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Drip Irrigation Design and Installation Guide - Micro Drip Irrigation System Design (Part 1)


Everything you need to know about Drip Irrigation Systems


Advantages & Benefits of Drip Irrigation Systems

In this time of water and resource conservation, a home drip irrigation system makes sense. A home drip irrigation system is generally less expensive to install than conventional subsurface PVC irrigation systems and drip irrigation uses much less water.

Water Conservation - Drip irrigation systems allow you an efficient irrigation system design by supplying water where it is needed - at the very roots of the plants. As a result, water is not wasted on leaves or soil. A drip irrigation system is designed to significantly reduce the chances for evaporation and run off. Both are common with traditional irrigation systems where the water is often supplied at a rate greater than the soil can absorb it.

Reduce Weed Growth - When water is applied using a conventional sprinkler irrigation system design, everything gets wet. Since a home drip irrigation system applies water to the root zone of your plants, the spaces in between plants remain dry. This greatly inhibits weed seed germination. If the soil remains dry, most seeds will not germinate. Landscape maintenance takes less time with a home drip irrigation system.

Reduce Plant Stress - When plants get deep, consistent watering, they thrive. Inefficient, shallow watering can contribute to plant stress. Promote healthy growth and disease resistance plants in your home garden with a drip irrigation system.


Extremely Flexible Application - You have many drip irrigation installation options with drip irrigation tubing, fittings, and emitters. Drip irrigation is a versatile watering system designed to be easily installed on hillsides or flat terrains. A drip irrigation system is the perfect irrigation system for oddly shaped landscapes and windy areas. Existing sprinkler systems can be retrofit with drip irrigation with very little effort.


Save Money - Once a drip irrigation system is installed, you will use less water to irrigate. If your home is on a well, you will notice a severe drop in your pumping costs. With the drip irrigation system, you will no longer need to hand water your garden. Automate your home drip irrigation system with an irrigation controllerand eliminate the need to pay someone to water your landscape while you are on vacation. With the reduction of plant disease and unwanted weeds, your gardening labor and maintenance costs will also drop considerably.

landscape-photo-of-red-berries-on-tree

Connecting to the Water Source

Connect to a hose bibb (faucet) or tie-in directly to the water supply with an electric solenoid valve. Click the Parts List for detailed information on products used in this tutorial.

Hose Bibb Connection with Battery Timer


Hose Bibb (Faucet)


Y- Ball Valve - This 2-outlet ball valve allows for connection of garden hose and drip system from the same hose bibb, faucet, spigot, or hydrant.


Hose End Digital Timer- A timer is optional. You may operate your system manually with the Y Ball Valve above.

Hose Vacuum Breaker - Prevents water from flowing back from your drip irrigation system into your household water.


Hose Inline Filter 120 mesh screen. Drip emitters are less likely to clog if you install proper filtration. If you prefer a Y Filter, use a Y Filter with hose threads. See photo below.


Preset Pressure Regulator - 20 psi or 30 psi recommended. Learn how to choose a drip regulator.

Swivel Hose Adapter - Connects to 1/2" drip mainline (size 700) with a compression fitting. For 1/4" tubing use a swivel adapter with a 1/4" barb. 1/2" Drip Tubing

Hose Bibb Connection with Y Filter (hose thread)

Hose Bibb (Faucet)

Hose End Digital Timer - A timer is optional. You may operate your system manually with the Y Ball Valve above.

Hose Vacuum Breaker - Prevents water from flowing back from your drip irrigation system into your household water.

Y Filter (hose threads). 150 mesh screen. Drip emitters are less likely to clog if you install proper filtration

Preset Pressure Regulator - 20 psi or 30 psi recommended. Learn how to choose a drip regulator.

Swivel Hose Adapter - Connects to 1/2" drip mainline (size 700) with a compression fitting. For 1/4" tubing use a swivel adapter with a 1/4" barb.

1/2" Drip Tubing

Electric Solenoid Valve Connection


Electric Solenoid Valve. Receives 24VAC signal from automatic Irrigation Controller.


Y Filter with 150 mesh stainless steel screen. Drip emitters are less likely to clog if you install proper filtration.

Drip Pressure Regulator (female pipe thread x male pipe thread)

To connect drip tubing to a pipe-thread regulator, use a swivel adapter with pipe threads (not shown)

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Installing Drip Irrigation Tubing & Fittings

1/2" Solid Drip Irrigation Tubing (main line) & Compression Fittings

100 ft roll of 1/2

The most common size of main line drip irrigation tubing is "700" - .700" O.D. (Outer Diameter) x .600" I.D. (Inner Diameter). It is often called simply "1/2 inch drip

tubing". That said, not all 1/2" drip irrigation tubing is the same size. Confused? Read more about drip irrigation tubing sizes in our tutorial called "What size is my drip tubing?". The drip irrigation tubing is the main feeder line for your drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation tubing is used to create manifolds and branch lines. The maximum distance that you can run drip irrigation tubing will vary with the number of drip emitters you install and the spacing between emitters, but here are two conservative design guidelines:

Maximum Run per circuit: 200 ft

Maximum Flow Capacity: 220 gph

Our Drip Tubing Maximum Run Chart (PDF) will help you compare different drip irrigation design scenarios. The drip irrigation tubing maximum run will increase if you use low-output emitters (1/2 gallon-per-hour). Increasing pressure regulator size from a 20 psi regulator to a 30 psi regulator will also extend the distance that you can run drip irrigation main line.

We carry the following sizes of 700 drip tubing:

1/2" Drip Tubing (700) 100 ft

1/2" Drip Tubing (700) 500 ft

Install drip tubing with compression fittings. The tubing is inserted into the fitting and requires no glue.

Use clippers to cut 1/2" tubing.

Installing a compression elbow

Installing a compression tee

Installing a compression coupler

Installing a compression end cap (threaded)

Drip main line tubing with compression coupler and threaded end cap

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Installing a figure 8 end plug

Step One - slip figure 8 over tubingStep Two - crimp tubing

Step Three - slip tubing through other end of figure 8Completed Figure 8 Installation

Installing a goof plug.Also, called a "mistake plug", it is great for plugging small holes in drip mainline tubing. If you need to move an emitter or a 1/4" barbed fitting, just pull it out and replace it with a goof plug.

Goof Plug inserts into hole in mainline tubingGoof Plug installed in mainline drip tubing

A 1/2" Flow Control Valve allows you to reduce the flow to a drip main line shut it off completely.

Flow Control Valve - open positionFlow Control Valve - closed position

Connecting different sizes of drip tubing.

Use adapter compression fittings to join drip mainline tubing of different sizes. Note that colored compression rings correspond to tubing size. For more information on tubing sizes, read "What size is my drip tubing?".


700 (black rings) x 710 (blue rings) -DD-CCA700-710

Compression adapter for 700 x 710 drip tubingCompression adapter with 700 & 710 drip tubing installed

700 (black rings) x 620 Raindrip (green rings) - DD-CCA700-620

Compression adapter for 700 x 620 drip tubingCompression adapter with 700 & 620 drip tubing installed

700 (black rings) x 580 (yellow rings) -DD-CCA700-580

Compression adapter for 700 x 580 drip tubingCompression adapter with 700 & 580 drip tubing installed

700 (black rings) x 455 (red rings) - DD-CCA700-455

Compression adapter for 700 x 455 drip tubingCompression adapter with 700 & 455 drip tubing installed

Build your own compression fittings

You can easily convert a 1/2" slip PVC fitting to a compression fitting.

Adapter compression ring for size 710 drip tubing Adapter compression ring for size 700 drip tubing Adapter compression ring for size 620 Raindrip tubing Adapter compression ring for size 580 drip tubing Adapter compression ring for size 455 drip tubing

Apply PVC glue to 1/2" slip fitting

Gluing a PVC fitting for compression ring

Apply glue to compression ring

Gluing a compression ring for insertion into PVC fitting

Insert compression ring into PVC fitting

Inserting a compression ring into a PVC fitting

Finished compression ring installation

Compression fitting installed in a PVC tee

1/4" Drip Micro Irrigation Tubing & Barbed Fittings

Also called "distribution tubing" or "spaghetti tubing", the most common size is .250" O.D. (Outer Diameter) x .170" I.D. (Inner100 foot roll of 1/4Diameter) . This micro irrigation tubing is available in Polyethylene (PE) "Poly" or Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) "Vinyl".1/4" Vinyl Tubing is heavier than 1/4" Poly Tubing. Vinyl tubing more flexible and easier to work with, but is also more expensive.

This drip micro irrigation tubing is most often designed to branch off from main line drip irrigation tubing to individual plants. Drip emitters are attached to the ends of 1/4" drip micro irrigation tubing and staked next to plants. Check out this basic installation tutorial to learn aboutchoosing the best drip irrigation emitter.

1/4" drip micro irrigation tubing does not have the same water carrying capacity as 1/2" drip irrigation tubing. Keep the following restrictions in mind when using 1/4" drip micro irrigation tubing:

Maximum Run per branch: 50 ft

Maximum Flow Rate: 30 gph

We carry the following sizes of 1/4" drip tubing:

1/4" Drip Tubing (250) Poly - 100 ft

1/4" Drip Tubing (250) Poly - 1000 ft

1/4" Drip Tubing (250) Vinyl - 100 ft

1/4" Drip Tubing (250) Vinyl - 1000 ft

Install 1/4" drip tubing with barbed fittings. The barbs are is inserted into the tubing and require no glue.

Use scissors to cut 1/4" solid micro tubing.

Cutting 1/4

Our Deluxe Hole Punch cuts a clean hole in main line drip tubing. 1/4" barbed fittings are inserted into the hole.

Removing Hole Punch

Insertingbarbed coupling into main line Barbed coupling with micro tubing

Barbed coupling attached to 1/4" micro tubing

Attaching 1/4" tubing to 1/4"barbed tee 1/4" tubing attached to barbed tee

Insertingbarbed tee into main line tubing Barbed tee attached to 1/2" main line

Inserting barbed elbow into 1/4" drip micro tubing

Inserting barbed elbow into drip main line

A barbed cross connects 4 lengths of 1/4" drip micro tubing

To cap off 1/4" drip micro tubing, install a goof plug.

Abug plugwill keep insects from crawling into 1/4" drip micro tubing while water flows freely.

A 1/4" Flow Control Valve allows you to reduce the flow to a drip line shut it off completely.



The 1/4" Flow Control Valve can also be attached directly to drip mainline tubing .

- Part 2 -

- Part 3 -


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SPRINKLER SYSTEM INFORMATION

Sprinkler irrigation systems are commonly used in lawn irrigation systems and other planted areas where a spray or mist is desirable. For plants that require uniform coverage of water (grass, ground cover, seeds) a sprinkler irrigation system is appropriate.

If you are installing lawn sprinkler irrigation systems, Irrigation Direct carries a variety of supplies and parts like an adjustable nozzles for Rain Bird sprinkler heads. Our shrub adapters are perfect for garden sprinklers and shrub zones.

Combine pop-ups and rotors with electronic sprinkler controllers (timers), and inline valves to automate your landscape sprinkler irrigation system. Browse our Sprinkler System Supplies and Parts to find sprinkler nozzles, bubblers, swing assemblies, cut-off risers, Marlex 90s, and more.

DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM INFORMATIONz

Drip irrigation is a watering method which delivers water to plants slowly and right where they need it at the roots. Where typical pop-up sprinklers spray water into the air and onto plants, drip irrigation systems combine flexible poly drip tubing and drip emitters or "drippers" to both conserve water and save money.

Drip irrigation systems are not affected by wind and will greatly reduce evaporation and runoff common with traditional irrigation systems. Drip irrigation is the perfect solution for raised vegetable garden beds, hanging baskets, and potted plants.

Learn how to plan, design, and install your own Drip Irrigation System with our FREE online Drip Irrigation Tutorials.

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