25 Smart Garden Irrigation Ideas to Save Money and Water

Maintaining a lush and healthy garden requires proper irrigation, but traditional watering methods can be inefficient and wasteful, leading to higher water bills and a negative impact on the environment. That’s where smart garden irrigation ideas comes in. Smart irrigation systems can be used to water lawns, flower beds, vegetable gardens, and more. By utilizing creative and innovative techniques, you can save both money and water while keeping your garden healthy and beautiful.

In this article, we’ll explore some smart garden irrigation ideas and options that can help you create more sustainable, cost-effective, easy DIY plant watering systems for your garden.

From drip irrigation to rainwater harvesting, we’ll cover a range of solutions to suit different garden sizes, types, and budgets. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, read on to learn how you can transform your homemade garden irrigation system into a smarter and more efficient one.

Table of Contents

Some Best Methods of Irrigation System

Choosing the right method of irrigation for your garden depends on several factors such as the size of the garden, the type of plants, and the availability of water. There are several effective methods of irrigation systems that can be used to keep your garden healthy and hydrated. Here are some of the best ones:

1. Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a kind of localized irrigation in which water droplets are applied to the plant roots or close by. Evaporation and runoff are kept to a minimum in this method of irrigation. This method works by delivering water through a network of tubes and emitters, which release water drops at a controlled rate onto the soil surface or directly onto the plant roots. 

garden irrigation ideas
Drip Irrigation

2. Sprinkler Irrigation

One of popular methods of watering crops and plants, sprinkle irrigation works by spraying water onto crops or plants through a network of pipes and sprinklers. The sprinklers can be set up in a variety of configurations, including stationary, rotating, or traveling, depending on the needs of the crop and the layout of the field. This method is ideal in large-scale agricultural settings.

3. Micro-irrigation System

Micro-irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation, is a highly efficient method of delivering water to crops and plants. By slowly and continuously applying water directly to the root zone through small emitters or drippers, it releases water at a low flow rate. The water is then absorbed by the soil, ensuring that it reaches the plant’s roots where it is needed most.

4. Flood Irrigation

One of the earliest and most basic techniques for watering plants and crops is flood irrigation. In order for the water to reach the roots of the plant, it must first soak into the soil by flooding a field or crop bed with water.

Flood irrigation is often carried out using a canal or irrigation ditch, or by diverting water from a nearby river or stream. Although this approach is less effective and can waste water owing to runoff, it is appropriate for gardens with deep-rooted plants.

garden irrigation ideas
Flood Irrigation

5. Subsurface Irrigation

Subsurface irrigation is a contemporary technique for watering plants and crops that delivers water directly to the root zone via underground pipelines or channels. This technique is quite effective in reducing evaporation and minimizing runoff, which can help conserve water.

In order for perforated pipes or tubes to release water directly to the roots of the plants, they must be buried beneath the soil surface. Sent gradually and uniformly, the water is sure to be absorbed by the soil and plants.

What Is The Most Efficient Way To Irrigate?

The most efficient way to irrigate depends on several factors, such as the size and shape of the garden, the type of plants, and the availability of water. However, drip irrigation is considered to be one of the most efficient methods of irrigation as it delivers water directly to the roots of the plants, minimizing water loss due to evaporation or runoff.

In comparison to traditional irrigation methods like sprinklers or flood irrigation, drip irrigation can reduce water usage by up to 50%, making it an ideal choice for gardens in areas with limited water resources or for those looking to reduce their water bills. Additionally, drip irrigation can be easily automated and customized to suit different garden sizes and types, allowing you to control the amount of water delivered to each plant. Consider the needs of your crops, soil type, and water availability when choosing the best method for your situation.

Moreover, watering at the right time is crucial to ensure that your plants receive the right amount of water. Make sure that the water is distributed evenly across your crops to avoid over-watering or under-watering. You can also apply a layer of mulch around your plants to help to retain moisture in the soil and reduce evaporation. This can also help to suppress weed growth and improve soil health.

How Do You Build The Cheapest Irrigation System for Your Garden?

Building a cheap irrigation system for your garden can be done using a variety of materials and methods. Here are some steps you can follow to build a cost-effective irrigation system:

  • Determine your water source. Identify where you will get your water from, whether it is from a well, pond, or municipal water supply. This will help you determine the type of irrigation system that is suitable for your needs.
  • Measure your land. Determine the size and shape of the area you want to irrigate. This will help you determine the amount of water you need to apply and the type of irrigation system that is appropriate.
  • Choose the irrigation method. Decide on the type of irrigation system that best suits your needs and budget. Some of the most popular irrigation methods include drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, and flood irrigation.
  • Design the system. Create a layout of the irrigation system, including the placement of the water source, pipes, and emitters or sprinklers. Ensure that the system is designed to evenly distribute water to all parts of your land.
  • Select materials. Choose the materials you will need for your irrigation system, including pipes, valves, emitters, and sprinklers. Look for high-quality materials that are durable and will last for many years.
  • Install and test the system. Install the irrigation system according to the design. Make sure that all components are securely connected and that there are no leaks or clogs. Remember to turn on the system and test it to ensure that water is being distributed evenly and that there are no leaks or other problems.
  • Maintain the system. Regularly inspect and maintain the irrigation system to ensure that it continues to work effectively. This includes checking for leaks, cleaning filters, and replacing damaged or worn-out components.

Vegetable Garden Irrigation Ideas

Growing a vegetable garden is a great way to bring fresh produce to your kitchen table, but it can also be a challenge to make sure your plants get the water they need. While some vegetables are drought-resistant and don’t require a lot of water, others need a more consistent supply of moisture to thrive, and that’s where vegetable garden irrigation ideas come in.

Let’s explore the best vegetable irrigation ideas in the following points!

1. Overhead Irrigation for Vegetable Garden

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Best Watering Equipment)

Overhead irrigation is a type of irrigation system that utilizes sprinklers or other forms of water application to deliver water to a garden or other area from an overhead source.

For this garden irrigation planning, you will need to first measure the size of the garden and determine the number and type of sprinklers needed. You will also need a water supply, whether it is a hose or a tank, and a timer for irrigation scheduling. The cost of an overhead irrigation system will depend on the size and complexity of the system, but typically range from $500-$3,000.

2. Drip Irrigation for Vegetable Garden

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@The Art Of Doing Stuff | Karen)

Drip irrigation for vegetable gardens is a water-efficient landscape design to deliver water directly to the roots of the plants. It is a type of irrigation system where water is delivered slowly, directly to the roots of the plants.

This method of irrigation allows you to water your plants with less water and less frequent watering. For this garden irrigation planning, you will need a water source, a timer, a filter, drip irrigation tubing, and drip emitters. The cost of drip irrigation equipment generally ranges from $50 to $400 or more for do-it-yourself kits.

3. Soaker Irrigation for Vegetable Garden

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Erica Rascon)

Soaker irrigation is an efficient way to provide water to your vegetable garden. It works by delivering water directly to the roots of plants through a network of hoses and sprinklers. This method of irrigation conserves water and reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation.

To make soaker irrigation for a vegetable garden, you will need a garden hose, a soaker hose, a timer, and a water source.

4. Plastic Bottle and Rope Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Youtube | World Clik)

A self-watering system with plastic bottles and rope is a simple and cost-effective way of providing water to your vegetable garden without the need for a complex and expensive irrigation system. This self-watering system is a great way to conserve water and save money on your water bills.

You will need several plastic bottles, a length of rope, a sharp knife, scissors, and a drill. Start by drilling several small holes in the bottom of each plastic bottle. This will allow the water to slowly seep out of the bottles when they are placed in the vegetable garden.

5. Automatic Irrigation System for Vegetable Garden

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Joyfully Growing Blog)

An automatic garden watering system features pipes, pumps, and valves that automatically regulate the flow of water to a garden. It can be used to water vegetables, flowers, and shrubs. The system can be connected to a timer and water source, such as a well or municipal water line, for irrigation system schedules.

To make an automatic garden watering system, you will need to install the necessary pipes, pumps, valves, and fittings. The cost of an automatic irrigation system can range from as low as $500 to over $3,000 depending on the size and complexity of the system.

6. Self Watering Olla System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Permabello)

An olla is essentially an unglazed pot. Ollas have been utilized for drought-tolerant gardening. The water-filled olla is buried next to plants, where it slowly leaks out of the porous clay container. The soil is kept moist as a result of the water seeping into it, and the moisture also hydrates the roots of the plants. Generally, a basic system can be made for around $50 to $100.

7. Rain Barrels Watering System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@HGTV)

Rain barrels watering system is a method for collecting and storing rainwater for later use.

This system can help conserve water and reduce water bills. Rain barrels are usually large containers that are placed under a downspout to collect water runoff from your roof. They gather rainfall from your gutter downspouts and can be used to water your landscape using a drip irrigation system, soaker hose, or ordinary hose. The water can then be used for irrigation for lawns, wash cars, and even flush toilets.

Raised Garden Irrigation Ideas

Raised garden irrigation is an innovative way to keep your garden watered and healthy. It can be a great way to conserve water and prevent drought in areas where water is scarce. Raised garden irrigation also helps to prevent weeds and can make gardening easier. With these ideas, you can ensure that your garden is getting the right amount of water and is able to survive in any climate.

8. Dual System DIY Irrigation

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Flickr | Matt Haughey)

Dual system DIY irrigation is a type of irrigation that uses two systems to provide water to a garden. You can use this dual irrigation system even if you have a container garden because it works well to water raised-bed gardens and conventional in-ground plants.

A soaker hose, the system’s primary component, keeps your plants clean and hydrated. The second component is a drip irrigation system, which feeds water directly to the roots of your plants.

9. Raised Garden Bed Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Mother Earth News)

Here’s another fantastic soaker hose that you can use to maintain the moisture in your raised flower beds. It takes very little time to set this up and is excellent irrigation for flower gardens. This irrigation design provides water to the plants in the raised garden bed without having to manually water them.

You will need a water source such as a hose, sprinkler, or drip line, as well as a timer to control when the water is released. The soaker hose perfectly waters plant roots, and making one of these is not very expensive. In fact, the cost of a basic system will range from $200 to $600.

10. Raised Wooden Bed Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Gardeners Supply Company)

This technique is ideal for you if your garden bed is raised out of wood. If you add the irrigation setup for a raised bed garden, the line runs directly through the middle of your bed boxes, making it a pretty simple DIY project.

You will need the following materials: PVC piping, a hose, a timer, a pressure relief valve, a pressure gauge, and a water filter. You will also need some basic tools, such as a drill, a screwdriver, a hacksaw, and a wrench.

11. Raised Bed Drip Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@The Roaming Gardeners)

Raised bed drip irrigation system is a method of irrigating raised garden beds with a network of pipes and emitters that provide water in a controlled and efficient manner. The system is designed to deliver water directly to the roots of the plants, and can be used with an automated timer for irrigation system schedules.

To water raised-bed gardens, you will need a raised bed, a PVC pipe, a drip system, tubing, end caps, and emitters. The average cost of this drip irrigation system is $490. 

12. Irrigation Timer for Raised Garden

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Lee Valley Tools)

Irrigation timers for raised garden beds are a great way to ensure the efficient use of water when it comes to watering your plants. They can be used to automatically turn the water on and off, without having to manually do it yourself.

To create an irrigation timer for your raised garden, you will need a timer, hose, connectors, water valve, tubing, and sprinkle. Once you have all the necessary materials, you can begin to assemble your irrigation timer.

13. Soaker Hoses Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Epic Gardening)

Soaker hoses are a type of irrigation system that slowly releases water to your plants as needed. To make a soaker hose irrigation system for your raised garden, you will need a length of soaker hose, some stakes or anchors to hold it in place, and a hose adapter to connect the soaker hose to an outdoor water faucet.

Soaker hoses cost between $10 and $50 per hose, and you will usually need several hoses for a system. The cost of the other components, such as fittings, valves, and timers, can range from $20 to $200. This is generally a very affordable type of watering system. 

DIY Garden Irrigation Ideas

Gardening can be a relaxing and enjoyable pastime, but it can also be a lot of work. Watering plants can be especially taxing, especially in areas with hot climates or limited water availability. Fortunately, there are many DIY garden irrigation ideas to help make the process easier. From simple soaker hoses to automated systems, these DIY solutions can help you conserve water and keep your garden looking its best.

14. Easy Outdoor Drip Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Mother Earth News)

When necessary, this simple-to-install drip irrigation system perfectly waters your plant by connecting to your outside faucet. While not in use, you can unplug it to preserve your outdoor water supply for later uses.

You will need a water source, such as a faucet, garden hose, or even a rain barrel; a pressure regulator; a filter; a backflow preventer; and a variety of connectors, tubing, and emitters. If you already have some of the things you’ll need for this one, it won’t take you very long to set it up, and even if you have to buy them all, it won’t cost you very much.

15. Simple Bucket Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@His and Her Home Steading)

To make your own irrigation system, all you need is a five-gallon bucket and a few lines. You might be able to create this one for nothing if you have the necessary materials on hand.

You just need to install the line for your water to go out, and always have a few five-gallon buckets lying around. This one is quite simple to construct and correctly waters your plants for you. The cost of materials for a simple system can range from $50 to $150.

16. PVC Pipe Irrigation System

garden irrigation ideas
Source: Pinterest (@Arkansas Home Steader)

This one is likewise very simple to construct, and you can use it to perfectly irrigate your grass or garden over the scorching summer. If you already have some PVC pipe and a few other necessary materials, this project is also quite affordable.

The pipes are connected to a water timer, which will control when and how long water is released. Watch your children around this one since it uses a sprinkler-like mechanism to direct water where it is needed.

17. DIY Rainwater Irrigation System

DIY Rainwater Irrigation System
Source: Pinterest (@Homesthetics)

You can construct a DIY irrigation system that uses none of the city water supply for your grass or garden. Imagine having rainwater you’ve collected to irrigate your garden!

Rainwater is more natural than water that has fluoride and other chemicals added, which will make your plants and family a lot healthier. This system is ideal for small-scale gardening and can be used for hobby farming and landscaping.

18. Cheap DIY Irrigation System

Cheap DIY Irrigation System
Source: Pinterest (@Man Made DIY)

Unbelievably, for less than $10, you can build a system that will keep your garden perfectly irrigated.

You will need a water source, a pump, hoses, connectors, sprinklers, and valves. This one is quite simple to assemble and uses a storage bin for the water supply. With this one, you won’t ever have to be concerned about vegetable plants or tomato plants going to seed.

19. DIY Drip Line Irrigation System

DIY Drip Line Irrigation System
Source: Pinterest (@Ideas 2 Live 4)

Drip line irrigation system uses a network of small tubes to deliver water directly to the root zone of a plant. It is a low-pressure, low-volume water delivery system that reduces water waste by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface.

If you add an automatic timer, you can program it to water the plants at the proper time of day and line them up so that you correctly water each plant. Most DIY drip irrigation kits cost $25 – $200 and are above-ground units that cover 150 – 750 square feet.

20. DIY Automatic Drip Irrigation System

DIY Automatic Drip Irrigation System
Source: Pinterest (@Family Handyman)

When plants need water, a proper drip irrigation system will do so automatically. This one is rather simple to construct, and you have a few material choices such as tubing or hoses, pressure regulator, drip emitters, timer, and connectors. Also, you can discover more about when to set your timer for water delivery and how much water your plants should receive.

If you already have the necessary supplies on hand, this project might not cost you anything.

21. Cheap And Easy PVC Water Run

Cheap And Easy PVC Water Run
Source: Pinterest (@Buzzfeed)

This irrigation system is very simple to build and costs less than $100. PVC Water Run is ideal for helping you maintain enough water for herb gardens or other above-ground gardens.

You may use it in your traditional garden or for container gardens. This one can be made with PVC tubing, which is very affordable, and a few other essential materials. It will save you both time and money.

22. DIY Water Dripper System

DIY Water Dripper System
Source: Pinterest (@Instructables)

Water dripper system works by dripping water onto the soil or plants at a slow and continuous rate. This type of system is usually used for watering plants in gardens, patios, greenhouses, and other areas.

A decent garden hose, a hose connector, drippers to water your plants, stakes to secure your hose, a flow control valve, and a timer are among the supplies you’ll need. This do-it-yourself water irrigation system is incredibly simple to install and follows the same general irrigation design as previous systems.

23. DIY Soaker Hose System

DIY Soaker Hose System
Source: Pinterest (@Colorado Garden Club)

DIY soaker hose system is a simple and effective way to water your garden or lawn without wasting water. A soaker hose will send water directly to your plants’ roots, where they are most in need of it.

This DIY system is incredibly simple to construct and only needs a few supplies. Of course, you’ll need a hose, and you can make one out of little PVC pipe. To set up and start the system, you also need a few fittings and a few hours.

24. Cheap DIY Drip Irrigation

Cheap DIY Drip Irrigation
Source: Pinterest (@Morning Chores)

One of the simplest and least expensive irrigation systems you might build for your garden is this drip system. This one is designed for a conventional in-ground garden, but if you have a raised garden bed, you could easily alter it.

To make a cheap DIY drip irrigation system, you will need a hose or pipe, a timer, emitters, connectors, and a pressure regulator.  This one is easy to put together and doesn’t require more than a few hours or a lot of pricey materials or supplies.

25. Repurposed Plastic Bottle Irrigation System

Repurposed Plastic Bottle Irrigation System
Source: Pinterest (@Survival Farm)

With the help of this homemade irrigation system, you may transform used plastic bottles into something beneficial. To store your water, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on rain barrels or other containers.

You can add these to raised gardens if you have them or to conventional in-ground gardens if you don’t. Plastic bottles work nicely. When you create this one, the procedure is simple, and you save money because you’re re-purposing.

Final Thought

In conclusion, garden irrigation is a vital aspect of maintaining healthy and vibrant plants, but it can also be a significant contributor to water waste and higher bills. By implementing smart garden irrigation ideas, such as drip irrigation, subsurface irrigation, and micro-spray irrigation, you can efficiently water your garden and save both water and money.

Other irrigation ideas, such as rainwater harvesting, can also help reduce the need for using tap water and provide a sustainable and eco-friendly way to irrigate your garden. Additionally, by utilizing automated irrigation systems, such as smart controllers or timers, you can reduce human error and ensure that your garden receives the right amount of water at the right time.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can you DIY an irrigation system?

Yes, you can DIY an irrigation system. With the right materials and tools, it is possible to create a customized irrigation system that can be tailored to the size and layout of your garden or landscaping. It is usually much more cost-effective to build your own irrigation system than it is to hire a professional to install one.

Which method is best for irrigation and why?

The best method of irrigation depends on the specific needs of the area being irrigated. Factors such as the size of the area, climate, soil type, available water supply, and local regulations should all be taken into account.

Some common irrigation methods include sprinkler systems, drip irrigation, surface irrigation, and hand-watering. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best method for a particular area will depend on the specific needs and conditions.

How deep should irrigation be buried?

Irrigation should be buried to a depth of at least 8–12 inches below the surface of the soil. This ensures that the system will remain protected from freezing temperatures, which can cause the pipes to burst or become damaged.

Additionally, burying the irrigation system helps keep it out of sight, reducing the risk of damage from lawn mowers, vehicles, and other sources.

Can you use PVC pipe for irrigation?

Yes, PVC pipe can be used for irrigation. PVC pipe is generally lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant, making it an ideal material for irrigation systems. Additionally, it is easy to install and is available in a variety of sizes and lengths, making it an ideal choice for most irrigation projects.

How long does PVC irrigation last?

PVC irrigation can last up to 40 years or more if properly maintained. This is because PVC is a durable material that is resistant to corrosion and can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Additionally, PVC does not require a lot of irrigation maintenance and is relatively easy to repair when it does become damaged.

What can you use instead of sprinklers?

An irrigation system is a great alternative to sprinklers. Irrigation systems are more efficient and precise, allowing you to control the amount of water and type of water used in different areas. This can help conserve water and save money. Additionally, they are typically less prone to clogging and can be designed to meet specific needs.

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