DIY PVC Drip Irrigation for $50

PVCDripInstalledWith the newly imposed water restrictions in California, we couldn’t have picked a better time to install a drip irrigation system!  Last year we set up an 8′ x 8′ raised garden bed in the back yard to grow vegetables.  As a new gardener I was happy with just getting plants in the ground and didn’t worry too much about the harvest yield.  But, now into my second planting, I’m starting to focus on more details like fertilizer and watering.  Last year I watered by hand, but it wasn’t ideal.  No matter how careful, I usually got some foliage wet and during heat waves the plants ended up scorched.  I yearned for a more convenient and efficient watering system but didn’t know where to start, until I saw this post for a PVC drip irrigation system for under $100. Suddenly it seemed possible to build a low cost drip irrigation system, but I still had a few questions.  So I turned to YouTube and found this video.

Armed with confidence and a rough sketch we ventured to Home Depot to pick up the supplies. The project was done in a few hours and was very easy to customize to fit our space.  So, if you have an 8′ x 8′ raised garden bed and want a PVC drip irrigation system you can install on the cheap, these instructions are for you!

Materials for PVC Drip Irrigation SystemPVCDripParts

  • (1) 3/4″ PVC pipe [10′ long*]
  • (4) 1/2″ PVC pipe [10′ long]
  • (4) 1/2″ end caps
  • (2) 3/4″ to 1/2″ elbows
  • (2) 3/4″ to 1/2″ connector tees
  • (2) 3/4″ ball valves
  • (1) 3/4″ connector tee
  • (3) 3/4″ elbows
  • (1) 3/4″ hose connector
  • (1) jar PVC cement
  • (1) package of 3/4″ pipe straps [4-pack]
  • (8) screws to attach pipe straps

*This amount is just enough to complete the project with no mis-cuts.  If you haven’t planned a project like this before you may want to be on the safe side and purchase (2) of these.  You can always return an unused one later.

Tools

  • hacksaw (or some sort of power tool for cutting PVC)
  • 1/16 drill bit
  • drill
  • (2) scrap lumber
  • hammer
  • (4) nails

Assembly Directions

  1. Start by measuring cuts for the 3/4″ main distribution line.  Refer to picture of parts for assembly order.PVCDripMainDist
  2. Cut 3/4″ PVC pipe to size for the pieces of the main distribution line.
  3. Assemble 3/4″ main distribution line pieces and check for fit.  Make adjustments as necessary.  PVCDripPosition
  4. Place end caps on the four 1/2″ watering lines.  Then measure and cut.
  5. Line up four 1/2″ watering lines and drill first hole in each, then secure with a nail to a piece of scrap wood.  This will keep the pipe straight as the rest of the holes are being drilled.  Drill holes through all four watering lines.  Ours are spaced 6″ apart.PVCDripHoles
  6. Next, put 3/4″ main distribution assembly in place and measure and cut for the hose attachment.  We ran our hose attachment up, over the garden bed frame and down to two inches above the ground, then out to the side of garden bed to connect the hose to the drip irrigation system.PVCDripHose
  7. Cement the 3/4″ main distribution and hose attachment assembly together.  It helps to do that on a flat surface with the watering pipes attached to ensure that the assembly will lay flat. Make sure to following the cement instructions to get a good join.PVCDripAssemble
  8. Cement end caps to 1/2″ watering lines, but DO NOT cement the 1/2″ watering lines into the 3/4″ main distribution line.  Those should remain detachable for flushing the system.
  9. Finally, put the assembled PVC drip irrigation system into place and secure to the garden bed frame with pipe straps.
  10. Hook up the hose, turn on the water, and congratulate yourself for a job well done!

If you try this at home, please comment on how it went.

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