Introduction: Fast and Easy, PVC Garden Watering System (for Under $70)

Picture of Fast and Easy, PVC Garden Watering System (for Under $70)

Gardening is one of my main summer activities and over the past several years, my garden (as they tend to do) has grown. With that growth, the amount of time and water my garden takes has also grown.

For years, I've wanted a watering system that I could turn on each morning, for 15-20 minutes, that would sufficiently water my garden without wasting a ton of water. My hesitation was always been the cost, until recently when I built my kids the Fast and Easy, PVC Water Run!!! (for under $100). I found that the sprayers I used work great for soaking the kids so, why not try them on the garden. Plus based on the cost of the "Water Run", I knew I could totally work it into my budget (which was about $50).

Here's what I came up with...

Step 1: Pipes, Connectors, and Tools

Picture of Pipes, Connectors, and Tools

My main goals for my garden watering system were pretty simple:

  • It had to be adjustable in length
  • I really wanted it to be easily broken down for storage
  • It had to use as little water as possible (I'm on a well, for my water supply)

With those rules in mind, I went to work.

Here is the parts list (acquired from my local Lowe's):

Pipe:

1 x 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe (10 ft) @ $3.90 x 2 = $7.80

Cut to:

2 x 24" Pieces of Pipe (2 ft)

4 x 12" Pieces of Pipe (1 ft)

3 x 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe (10 ft) @ $2.54 ea x 3 = $7.62

Cut to:

4 x 60" Pieces of Pipe (5 ft)

2 x 24" Pieces of Pipe (2 ft)

4 x 6" Pieces of Pipe

Connectors:

2 x 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Tees @ $.86 ea x 2 = $1.72

2 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Elbow @ $1.46 ea x 2 = $2.92

1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (female) @ $1.10

1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male) @ $.96

3 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Coupling @ $3.67 ea x 3 = $11.01

2 x 3/4-in dia PVC Sch 40 Saddle Tees @ $1.40 ea x 2 = $2.80

2 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tees @ $.36 ea x 2 = $.72

4 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Caps @ $.46 ea x 4 = $1.84

1 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Cap (threaded) @ $1.28

2 x 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Caps @ $.66 ea x 2 = $1.32

4 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male) @ $.46 ea x 4 = $1.84

Sprayer Nozzles:

2 x Mister Landscaper 12-Pack Half-Circle Drip Irrigation Micro Spray @ $4.98 ea x 2 = $9.96

2 x Mister Landscaper 3-Pack Drip Irrigation Extension Riser @ $2.06 ea x 2 = $4.12

Adhesives:

1 x Oatey 8-fl oz PVC Cement and Primer @ $8.81

Grand Total: $65.82 (usd) before tax

As for tools, I simply used a tape measure, a sharpie (to mark the pipe), a hack saw to cut the pipe, purple pluming primer & cement, and the blunt side of a hatchet to tap the pipes together.

*Once cut, make sure the pipes have been cleaned of all shavings/clippings, as they could later clog your sprayers.

**To prime and cement pipes/receptacles, apply 2 coats of primer to the pipes ends and to the inside of the receptacle. Then add a thin layer of cement to both, prior to connecting.

***Be sure your connection points are square, so everything lines up correctly. PVC is forgiving, but it has to be close.

Step 2: The Basic Build...

Picture of The Basic Build...

This design was based on the "Arch" shaped structures from my Water Run, with a few updates. First, because I use raised beds for gardening, it needed it to be 2 ft tall rather than 6 ft tall. Second, because I wanted to be able to disassemble the watering system during the winter, I need to swap out the connectors on top of the legs and on the first and last set of pipes for threaded adapters.

This potion of the build took only about 20 minutes (I recommend laying out your pre-cut pipe first).

1. First apply primer, then cement to one end of 4 x 12" (1 ft) pieces of 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe and to the inside, of each side, on 2 x 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tees.

Connect each of the prepped 12" (1 ft) pieces of 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe to the left and right sides of the 2 prepped 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tees. Be sure to make a tight fit.

2. Next apply primer, then cement to the exposed ends on both 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe foot sets and to the inside of 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (female), 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male), and 2 x 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Caps.

Then, connect your prepped 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (female) to the exposed end of 1 x 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe foot and connect your prepped 1 x 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Cap to the opposite end. Repeat this process for the other side, substituting 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (female) for 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male).

3. Apply primer, then cement to the vertical outlets on 2 x 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tees on the foot assemblies and to one end of the 2 x 24" (2 ft) Pieces of 1-in Schedule 40 PVC Pipe. Connect, each piece of 24" (2 ft) 1-in Schedule 40 PVC Pipe to the vertical outlets of both 1-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tees.

4. Apply primer, then cement to the top of each of the 24" (2 ft) 1-in Schedule 40 PVC Pipes and to the insides of the 2 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Elbow (threaded). Connect 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Elbow (threaded) to the top of both 24" (2 ft) 1-in Schedule 40 PVC Pipes. Be sure this connection is as square as possible.

5. Finally, apply primer, then cement to one end of 2 x 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe and to the insides of 2 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male). Connect the prepped 2 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male) the prepped ends of the 2 x 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe.

OK...The hard part is done! Now lay out the parts that you have just assembled and allow the cement to cure in the sun for 2 hours.

Step 3: Assembling the Structure...

Picture of Assembling the Structure...

Ok, now that the cement has had time to cure, it's time to assemble the basic structure for the watering system.

1. To start, gather the parts for the support legs. These I've just fit together rather than using cement to connect them. There will be no water running through them so it's not really necessary (and it saves some time). As the two legs are identical, repeat this step for both (or build them in tandem).

Connect 2 x 6" pieces of 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe to each side of 1 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tee. Apply 1 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Cap to each open end of the 2 x 6" pieces of 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe. Next connect 1 x 24" (2 ft) piece of 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe to the open vertical outlet on the 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Tee. Then connect 1 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male) to the open end of the 24" (2 ft) piece of 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe. Finally, connect 1 x 3/4-in dia PVC Sch 40 Saddle Tee to the threaded 1 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male).

2. Now, screw together each of the 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipes, with the 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (male) attached to one end, to the 3/4-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Elbows atop both of the main leg assemblies.

3. Next, place 1 x cap and rubber insert from 2 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Coupling on to both ends of 2 x 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipes.

4. Place the cap and rubber insert from the remaining 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Coupling on to the open ends, of both of the 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipes attached to the leg assemblies.

5. Now using the center section from the 3 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Coupling's combine each section of 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipes.

6. Add the support legs where needed. Being that these can clip on to the 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipes using the 3/4-in dia PVC Sch 40 Saddle Tee, they can be adjusted where needed.

7. Lastly Screw 1 x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Cap (threaded) on to the 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter, attached to one of the main foot assembly. This will seal the system, allowing it to built the proper pressure to power the sprayers.

Step 4: Drilling and Mounting the Sprayer Nozzles

Picture of Drilling and Mounting the Sprayer Nozzles

Once the basic structure has been assembled, it's time to add the spray nozzles. Because they worked so well on the Water Run, I again purchased 2 packs of Mister Landscaper 12-Pack Half-Circle Drip Irrigation Micro Sprayers for a total of 24 sprayers. I also purchase 2 packs of Mister Landscaper 3-Pack Drip Irrigation Extension Risers, to allow some of the sprayers to be elevated to get additional coverage.

1. Using a marker of your choice, mark where you want to drill your holes. I marked 5 spots per each 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe. 4 are spaced about 10-12 inches apart, on alternating sides and are at a slight angle to allow the sprayer to spray out rather than straight down. The last one is marked in the center of each 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe and is set to be mounted vertically.

2. Using a 5/32 drill bit, drill out, where you have made your marks.

3. Next screw 1 X spray nozzle into each of the angled holes you've just drilled. The spray heads are threaded and do screw in pretty easily, however if you're having difficulty, you may want to use a tap to cut the threads prior to screwing in the nozzles.

4. Finally connect 1 x spray nozzle to each of 4 x Mister Landscaper 3-Pack Drip Irrigation Extension Risers and screw them into the vertical holes in the center of each 60" (5 ft) 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe. I adjusted each of the vertical heads to spray in the same direction, toward the end of the structure to allow for additional coverage of my entire garden.

Step 5: Testing the Gardening Watering System!!!

Picture of Testing the Gardening Watering System!!!

Now that everything is connected, it's time to test it out. Run a hose to the 1 x 1-in Dia x 3/4-in Dia PVC Sch 40 Adapter (female) and connect them. Turn on the water and if everything has sealed correctly you should start to see droplets form on the sprayers and with in about 2 minutes you should have a nice fine mist coming from each of the nozzles. .

Step 6: The Garden Watering System at Work...

Picture of The Garden Watering System at Work...

Once everything was tested, it was time to install my "Garden Watering System". I ran it down the middle of my beds which stretch to about 20 ft long and are maybe 5-6 ft wide.

Not only did it work fantastic, I can not rave enough about the amount of water it saves. Plus it's made watering the garden so much easier. I run it in the mornings for about 20 minutes and the garden is good for the rest of the day.

Step 7: Flexibility and Storage...

Picture of Flexibility and Storage...

Because my garden watering system was designed to break down during the winter, it also made it very flexible when it comes to configuration. Parts can easily be added to it, or taken away from it, giving it the ability to be as compact as 10 ft or as long as 20 ft in it's current configuration and it can still be further expanded if need be.

Set up and tear down takes roughly 5 minutes and it stores flat against the wall, comfortably out of the way until needed again next year. It's also extremely light and very easy to move around.

Well that's it! I really hope you like this Instructable and Happy Gardening!

Comments

chuckstake (author)2015-09-18

nice

BKLaRue (author)chuckstake2015-09-18

Thanks!

tmarkk (author)2015-09-17

Wow, I love this instructable! Simple but flexible. Great for a vegetable garden. Thank you so much.

BKLaRue (author)tmarkk2015-09-17

You're very welcome and thank you! I wish I built this years ago, it works great!

Be well and thanks again!

KanPo Studios (author)2015-09-16

Excellent design.
I'm going to see if I could apply this to a cement flat roof.

We are designing an outdoor patio on our roof. It's 15 feet wide by 50 feet long.

Thanks for the instructable.
Keep them coming !

BKLaRue (author)KanPo Studios2015-09-16

Thank you for the kind words!! I'm sure you could totally make it work. You could even add right angles to make it curve if you wanted to.

Be well and thanks again!

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Bio: I'm a husband, a father of 3 great girls, a drummer and a lover of all things Zombie. I'm also a habitual crafter ...
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