I'm making a pvc watering system for my garden based off of a youtube video. I have all the pipes and I'm ready to assemble. I have a roughly 20'x20' garden and based on the video, I bought a water hose connection, a ball valve to control flow, 3/4" pipe to run down the length and 1/2" pipe to run down each of 6 rows.

My question is how far apart I should drill the holes. They guy on the video said he'd experimented and found that 1/16" holes were ideal. Granted he was doing a raised bed that was significantly smaller than what I plan. He had two beds done this way that probably came near my square footage and while they choked down with two running simultaneously, they still put out some water.

This guy didn't give info on spacing the holes, though. He drilled a lot of holes near each specific plant. I plant to space them evenly to water the whole garden, so that I can use them year after year and not worry about the spacing.

We have good pressure and the pipes get choked down from a 3/4" to a 1/2", so that should increase it some. I was figuring on trying every 8" first, though I think that might be too far apart, it'll be roughly 180 holes at 1/16" dia. I suppose if they don't have sufficient coverage, I can drill a hole between each hole and double that. I just worry that if I drill too many holes, even with good pressure from the well, that I'll end up with soaker pipes. I do plan to put each pipe as close to the base of the plants as I can, so it won't need to squirt very far, but some leeway would be nice. Does anyone have any ideas on this. I plan to drill the holes today or tomorrow. My garden isn't doing good with me hosing it down. It does soak in as well and I'm loosing tomato blossoms from watering top down. Thanks.

  • more holes = less watering time... I would assume... and more uniform... I don't think that 4" would be too much, if it is you could probably seal up most 1/16" holes with some pvc solvent glue May 20, 2015 at 22:48
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    Drip emitter tubing is fairly inexpensive and easy to set up. It isn't made of PVC which can leach chemicals and degrades with sunlight. Toro's Blue Stripe would be my choice.Before you do anything have a look at it before trying to reinvent the wheel because some guy did it on youtube. May 21, 2015 at 0:47
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    Grab receipt and pipe/fittings, return to store, get black poly drip tubing. PVC in the sun turns into plastic shards after a not terribly long time. I have some 1/2 drip tube (I think it was 100 feet for $17) I'm using in a non-drip manner that's been out there for 5 years or more. One part got nicked by a tool at some point, and while the pipe has stretched where the partial cut is (from freezing, which will destroy PVC) it still has not gotten to the point of leaking there. The pipe is not drained for winter and other than where the partial cut is has remained unaffected by being frozen.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 21, 2015 at 2:28

2 Answers 2


I was going to drill 8" holes, but it looked like it was just too far apart. I went with 4" spacing and assembled it. I tried the two piece of just one row before drilling the rest and the water was shooting out almost 6'.

Once it was together I turned it on and it worked fine. The only problem I had is that my garden sits on a slight hill, so I'm getting about a 1' spray at the bottom and 2-3" at the top. I put them right near the base of the plants, though and adjusted the bottoms out a little and they seem to be working about right. I may just try drip hoses next year, but I figured these would last me a while. Others have commented that they degrade quickly. If it turns out to be the case, then it was just an experiment and I know now. Thanks for the help so far.

  • I use something similar with standard 5/8 drip irrigation line supply hose (I'm on gravity fed irrigation, lower part of the property works well on drip-line with 5psi). Use the punch tool, push spaghetti tube connectors in to keep the holes open. As you found, they work best if you keep the hose level, unlike drip-line, there's no control to the flow, so water will flood out on the end with the most gravity assist. I'm having good success on other watering with 1gph drip-line 12" spacing, just be sure to use a 150 mesh filter to keep the silt out. Jun 14, 2015 at 3:43

I'm not sure about PVC, but if you do decide to switch to drip hose (which I would also recommend), you can find low-volume emitters to control saturation at the low end of your garden. This way you can decide hole spacing based on the positions of your plants and let the hardware determine the water volumes.

Also, for those who don't know, industrial irrigation stores is the place to go to for this kind of stuff. Usually they have parts in hand for farmhands needing to do an emergency fix. The options are way better and you can buy only the individual pieces that you need. I don't typically spend more than $5 on a garden setup.

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