You are currently viewing How to Set up a Drip Irrigation System: part 1

How to Set up a Drip Irrigation System: part 1

How to set up a drip irrigation system for your patio pots and hanging baskets.

I love this beautiful waterfall.  It reminds me how essential water is to life.  Without adequate water our planet would be a barren dessert. 

pansies on a deck
A drip system on a timer is essential if you have as many pots as this. I love going on vacation and not worrying about coming home to dead flowers on my patio.

Did you know our bodies are about 60% water?   Plants have us beat as they are about 90-95% water.  Water is what transports the nutrients throughout the plant and what regulates the temperature of the plant.  Plants in the full sun keep from cooking by giving off water through their leaves in a process called transpiration.   On a hot summer day, you may see them wilting in the heat as they transpire off more moisture than their roots can replace.  There is no need for concern when this happens because the roots will replenish the lost water during the cooler nighttime.  The next morning the plants will again look lovely.   To keep your plants healthy and happy, you want to make sure they have just the right amount of water. 

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hanging basket with mini drip watering
Drip irrigation to a hanging basket.
mini drip watering system
Drip irrigation for patio pots.
mini drip watering system
Timer used for drip irrigation system.

A great way to ensure your plants get the perfect amount of water (even if you are away) is to follow my simple instructions on setting up a drip irrigation system on a timer.  

Setting up a drip system can appear very complex.  Most drip systems come as a kit with lots of pieces, parts, and stuff you have no idea how to use.  I bought one of those kits several years ago when I learned how to set up a drip system and discovered one kit doesn’t fit all needs.  I needed to buy additional items for my drip watering needs and didn’t use most of the kit’s contents.  

As a result of that experience, I’ve developed another SIS (simple is smart) way to set up a drip irrigation system to water your plants.

mini drip watering system
mini drip watering system
mini drip watering system
mini drip watering system
mini drip watering system


  1.  1/4 inch distribution tubing.(image #1)
  2. 1/4 inch drip-line tubing (image #2) The drip-line tubing had 0.5 gph drippers spaced every 12 inches. 
  3. Variety of drip irrigation connectors.  (image #3) to include straight, tee, 4-way and 90 degree connectors as well as an end cap.   
  4.   Faucet to 1/4 inch drip tubing adapter. (image #3)
  5.  Stakes to secure dripline. (image #4) 
  6.   Timer  (image #5)
  7.  Backflow preventer (required if your water source is a municipality, not shown in above pictures).
  8. Inline water pressure regulator  (see discussion below, also not shown in above pictures) The little green and yellow disc in image #4 can be used as a inline flow restrictor.







mini drip watering system
Diagram of SIS drip system for 3 pots or hanging baskets.
mini drip watering system
Setup for 2 pots, note backflow preventer and water pressure regulator are not shown. A tee connector is used in place of the 4 way connector.

Suppose your water source is city water, then you will need a back-flow preventer valve and a water pressure regulator valve between the faucet and the timer.  The city water supply has high pressures that damage the timer and tubing over time.

mini drip watering system
Step 1 and 2
mini drip watering system
Step 3
mini drip watering system
Step 4
mini drip watering system
Step 5
mini drip watering system
Step 5
mini drip watering system
Step 6
mini drip watering system
Step 7
mini drip watering system
Step 8

Rx for assembly of a SIS drip system

  1.  Lay out the system and cut the distribution tubing and drip-line tubing to the size you will need.
  2. The tubing to faucet adapter comes with a mesh filter.  Insert the filter into the adapter as shown. 
  3. Attach the faucet adapter to the distribution tubing.
  4. Attach the distribution tubing to the timer. 
  5. Using the connectors connect the distribution tubing to the drip-line tubing. 
  6.  Cap off the end of the drip-line tubing. 
  7. Arrange the drip-line tubing in the pots (each pot has a separate drip  line from the distribution tubing). Secure the drip-line tubing into the pots with the plastic stakes.
  8. Connect the back-flow preventer valve to the faucet.  Connect the pressure reducer valve to the back-flow preventer valve. Connect the timer to the pressure reducer valve (see diagram above).
  9. Set the timer and enjoy beautiful pots or baskets of flowers all summer long. My timer does not have a back-flow preventer valve or pressure regulator valve because my water supply is a well.
  10. For information on how to set up a drip irrigation system for your vegetable garden click here.
pansies on a deck

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I’ve seen your system, it works great with all your many baskets and containers.

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for this! Needed to set up a watering system for when we are away (and also for our forgetfulness) for both a set of pots and 3 gardens. I used your guide to figure out how to do it! Thank you so much- Liz Fernandez

  3. Anonymous

    It’s interesting to know that irrigation systems can also work even when it comes to multiple potted plants. I’m currently working on the design of my new patio and I might need to have plants around it to make it look a lot more aesthetically pleasing. As such, it would be nice to get an irrigation system set up for that.

    1. Doctor Jo

      The drip irrigation system is fabulous for potted plants or hanging baskets on or around the deck. I would love to hear how well it works for you.

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