Homemade PVC Irrigation System

PVC irrigation - full length view

It has been really dry this year in our area so I’ve had to get out my homemade PVC irrigation system. This system works very well and is relatively inexpensive compared to regular drip irrigation setups. It works especially well in my rectangular four foot wide, twenty foot long wide-row beds.

PVC irrigation - around tomato plants

I use the PVC irrigation system mainly for the tomato plants as these are the prize of our garden. The system works equally well for cucumbers, cantaloupe, beans, corn and larger vegetable beds. The system is easy to setup and break down at the beginning and end of the season. It is also easy to reconfigure as needed and move around the garden.

Here is the parts list. You can find all parts at a home warehouse store.

Parts list:

  • 3/4” standard PVC pipe (I use 10 foot lengths)
  • Slip couplings (used to connect pipe lengths)
  • Slip 90 degree elbows
  • Slip T fittings
  • Slip caps (used for the end of line)
  • Female adapters both slip adapter and garden hose adapter

Below are pictures of the various fittings.

PVC irrigation - slip coupling

PVC irrigation - elbow

PVC irrigation - slip cap

PVC irrigation - female garden hose adapter and slip adapter

Tools needed:

  • Drill
  • 3/32” drill bit
  • Pliers or wrench to screw in garden hose adapter

Initial steps to prepare system:

  • Cut pipe lengths for connecting long lines to each other according to your garden configuration. I have several different lengths depending on how I want to connect the long lines
  • Drill 3/32” holes in the long lines about 8 to 12 inches apart down the length of the pipe. I mainly use 12 inch spacing.
  • Slip on caps at one end of pipes that will be the end of the line.
  • Slip on couplings, tees, elbows and garden hose adapter based on your configuration setup.

PVC irrigation - pipe size

PVC irrigation - hole size

PVC irrigation - connecting configuration

That’s it! Pretty simple.

For the fittings, you can just slip these on by hand and they don’t have to be super secure since there won’t be that much pressure on the system.

Once you have your system set up in the garden, connect your garden hose to the adapter. Remember to point the holes in the pipe down toward the soil. On the end of the garden hose, I put a valve fitting to easily regulate the amount of water flowing through the system. I like to have a slow soaking flow to ensure deeper watering of the soil.

What kind of irrigation systems do you use?


Larry Braley

About Larry Braley

Blessed husband to a wonderful, virtuous woman and father of five, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Raised on a midsize farm in the midwest during my childhood and early teen years. Moved away for several years to live the corporate life. Glad to be back in the country raising my family, teaching life skills and developing our mini-farm.
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8 Responses to Homemade PVC Irrigation System

  1. Thanks Larry, Nice article! I built my own irrigation system yesterday similar to yours and succeeded. This morning when I was browsing to find out the hole sizes I should make, I came across your article. Any idea on what size hole I should make?



    • Larry Braley Larry Braley says:

      Hi John, I use a hole size of 3/32. It works really well for me as an all purpose hole size for various plants. Jeff Banks uses a 1/16 hole size with closer hole spacing around certain types of plants. You can check my review of his system in this post. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Sam Regonini says:

    Thanks for the article Larry, really helpful. I just finished setting up this system but the water is coming out of the holes in a steady stream rather than a drip. Any ideas of how to fix that?

    • Larry Braley Larry Braley says:

      Hi Sam, I’m glad you liked the article. I use a simple ball valve connected to the hose end at the inlet of the manifold to control the water flow. This simple solution creates more of a trickle than a drip system, but I’ve found it still works effectively. If you want even less flow, you can use smaller holes, but these can get clogged easier. You can also position PVC valves at various points in the system to regulate different flow rates for different areas.

  3. bobby ranggi says:

    I am testing it now
    thank you so much.

  4. Steve Haynes says:


    I have a few questions:

    I was wondering if this was run off of a pump or off of a city water system?

    How many holes total did you have in your system?

    What is the length of a run of pipe, which I think may be the length of your garden?

    Finally, you said you could reconfigure easily. Is the fitup without PVC pipe cement?

    • Larry Braley Larry Braley says:

      Hi Steve. We live in the country and the system runs off our outdoor facet from a well. My beds run 10′ long with 1′ walking paths. So I use 10′ pipe and connect them to cover several beds, generally 2-10’s put together. I put holes about 1′ apart, so about 8 holes per 10′ section, with somewhere around 8 – 10 sections together.

      I don’t use cement as the pressure is lower and they stay together. When I first started, I used threaded connectors, but that proved to be more work than was needed. They stay together quite well as they are with just couplings. This makes it very easy to reconfigure and take down and store for the winter.

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