Fix-It Chick: How to install micro-watering system

Drip irrigation and micro-watering systems can reduce water usage by up to 70 percent. Installing a watering system is an easy way to save water, money and time, while improving the overall health and productivity of your plants.

Step 1: Lay out a plan. It is best to start small and add to the irrigation system as time and money allow. Choose a few plants in one area to water and draw up a plan for running irrigation lines to them. Lines can be run through garden beds, into pots, and into hanging planters. Get creative!

Step 2: Once the design is set and the parts have been purchased, lay out all of the pieces in the general area where they will be installed. Irrigation tubing is much easier to work with after it has sat in the sun for an hour or so. When dealing with coiled product, be sure to unroll it, rather than pulling it from the center of the coil to avoid a frustrating situation.

Step 3: Assemble the lateral lines and drippers – the small parts – but do not attach them to the main irrigation line yet. Cut small tubing ends at a 15 degree angle to make inserting fittings easier.

Step 4: Attach the main irrigation line to the water source.

Step 5: Working down the line from the water source, install each additional lateral line, sprinkler or dripper.

Step 6: Once all of the pieces are assembled and attached, remove all end caps or clamps, as well as any sprinklers and jets. Turn the water on to flush out any dirt or debris that may have gotten in the line during the installation process.

Step 7: With the water still running, close off any open ends with the appropriate end clamps or caps.

Step 8: Turn the water off and reattach all of the sprinkler heads and jets.

Step 9: Turn the water back on, check for leaks or clogged devices. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal water application. If desired, cover the main irrigation line and any lateral lines with up to six inches of mulch to keep them in place and protect them from garden implements.

Step 10: To take full advantage of the watering system, consider adding a manual or electronic water timer to assure water is turned on and off at optimal times throughout the growing season.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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