Installing Drip Irrigation In Containers- Beginner's Guide

I made it a goal this season to hook all our containers up on drip irrigation. Drip irrigation always seemed so intimidating and scary. After watching many of Laura's tutorials on YouTube this past winter, I felt confident I could do the job in a few hours.
I added up the hours it would take to water the few containers we have in the garden and I quickly realized I would have roughly 24-26 hours of JUST watering containers at the end of the season! What! Crazy! I decided then that taking a few hours to run some lines would be worth it. 

Here's what I've learned so far. I'll try to keep it really simple.

Hose Lines:

  1. Supply Line: A pipe with no holes- meant to take water from one area to the next. This line can come in different diameters and I've used 1/4" and 1/2".
  2. Drip Hose: Water comes out of holes that have different distances between emitter holes. I've been using the 6" emitter holes in our raised beds.
  3. Soaker Hose: Water seeps out of the entire line instead of through holes. I have not used this type.

Faucet Connections: 

From the faucet, you can add a splitter so that you can have a regular hose on one end and your drip line on the other. Here's the line up I have from the left side of my splitter for my drip irrigation:
  1. Drip Timer- This will run your drip on a consistent time. This timer allows you to set how long and how many days the water runs. You can also set the time you want the drip to begin for that day.
  2. Back Flow Preventer- This makes sure no soil or particles make its way back up into your main water line.
  3. Pressure Regulator- This makes sure the water pressure stays consistent.
  4. Hose Adapter- This transitions your water to the 1/2" supply line.

Outdoor Faucet Connection Kit- this kit offers all the above to get you started!


Drip Adapters + Connections:

There's all kind of adapters and connections available including barbed elbows, barbed tees, straight couplers, shut off valves enders, etc.. If you figure out your irrigation design, you can begin to know what connections and adapters you'll need for your water to travel to your plants!

 1/2" Supply List:

1/2" Supply Line- 100'

1/2" Barbed Tee

1/2" Barbed Elbow

1/2" End Closure

1/2' Barbed Shut Off Valve 

1/4" Supply List



1/4" Irrigation Tubing 

1/4" Drip Irrigation- 6" Emitter Hose

1/4" Barbed Tee 

1/4" Barbed Coupling

1/4" Closure Plug

Landscaping Staples- 500 pack (Amazon Affiliate Link)

There are options of purchasing irrigation kits to get you started, too! My father-in-law got several kits to get our vegetable beds started which was very helpful. While it was nice to follow illustrations and get familiar with the parts, I did like purchasing the items separate because each garden configuration may be different and there were a lot of items in the kit that I haven't utilized. However, if you're just starting out- the kit may be helpful!

My setup wasn't too complicated. I knew I wanted to get all my urns and containers on drip so I started by running my 1/2" supply line. In the below photo, my water supply line came from the right side of the deck and ran straight underneath to the other side of the deck. I then took several 1/2" tee connectors and branched upward with the supply line under the deck to tap my urns in. I tacked the supply line with some electrical staples and then tapped into the line with two 1/4" barbed couplings. This black 1/4" hose (with no emitters) was small enough to snake through our deck flooring up into the bottoms of my cast iron urns. 



Once I had the 1/4" supply line through the center of my urns, I took a tee connector and ran a circle of brown emitter hose for watering. This left about 4 emitters to drip the water into my urns.


 Once I had my urns on the deck hooked up, I continued onto the containers over by our water fountain. Again, I branched off the 1/2" supply line with a 1/4" barbed coupling and ran the black 1/4" tubing up through my containers. Once I was in through the container, I branched off the 1/4" black tubing with the brown emitter hose for watering. 

The last pot on the watering chain was a double layered pot with two tiers. You can see how I added in the drip below.


I can't recommend setting your containers on drip enough! The process is not as hard as you could imagine and with a little configuration, your time is saved through each new season! Come this autumn, prepping the containers for the winter months will be as easy as disconnecting the timer/regulator set from the faucet and storing it away. I *believe* there should be no need for blowing any lines out. We shall see though. The timer I have also has an option for skipping a watering (if you were to get a bunch of rain one day) and has a manual watering option, too.

I hope this blog was helpful to you if you're wanting to swap over to drip. If there's anything I didn't cover enough, drop your questions below! 

Hugs, Alyssa

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