6 Watering Methods for Your Garden That You Should Know: Irrigation Systems

Translated by Nick R

Maybe you have often wondered what type of watering is best for you and your crop needs. Indeed, this is an important issue since each plant has a different way of irrigation. In addition, in some areas water is a much scarcer resource than in others and cannot be wasted in inadequate watering.

We wanted to make this blog because of these circumstances. Here you’ll learn about the different existing types of irrigation, the characteristics of each one, the advantages of implementing a watering system in your garden, and more.

Aspects to consider before implementing a watering system

As you already know, some plants have very different requirements from others such as light, temperature, humidity, location, and so on. However, watering is one of the things that all plants demand.

Water is one of the fundamental elements for plants to carry out photosynthesis. Some need more frequent watering while others prefer some short periods of drought. Likewise, others permanently require either frequent or infrequent watering.

This illustrates the importance of watering for plants as well as the use of substrate and fertilizer as these elements allow the plant to develop adequately.

The purpose of water in plants is:

  • To be part of the plant’s cells in more than 80%.
  • To carry elements from the substrate or soil to the plant’s leaves to be processed. This is known as ascending sap which is the fluid that runs through the plant’s conducting vessels to nourish it.
  • To carry out organic components from the leaves to other parts of it. This is known as descending sap.

In their natural habitats, they perform these processes on their own. But if they’re in your garden, you must provide them with what they need so that their environment resembles that of their origin. That means you’ll be responsible for either the successful or unsuccessful development of your plants.

Importance of irrigation for the plant roots

Just like the rest of the plant, roots need to breathe. It can be more intensive if high temperatures are present. However, when they’re unable to do so, they die, and eventually, the plant dies as well.

For this reason, it’s vitally important that you don’t let the substrate or soil where the roots get waterlogged. Avoid excessive watering and don’t leave the pot on the plate that collects the drained water which will help to prevent the roots from drowning.

In addition to this, the plant should be in a suitable substrate that retains the necessary water and drains the one that is no longer wanted. A porous substrate is the most suitable for these conditions.

This substrate can have large pores that allow the water to drain quickly and fill with air; a condition demanded by some plants. Or it can have small pores, which keep the water for a long time until it evaporates or is absorbed by the plant. You can learn a little more about this topic in our blog on substrates.  


This point goes hand in hand with the previous one. Depending on the type of soil or substrate you use, you must ensure good drainage so that your plants don’t waterlog. Waterlogged soil is the first stage for disease propagation and poor aeration.

In case you have your plants in pots, this process is considerably simpler. You must make sure that the type of substrate is suitable for the plant because, as you know, each one has its own needs. In addition, the pot should always have openings at the bottom.

This water can be collected in a dish or tray and removed as quickly as possible so that the substrate doesn’t re-absorb and the roots rot. As the ideal is not to waste this resource unnecessarily, you can reuse it. You only need to take it from the dishes, trays or drains, so you can also help to reduce the environmental footprint.

Methods to improve drainage

If you have your plants in the garden directly in the soil you can implement a few methods to improve drainage.

  • Install drainage pipes in your garden. You can do this by placing corrugated and perforated PVC pipes at a depth of 40 to 50 cm in the divisions of your crop. These will be connected to another pipe that is responsible for collecting the water.
  • You can also create slopes in areas where rain or irrigation water accumulates and can affect your plants.
  • Increase the porosity of the soil with a little sand and organic matter, as the latter improves water infiltration. You can add it at the time of planting. In our quick guide on how to start your home garden, you’ll find more information about soil types and what you need to start growing.

Frequency of watering

I realize that what I have mentioned above brings to your mind the question, when should you water your plants? Well, that varies depending on the species of plants in your garden as well as the soil, the seasons of the year, and the local weather in the area where you are.

However, broadly speaking, you can guide yourself this way:

  • Winter: in this season watering should be more spaced out and almost nonexistent if it rains. You can do it every 20 to 25 days approximately.
  • Spring: alternating watering cycles in March, April and May will be appropriate.
  • Summer: from June to August, watering should be daily, but not excessive. They’ll increase according to the temperature.
  • Autumn: In September, watering will be daily as in June. The following months will have watering twice a week, possibly interrupted in case of rain.

For those areas without seasons, you can guide yourself by the months because there are some in which temperatures can be higher, which implies frequent watering. Then, in others, there are rainy or very cold seasons, therefore watering will be less frequent in these months.

Keep in mind that increasing watering unnecessarily implies: superficial root development, reduced plant growth, general weakness and greater sensitivity to climatic changes.

This is why it’s important that you follow the watering advice and inform yourself about your plants’ watering needs.

If you wonder at what time you can water your plants, let me tell you that the recommended time is first in the morning. The reason is that plants also use sunlight to perform photosynthesis, in which they take the water they need and evaporate the excess.

If you water your plants in the afternoon or at night, the water can remain for a long time in the substrate drowning the roots and is therefore not used as it should be. Be sure to water your plants at the right time and avoid splashing the leaves, as water droplets can create a glass effect and sunlight will burn the leaves.    

Principles to keep in mind before implementing a watering system

Before implementing the irrigation system that best suits your needs, you should follow these principles, apart from the information I have already given you.

Preliminary study

You must be familiar with the terrain where the system will be installed. This includes location, soil type, and drainage. You must also know the type of plants you’ll plant and their location. It’s essential to know the climate of the region as well as the water source you’ll use.

System design and selection

Having this clear, the design of the system begins by thinking about the elements to be used. These can be hoses, sprinklers, pipes, connections, valves, programmers, etc.

Everything will depend on the type of system. The execution and installation of the system are also designed; the connection areas, along with the study of the area in which it will be located, in ditches, for example.

When using pipes, they must be located in such a way that they don’t block the path or interrupt other activities such as lawn mowing. If you use equipment such as pumps, filtration equipment and storage tanks, place them in a location that is easily accessible.

Installation and testing

At this point, you put the construction of your irrigation system into action. This involves the trenching process, and the placement of water and electrical connections, if and when required.

Before finalizing the installation, you must make the pertinent tests to avoid missing details that need to be adjusted. Once this is done, you proceed with the programming of the system.

Types of irrigation

Now that you know what to consider before choosing an irrigation system for your garden I’ll tell you about the existing types of systems that can be used for your crops.

Sprinkler irrigation

This irrigation system involves applying water under pressure to the crop, especially outdoors, and delivering it in form of rain which is able to cover the planted area.

You must use a system of pipes that conduct the water and sprinklers that distribute it to the planting. It could be a bit expensive in case you plan to use it in a larger space than your home garden.

The sprinkler used for this type of irrigation is a rotating turbine sprinkler since it’s capable of covering medium to large areas, 6 to 15 m approximately. These sprinklers can be emergent, that is to say, they’re lifted from the ground, and mobile or aerial, which are connected to a hose to receive water and rotate.

Taken from Pinterest

Broadcast irrigation

It has the same functionality as the sprinkler system, the difference is that this one focuses on smaller gardens. It reaches distances of approximately 1 to 7 m and can be used in community gardens as well.

The most common sprinkler type used for these small gardens is the stationary sprinkler, as they’re easy to operate and have a screw on the surface to adjust the distance the water can reach.

You can also find pop-up or overhead sprinklers with a regulating mechanism to control the water pressure so that it’s evenly applied in each sprinkler in your garden.

Taken from Pinterest

Drip irrigation

This is a targeted irrigation method, ideal for trees, shrubs, pots, hedges, and others. With this method, water and nutrients are delivered directly to the plant in a controlled manner to optimize results and reduce water consumption.

This system uses pumping equipment to supply adequate water pressure, pipes that transport the water and drippers that distribute the water to the plants drop by drop. The water supply is programmed in the pumping equipment so that it’s only dispensed when needed.

By using this system, your crop can develop in optimal conditions, thus guaranteeing its quality. You can contribute to water resource conservation, which in some places is very scarce. It will be very useful in case you don’t have enough time to water your plants or you are going to be away for a short time.

The piping is not normally underground and can be located near the plants and trees to form, in the latter, a circumference around the trunk, using additional sprinklers or drippers, around 4 or 6. These should be spaced at a distance of 1 to 3 meters from each other.

Some pipes already have integrated drippers. These will be very useful if your crops are grown in rows, such as hedges. They have a separation of 30 cm between each dripper and guarantee the same amount of water at any point of the pipe.

Taken from Pinterest

Subway irrigation

This is an irrigation system where pipes are similar in operation to those used for drip irrigation but are buried from 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft). They’re used largely for plants that need porous or clay soils. For in this way. the water is filtered in a specific area and maintains the necessary and adequate moisture for the plant’s roots.

Burying the pipes used for this type of irrigation ensures that they’re not damaged by sunlight. In addition, they don’t interfere with other activities in the area since they don’t obstruct the passage.

This system allows the application of water and nutrients directly to the plant roots. It reduces the surface wet area, which prevents irrigation water from evaporating unnecessarily. It also reduces the appearance of weeds, pests and diseases in the crop.  

Besides, the drippers should be located at shorter distances from each other. It’s also important that they’re designed to prevent the entry of particles that could block the water outlet. And in the event of dirt entering, they must be able to self-clean.

Taken from Pinterest

Immersion or flood irrigation

This type of irrigation is recommended for plants that don’t withstand moisture in their leaves and the rest of it other than roots. For this method, you must submerge the pots with the plants 2 to 4 cm from the base in a container with water.

The time that the plant should be submerged should not exceed 30 minutes. To find out if the substrate is well soaked, you can take a bamboo stick and poke it into the substrate up to the bottom of the pot. You leave it there for a few minutes and gently pull it out.

You’ll know that the substrate was well-hydrated if the stick comes out with soil sticking to it. Once the immersion time has passed, you should take the plant out of the container and let the excess drain for about 15 minutes.  

As you can see, this is one of the simplest methods to water your plants, however, it doesn’t work with all of them. Therefore, you should be informed about the watering requirements of the plant you wish.

Taken from Pinterest

Hose watering or watering can

This is the most common method for watering plants in the garden. With the watering can water very small areas or plants in pots inside your house. You also have the option of controlling your crop manually and participating more actively. Moreover, you don’t need to waste water because using a watering can you check the amount of water needed for each pot.

On the other hand, with the use of a hose, you can water very large sections of your garden, such as trees, and in a shorter time. However, you run the risk of uneven watering and you can also waste unmeasurable amounts of water.

If the hose pressure is too strong, you run the risk of hitting plant stems and leaves, which can be harmful to the plants. And even if it takes less time to water 1 plant, you have to go back and forth with the hose obstructing the path.  

Taken from Pinterest
So, now that you know about the types of irrigation that you can use in your garden, do you dare to try the one that best suits your needs and the needs of your plants? Don't waste any more time and try something new, besides you help to preserve the water resource that is so important for all.