Watering Garden

Irrigation system | 

The best tips and tricks for using a soaker hose to irrigate your flower beds and shrubs.

Using an irrigation system to keep flower beds nice and watered is truly a learning process, so I thought I should share some of things I learned.

If you can't afford to have an irrigation system installed, a soaker hose can be your new best friend. But they only work well for so many feet in length. 

The first error I made, was to connect 4 sets of 25 foot long soaker hose and run the whole 100 feet at once. The water made it to the end of the 100 foot span, but not the same amount as the first 50 feet. So my plants closest to the driveway started to struggle a bit.

Irrigation system design tips and tricks

The second mistake I made was not walking through the entire bed afterwards and double checking our placement. After laying the soaker hose, we ended up walking back and tweaking a few lines and circling a coupling of precious water loving hydrangeas. This caused it to "move" from where we had originally put it. I lost a couple of perennials due to lack of water when we hit a 90's week.

So double check your placement after everything is done, and if you make changes, check the entire length again.

The third mistake I made, was complacency.

Once I knew it was working and things were getting watered on the west side of the sidewalk, I forgot about the east side.

Which is a hand water situation.

Soaker Hose tips and tricks

My panniculata hydrangea is doing ok, it wants to bloom, but has not gotten enough water.

At least  it's not dead. My two hosta's however did not fare as well.

And neither did my two urns either. They definitely went into cardiac arrest due to lack of water and cannot be revived. 

The other casualty due to complacency is weeds. Weeds around the bird feeder to be more specific.

You see, when I used to hand water, I would bend down and pull a weed when I saw it. I would get a visual daily reminder on how the weeds are looking and was more prone to keeping up on them.

Well I started using a new bird seed and for 2 weeks did not even check the area around the bird feeder. Well if you feed the birds like I do, then you know those little furry creatures are actually PIGS. They make such a mess flinging seed everywhere and now that the seed is being watered consistently. 

I had grass growing in my garden bed around the bird feeder.  Grass that is so thick and lush it makes me want to sprinkle this stuff on my lawn! I am still removing grass from around the bird feeder, and fear I will be doing it for a very long time. I mean seriously! Who knew bird seed could bounce that far. 

Which has spawned a relocation of the said bird feeder. But I will show you more on that in a future post.

Soaker Hose tips and tricks

The other issue I am having is our water is from a Well. Yep, hard water. Really HARD water.

Having hard water turns things orange. Which is why I cannot use a sprinkler. I tried that 5 years ago and after the water hit my house, it turned the brick orange. So then the blonde homeowner had to use bathroom cleaner on the outside of her home. The pressure washer helped, but bleach and a good old fashioned scrub brush is the only thing that really works because of our clay soil and well water.

Soaker Hose tips and tricks

The up side is it does save a tremendous amount of time and my flowers have been doing really well. We had some really hot and muggy days for about two weeks and they got through it like troopers. 

I also bought a 4 zone timer which cost me about fifty bucks I think? I wanted a 3 zone, but I could only find a one, a two or a four. So my garden is broken up into 3 zones right now. 2 soaker hoses in 50 foot sections with caps on the end to stop the water and the third is the garden hose for hand watering. I have one zone left that I can use to get water to the bed I showed you that was being neglected. So buying a four zone actually works for me after all. The timer has been set for one hour per zone and all I have to do is remember it is not winter proof. So It needs to be brought inside before the first hard frost.

My idea to get water to the east side or as I like to call it the "neglected" side, is to have Greg pull up a stair tread off the porch and see if we can run a 15 foot tube or hose and have one 25 foot soaker hose at the end of that.

Another thing I learned is I can wrap the soaker hose in a circle around shrubs that need more water and just let a line of hose come close to plants that don't want that much water. For example Sedums or Coneflowers. They don't need two gallons a day, like a mophead hydrangea does. But right now, every single mophead hydrangea in this bed was transplanted last year, so they are not what i would call established. In another year I may be able to dial it down a bit.

It's still a learning process for me, I bought some perennial chives yesterday and have to get those in the ground so that's going to mean moving some soaker hose.

But isn't that what gardening is all about?


The best tips and tricks for using a soaker hose to irrigate your flower beds and shrubs.