How to Plumb Your Garden
A garden provides numerous benefits for any home. It appeals to the senses, can provide sustenance in the form of vegetables and herbs, and is great for property value. But a garden also requires time and energy to care for it. If you have a large garden and have grown tired of moving hoses and sprinklers around, you may want to consider investing some time and building a home plumbing system for your garden.
Before you start tearing up your garden, first make a thorough plan of attack. Take measurements of your garden and draw up a map or plot. Ask yourself some basic questions: how many trenches will you need for the pipes? How will the trenches be arranged? How deeply will you bury the pipes? Where will the water go? Does your garden have any naturally-occurring obstacles, like tree boles or walls that you’ll have to work around or through? Will you want to expand your system later?
Next, assemble the parts you will need:
- Braided flexible plumbing line
- A spigot (multi-head if you have more than one trench planned)
- Connectors and clamps for the plumbing line
Garden Plumbing, a Step by Step Guide
Find the low points in your garden, because that’s where all the water will be draining. Whether or not your garden is downhill or uphill from the house will make a difference in where you build your trenches. You will also need to plan for some sort of end point for when you need to completely drain the system. Account for any places where the lines will have to turn or bend — you will need elbow connections for your pipes in these areas, as well as any areas where the line will need to make a 90-degree turn (where the line meets the spigot, for example).
Once you have your plan in place, the next step is to dig the trenches where you plan to lay your plumbing line. For this, you may want to rent or purchase a trench digger tool, since digging by hand could be very time- and labor-intensive. This is where determining the depth of your trenches will be important. If you live in a climate where the weather turns freezing each year, then frozen pipes are a potential concern. You’ll have to either bury the pipes below the frost line, or plan to drain the system of water each year when the weather begins to turn cold.
After the trenches are properly dug out, you will want to check the slope and evenness of the trench to make sure there are no hidden low points in the line where water could accumulate. A levelling tool or even a piece of straight wood or pipe will probably suffice.
Now you’re ready to lay your plumbing line. Start at your water source, usually the spigot. If you have multiple trenches in your system, you will need a multi-head spigot that can supply water to each separate line. When fitting the lines, ensure that the connections are tight and that you fit the clamps snugly. You may need to heat the line with a propane torch to get them to fit correctly.
Once the lines are placed, it’s time to test the system for leaks. Turn on the water and examine each of your lines and connections for any signs of leakage. You may need to leave the water on for a while, just to make certain.
A proper garden plumbing system can involve a lot of labor up front, but once it’s finished, it will add beauty and value to your home, and save you a lot of labour in the long run.