DIY Drip Irrigation: The Easy Way to Water Plants

You might be wondering why I’m burying a soda bottle in the garden. It’s not littering — just repurposing! I’m creating a DIY drip irrigation system for two bushes.

And I’m doing it for a fraction of the cost of a commercial system you could find on shelves at the home and garden center.  


About Drip Irrigation Systems

Drip irrigation systems feature above-ground supply lines that slowly, uniformly hydrate your plants’ root zone, where they need it most. This low-pressure system uses less water than sprinklers and merely moistens roots, as opposed to saturating them.  

Nurseries and farmers commonly use drip irrigation because it reduces waste, runoff and evaporation. But more homeowners have added it to their routine because it’s effective, efficient and decreases labor.

Watering perennial and vegetable gardens, along with shrubs and trees, with drip irrigation has numerous benefits, according to the University of Rhode Island.

Minimizing water contact with your plants’ fruit, leaves and stems helps prevent fungal disease, according to the site. In addition, it allows rows between plants to stay dry, minimizing weed growth.

With so many benefits, naturally, there’s a DIY drip irrigation system just waiting for you to make it!


Joe Truini drills holes into a plastic soda bottle to make a DIY drip irrigation system

How to Make a DIY Drip Irrigation System

A commercial drip irrigation system could cost you $50 to $150 at the home center, and you can add to that price range if you have more ground to cover than the base kits allow.

But the good news is you can create a DIY drip irrigation system for almost nothing.

Installing drip irrigation is easy. First, drill some holes all the way around an empty soda bottle’s sides and in the bottom using a 1/16-inch-diameter drill bit. These might seem like tiny holes, and they are, but you want the water to drip slowly into the roots.

Next, dig a hole for the soda bottle and bury the bottle, leaving enough room for the top to stick out. Then twist off the bottle’s top and fill it with water. You can also add fertilizer to the water during this time.

Tip: You can use a garden hose to pour water into the soda bottle, or just pour water through a funnel into your DIY drip irrigation system.

After that, place the top back on the soda bottle and spread mulch around the area. You’ll need to cover the sides of the soda bottle so the area looks nice, but leave access to the bottle’s top for easy refills.

That’s it! Just let your DIY drip irrigation system sit there, come back in three or four days and check it. If it needs a refill, just add more water.

Did you enjoy this tip? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Watch the video, and check out more Simple Solutions.


6 COMMENTS

  1. I have several large flower gardens in front of my house. Does this work for large flower beds too? I have considered Rainbird weeping water systems but the design of it is overwhelming.

    • Absolutely, Bronwen! But you will need more water bottles, and that will lead to more maintenance.
      Happy gardening. 🙂

  2. I love this – would need a timer to remind me to refill the bottles. Years ago – in another state – I had a 2,500 ft greenhouse build on a hillside, with all the bells and whistles. including a pond on the upper level, a waterfall and a pond on the lower level. I planted a Wave Petunia about 6 feet from the upper pond. The water for the greenhouse came from a nearby lake. I had a tiny leak in my pipe, and had to keep refilling the pond. BUT, that Wave Petunia grew to 9 feet long, cascading over upper edge to nearly touch the floor on the lower level. Gorgeous!! Would show you a photo, but this comment space doesn’t allow it.

  3. Could you have a rain barrel, with soaker pipe in the ground attached to the bottom of the barrel? It may not serve in a drought but in Mobile, Alabama it might work.

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