Ways to Water Your Garden

Table of Contents

A carefully planned landscape has high maintenance plants in just a few places, while the rest of the landscape requires less care. Some other considerations to keep in mind are:
  • High water maintenance areas include your containers full of colorful annuals in full sun, annual display gardens, and the vegetable areas. Water is the prime need of all these areas, so having all the high maintenance areas close to a water source saves time.
  • Perennial beds need less maintenance.
  • Trees and shrubs are areas that take much less care.

Ways to Water Plants

1. Hand Watering

Person watering a rose shrub with a watering can.

Some things, like newly planted shrubs or fruit trees, are spread out around the property and dragging hoses or irrigation to them is not practical. This is where a simple watering can with water from the outside faucet makes the most sense. Single containers on the front porch are another area where watering from a jug or watering can is best.

2. Basic Hose

Woman watering a shrub with a hose.

A hose connected to the outside faucet can be moved to the area that needs water. Or, use the hose to fill a watering can to take water to plants. Although this is a basic way to water, it is the best way to water specific plants, such as recently planted shrubs. An on/off wand at the end of the hose makes this a little easier.

3. Overhead Sprinkler

Overhead fan sprinkler watering a garden.

You can connect an overhead sprinkler to a hose and direct water to the plants from above. The device waters large areas at one time and is good for vegetable beds particularly if done early in the day. A lot of water is lost from evaporation when overhead watering on summer days so you should water at dawn if possible.

4. Soaker Hoses

Vegetable garden with a system of soaker hoses set up for watering.

Soaker hoses are flexible, porous hoses that deliver water at the soil surface to the plants. Place the hose under mulch so that the water seeps into the ground, but the hose is hidden. The advantage of this type of watering is that it delivers water at the surface where newly planted annuals or vegetables really need it. When placed on a timer, the soaker hose is a convenient way to irrigate some areas of the garden.

5. Basic Irrigation System

Vegetable garden with a basic irrigation system for watering.

Irrigation can range from very simple to very expensive in-ground systems. The main line is attached to a source of water – hose or in-ground connector. The ‘trunk’ line goes around the garden beds and smaller lines take the water to specific plants or shrubs. This again can be designed to have rings of nozzles around a shrub or attached to a secondary drip line that has holes along a length for beans, carrots and peas that are usually grown in a row.

6. Watering Containers

Small scale irrigation system using tube capillary set-up for potted plants.

Watering containers is usually done with a watering can but if your deck is full of planters, setting up an irrigation system makes watering them all much easier. Using a similar system to the irrigation idea, the water hose is attached to a prime line. Tributary lines are taken from that main line to each container.

Timers and Technology

Timers are a great way to water while you sleep or travel. Manual water timers that fit on the outside faucet have been around for years, but technology has updated. Timers are devices attached to the hose and the outside faucet. They control when water is delivered to the plants and for how long. Electronic irrigation systems have the timer on the control panel. The best systems work on demand or can be overridden when it rains.
A woman using a smart phone app to monitor her lawn and garden watering.

New technology gives you control of when the water is delivered and to where via an app on your cell phone. An app also works when you travel, allowing you to check the weather at home and water if needed.
Most gardeners find that a combination of several different methods works best for the garden and makes delivery of water effective for the plants’ needs. Whichever watering method you use, pick one that is convenient for you and your lifestyle.
Watering can used to water beautiful containers of flowers.

Not sure what type of garden hose you need for your particular landscape situation? Let us help you figure it out with our handy Guide to Garden Hoses.


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