Maintain a lush garden without the high cost of watering it. Don't use those sprinklers on vegetable or flower gardens because most of that water is lost to evaporation. Your answer is in the form of a soaker hose. These basic hoses have tiny perforations that allow water to seep through and into the ground. To get the most out of your system, try these top 10 tips for the best soaker hose setup.
Tip 1: Start With Level Ground
Your soaker hose system design functions best when the ground is level. The science behind these hoses is based on a uniform distribution of water within the conduit. Any slope to the ground forces the water to one part of the hose. This scenario defeats the purpose of the hose's design. That one area receives most of the water while the remaining soil stays largely dry. Reserve the soaker hoses for flat areas instead of rocky or hilly applications.
Takeaway 1: A flat layout gives optimal performance in a soaker watering system.
Tip 2: Skip the Sprinkler Connection
The pressure moving through your sprinkler system is too great for soaker hoses. They might break down the rubber and plastic materials. Connect your hose to a standard faucet. They're typically found against the home's wall just outside of your garden. Some homes have more than one so you have some versatility.
You're welcome to arrange the hose near the sprinkler system's coverage area if it's not supporting every corner of the planted spaces. You'll enhance the landscape's growth with this strategy.
Takeaway 2: A soaker hose does not work to connect with a traditional inground watering system. It can, however, supplement areas not sufficiently watered by in-ground systems.
Tip 3. Keep the End Cap On
If you're unfamiliar with a DIY garden watering system, you might be tempted to take off the end cap as you're setting up the hoses. Removing the end cap presumably helps you see the water flowing through the conduit. However, it's a better strategy to leave the end cap on. The water remains trapped in the hose so it can seep into the ground. This is the action you want to see in your garden.
Takeaway 3: Removing the end cap to see if water will flow all the way through the hose is not a good test to see if the soaker hose is leaking properly.
Tip 4. Fill the Hose Up Entirely
The concept behind soaker hoses is forced liquid through tiny holes. If the hose doesn't have enough water pressure pressing against the walls, the moisture cannot seep out. Start your soaker hose with its entire length full of water. It should have a standard cylindrical appearance when it's full. It shouldn't look distended or flat on any section. Watch the moisture seep through the walls so that you know the system is working as intended.
Takeaway 4. Initially, the soaker hose will not weep until the full length of hose is full of water.
Tip 5. Keep the Restrictor Disk Inserted in the Hose Coupling at Water Source
Your soaker hose isn't just a conduit with weep holes. Each length comes with a restrictor disk that's designed to be used at the water source. This internal part controls the water entering the hose, which leads to a controlled soaking in the garden. Most soaker hose placement designs, however, call for multiple lengths connected together. Don't forget to remove the disk from the other hoses. You only require one disk at the faucet end for pressure-control purposes.
Takeaway 5. Make sure the blue restrictor disk is inserted in the female coupling at the water source. You should remove the restrictor disk from subsequent hoses when connected together.
Tip 6. Use One Water Source for Each 150-Length
There's a limit to your soaker-hose design because of basic science. Ideally, stop connecting lines when you reach the 150-foot mark. Hoses longer than this measurement won't properly soak the area. The conduit loses water pressure as the length stretches farther away from the water source. Systems require multiple water sources if you need to cover more than a 150-foot length. Choose your design carefully so that you can optimize the water flowing into your yard.
Takeaway 6. Do not use more than 150 feet of soaker hoses from one water source.
Tip 7. Avoid High Water Pressure
An ill-conceived strategy to avoid the 150-foot limit is simply adding a higher water pressure to the system. Don't force more water into the soaker hose because the results won't be beneficial. The hose expands like a balloon, which causes the holes to widen as well. You end up with a deluge of water into the soil while damaging the hose. It's possible for the hose to crack or break entirely too.
Takeaway 7. Higher water pressure does NOT push more water into the hose and make the hose weep more. Increasing water flow from the faucet creates the risk of bursting the hose at the connection.
Tip 8. Keep the Water Source High
An understandable mistake involves the use of hoses where they run uphill on a property. Consider the role that gravity plays in your setup. Water will naturally flow downhill. Use this concept to guide your installation. Choose a water source that's higher than the hose's position on a flat, ground surface. As the water leaves the spigot, gravity pulls it downward and into the hose's length. Controlled seepage is the result of this design choice.
Takeaway 8. The water source should be at a higher elevation than the soaker hose. Let gravity work for you, not against you.
Tip 9. Determine Suitable Timing
Because of the slow process of adding water to your garden, soaking times can be deceptive. For a standard five-eighths-of-an-inch hose, you need 200 minutes to saturate the garden with one inch of water. Most yards require about two inches of water each week. Ideally, watch your property's water use and gauge the soaking times as necessary. Soil factors, landscaping obstacles and other features play a part in your watering strategies.
Takeaway 9. How long you should water with a soaker hose depends on specific conditions. For best results, monitor and adjust accordingly based on variations in soil type, plants being watered, temperature, etc.
Tip 10. Test It Out
Always test the soaker hose system before you finalize the yard's appearance. Don't outright bury the hose in the soil. Cover it with mulch so the water can still seep through with ease. Coil the hose around certain plants, such as bushes, so you're able to saturate enough soil for successful root absorption.Takeaway 10. Lay out your design and test before you cover with mulch or dirt to make sure water is reaching everything you want it to water.
Knowing how to set up a soaker hose system gives you the power to conserve water while improving your property's appearance. Inspect your hoses on a regular basis to make sure they're operating as designed. Watch those flowers and fruits grow exponentially with ample moisture supporting their roots.
All content provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. All use of products referenced in this article should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
For more information on soaker hose watering, read the following articles:
How to Use Soaker Hoses in a Vegetable Garden
Soaker Hose Flow Rate and Water Usage
A Soaker Hose Vs. Sprinkler—Which Is Best for Your Garden
Using Soaker Hoses for Foundation Watering