully inserted into the fitting.

Don’t forget to put on your end caps!

Here is our finished product:

Once you have everything glued together you will need to drill holes on the bottom of the PVC pipe for water to come out.  Drill them 4″ to 8″ apart or you can drill them according to where your plants will be.

Now you can place the pipe in your garden!  We used garden stakes to stake them down.

I connected the timer to the water hydrant and connected the splitter to the bottom of the timer using Plumbers Tape to prevent any extra leakage.  Wrap the plumbers tape around the threads on the male end of the hydrant and timer in the same direction that the hose will twist on.  Any leaks will add to your water bill!  (Or cause your well to run unnecessarily if you are out in the county like us!) Connect your short leader hoses to the irrigation pipes you made and back to the splitter.

Make sure to test them out.  You don’t want the water pressure to be so high that it creates little holes in the dirt.  Once you have the water pressure where you like, program your timer, and enjoy the finished product!

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