5 Tips For Successfully Installing Drip Irrigation

12 July 2023
 Categories: , Blog


Sprinkler systems use a variety of different emitter types, from those that spray over an entire lawn to emitters that only drip out a few drops of water at a time. The drip emitter and line systems are especially well suited to the flower beds that border your home or the shrubs that dot your property. 

1. Prepare the Beds

For yet-to-be-planted beds or those in need of renovation, it's much easier to do the work before you install the drip irrigation system. This includes adding in soil amendments, like compost, as well as more involved work such as pulling out old plants or putting in new ones. Old mulch and debris in the bed should also be raked up and disposed of, or you can set the mulch aside for later re-use.

2. Install Weed Block

Drip irrigation systems work especially well with weed-blocking materials, such as landscaping fabric. The material will prevent weeds from invading the flower garden or shrub bed so that the water from the system goes only to feed the desired plants in the area. Landscaping fabric, when installed properly, can last for many years. As an added benefit, it also keeps the sprinkler emitters out of the dirt, which reduces the chances of clogs. 

3. Position Emitters

Drip systems work best with minimal water waste when each emitter is carefully positioned. The ideal placement is to put the emitter right at the base of the plant's stem so that water drips directly into the soil above the plant's roots. In denser plantings, it's possible to set the emitters between two plants to reduce the amount of emitters necessary. Larger plants, like trees and large shrubs, may require two emitters on either side of the trunk in order to receive sufficient water.

4. Mulch Properly

Combining mulch with your irrigation system will greatly reduce water usage because the mulch prevents moisture from evaporating out of the soil before the plants can absorb it. For ornamental beds and around shrubs, wood chip mulch tends to work well. Large wood chips are less likely to clog sprinkler emitters, but the mulch should still be pulled back from around plant stems.  Arrange the mulch so it only covers the sprinkler system's tubes but doesn't cover the emitters.

5. Manage the Pressure

Overly high water pressure is one of the more common ways drip lines are damaged. The drip section of your irrigation system should be set up on its own zone to ensure that it isn't competing with the rest of the sprinkler system for water. A separate pressure regulator may also need to be installed on the feeder line for the drip system. This will prevent surges of water pressure that can damage the sprinkler lines. 

Contact a sprinkler systems installation professional if you need help putting in a drip irrigation system.