DIY drip irrigation system with micro spray for raided bed garden. With a few simple steps, you can set up your own raised bed irrigation system to save water and time!
Why drip irrigation for raised beds?
I just love how irrigation saves so much time for me from watering my plants manually. It also saves our watering bill by a lot. Here’s how it can help your garden and raised beds.
Easy to DIY
I just love how irrigation saves so much time for me from watering my plants manually. Although sprinklers are the traditional way of watering your plants, drip irrigation / micro spray system is really gaining popularities these days because it is so DIY friendly. Quoting my husband’s wording: “it is like Legos!”.
DIY drip irrigation is so easy for beginners because it doesn’t require any digging nor special skills. With these simple steps which I’ll share in a bit, you can set up drip irrigation for your own raised beds in your garden.
Besides the initial setup, if your garden changes or need repairs, you no longer need to hire a landscaper to handle this. Because we set up our drip irrigation, we have expanded the watering area as we plant more plants.
Save your watering bill
Drip irrigation system saves so much water compare to the traditional sprinkler system. Water is pretty expensive in California, and I’m sure it will keep rising too.
In hot summer days, our water bill can easily over $100, considering we are a small household and we don’t cook everyday. Converting traditional irrigation to drip irrigation to our landscape allows me to water the plants with less water but achieve same result. It waters the plants near the root so most water will be absorbed into the soil rather than evaporating. Also because it have various output for water, I can be very specific on where the water goes, and not feeding one single drop of water to weeds.
Another advantage of drip irrigation is that the tubings are all on the ground level covered by mulch and plants, so I can truly configure the irrigation as I’m redesigning my garden and constantly adding new plants.
Types of drip irrigation
Drip irrigation is a broad term. The idea of drip irrigation is that it apply water to a smaller more targeted area.
Unlike traditional watering system which sprinkle waters on a big area, drip irrigation system has more precise control and would only water at targeted area that you have set up. So it is a slow watering system to make sure the water can get slowly absorbed into the soil instead of running off the street and get wasted.
In terms of specific ways to water each small area, referred as emitter, there are multiple options and you can definitely mix and match.
One of the most common one is a drip lines/emitter and that is really why the system is commonly referred as drip irrigation system. Other water outlet soaker hose, bubbler, micro sprayer depends on the plants coverage.
Materials for DIY raised beds irrigation
The brand I’m using is Rain Bird because it is readily available in my local home depot, but really you can use any reliable brand.
- 1/2″ distribution tubing
- 1/4″ distribution tubing
- barbed tee
- barbed coupling
- 90° micro spray
- 180° micro spray
Optional but can make the setup tidy
How to set up irrigation for raised beds instruction
2 methods on DIY raised bed drip irrigation
So for this raised garden beds drip irrigation system, I’m sharing a DIY drip irrigation with micro sprays. The benefit of micro spray is it covers more evenly for the entire raised beds, great for starting seed or have smaller denser plantation.
There’s another method using just drip lines with emitters which is a classic way of irrigating garden beds. It is targeted more towards more spacing between plants and also young plants instead of seeds. You can check out the tutorial here.
Here are the steps to set up micro spray irrigation for raised beds:
Micro Spray Irrigation for Garden Beds Video
I recorded this video before stated blogging, so the video recording quality is not very high. But hopefully the video can give you more clarity on how the general raised beds setup is.
I recommend checking out the video because it is very short, and then read the written instruction below the video for detailed steps.
DIY Raised Bed Micro Spray Irrigation Instructions
Step 1. Set up main distribution tubing
First you need to set up the main water supply line for your raised beds, and let’s use 1/2″ tubing because it lets a lot of water pass through. I’m using 1/2 tubing because I have other garden beds sharing the same water line, so the thickness of 1/2″ ensure each sub line will have sufficient water.
Basically you’ll connect 1/2″ tubing to your water supply (either your outdoor faucet or converted water sprinkler head).
Guide the 1/2″ tubing to go along the border of your raised beds, ideally on the back side so it is out of the way and less visible.
Step 2. Set up each drip branch for micro spray heads
With the main water supply set up, it is now to have branches comes out from the 1/2″ tubing and supply the water to each micro spray heads.
Connect 1/4″ tubing to the 1/2″ tubing by barbed coupling, make sure the sharp end is punched into the 1/2″ tubing but not the other way around.
Use a barbed tee to branch each 1/4″ tubing into two tubings, each tubing will be connected to two micro sprays.
In this diagram below, you can see that I used one 1/4″ tubing per two micro sprays to have less tubing coming out from the main line(1/2″). I also make those 1/4″ tubings go under the ground level so it is less visible.
Step 3. Adjusting micro spray irrigation
Adjust the micro spray heads to make sure they are facing the right direction to ensure optimized water coverage. For this step I turned on the water briefly to see where the micro spray is facing and go from there. It might take a few try to get everything right, and maybe even a little bit splashes 😛
So that’s it. Once your micro spray irrigation is running smoothly, you can go ahead bury those tubings under garden soil.
So that’s all the steps. I hope with the combination of video and written instructions, this DIY irrigation for raised beds no longer sound intimidating to you, and feel free to leave a comment if you are not clear on some of the steps.