Dragging the hose around ... solved!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Now, I don't drag.

Even in a small yard, I hated dragging a hose around the yrad.
Hose spigots seemed to be located in the LEAST convenient places possible.
And the flimsy hose kept kinking.
And pots on my deck would be overturned.
And low-hanging branches of bushes would get tangled and mangled.
Narrow paths became tripping obstacle courses.
It made hand-watering a pain instead of a pleasure.

Then I put in some lengths of 3/4 black polyethylene "mainline" irrigation tubing. I thought that dripline and jet sprayers and timers would be the answer to my hose-dragging.

Well, my favorite feature so far of having 3/4" mainline aorund the yard is that I can add garden hose thread fittings (usually male threads) and attach a SHORT length of garden hose anywhere in my yard I darn well please.

No more dragging. The 4-5 hose ends all stay where I want them. I just lean over, pick up the spray head or water breaker and hand-water each bed from the most convenient spot possible.

Meanwhile, jets spray, spinners sprinkle, and dripline drips, but I don't know if I'll ever b other automating all of it. Now that I don't drag, watering is fun again.

I bought some hose-repair fittings and cut up a 100-foot hose into several short pieces. Happy-happy!

Realistically, 1/2" mainline would probably have been plenty big for my small yard.
But I found that "Steubers Distributing" sells 3/4" for just a little more than 1/2" (like $17 or $20 per 100 feet).

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Anywhere along a run of irrigation mainline, I splice in a Tee with a male hose thread.

And I terminate any line with a male hose end - then I either cap that off or attach a short length of garden hose with a fitting that shuts off.

Best of all is attaching a hose "Y" with two valves to the male hose threads. DripWorks sells plastic ones for $2.

Now each hose outlet has TWO valves, that can either shut-off or throttle flow to any bed, or to and sprinkler or hose wand or whatever.

I can run a valved 1/2" mainline branch to a bed, PLUS a hose at any point.
And I can rearrange my mianlines and hoses any time I get the urge. And it should make put-away in fall easy.

I know that I like gadgets, but these seem really handy.

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Rick, could you post photos should you have any, please. I'd like to see how your connections are done: "I can add garden hose thread fittings (usually male threads) and attach a SHORT length of garden hose anywhere in my yard" .
I have 3/4" black vinyl tubing with 1/4" rubber tubing connecting the 'mini' sprayers.
I tried soaker hoses, but they proved to be disasterous! Perhaps I should say the water bill was Disasterous!
To top it off, I've yet to find a reliable garden timer!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I'll try to find time to take some pics and download them.

Maybe the soaker hoses (or dripline, or drip tape) would be more economical if the hoses are laid UNDER lots of mulch or plastic film. Then run barely enough water to be sufficient. I've read that dripline is the most economical way to apply water, becuase hardly any evaporates or goes anywhere other than right where you lay the hose.

>> To top it off, I've yet to find a reliable garden timer!

Oh, THAT'S why I see some sold for over $100! Hardwaired to house current and waterproofed so well they hardly ever burn a house down. I bought a $15 wind-up timer with no batteries, but also not automatic. Found it at Dripworks.
Gilmore 9301 Single-Dial Windup Timer 120 mins 480 GPH @ 50 psi

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Thanks Rick.
Its terribly hot here; the vegetation suffers during the summer heat without regular watering.
Both soaker hoses I bought from HD had 'erratic' holes. I sunk them in the soil but found some holes were so large, the gushing water jetted out of the hose displacing the soil to make a 'furrow'. I cut them up in disgust! I'm back to the original Mr. Landscaper method using mini sprayers. At least I know they are reliable.....that is, when the timer works!
At HD I noticed they had 'flat' soaker hoses as well: side-up= spray; side-down: soaker. Maybe their manufacturing is of a better quality!
Yes, I saw the windup timers - ideal except when one goes away for a while!
Ideally, I should put in a sprinkling system but even with that, the electricity is sometimes a wee bit unreliable! Perhaps if the city spent some money to sink the electric lines here rather than having them strung up where all the palms, mango trees, ficus, jacaranda, poinciana etc etc trees rock back and forth in our high winds, never mind the hurricane winds.............we'd be better off with reliable electricity!!!!!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Since I started paying attention to the quality of bark mulch, my opinion of HD quality in the Garden department has gon e downhill. Lowes, I still respect.

You might consider trying the 1/4" "dripline" or "drip tape" options. Those have built-in "emitters" (flow-controlled drippers)., every 6", 9" or 12". Said to be resitant to clogging and somewhat constant-flow despite pressure variation. But the tape (I think) requires very low pressure (I think).

>> I'm back to the original Mr. Landscaper method using mini sprayers. At least I know they are reliable...that is, when the timer works!

I agree about reliable timers when you are away. I was also afraid about fittings poppi9ng off the tubing, but now I think y7ou just have to regulate your pressure and not rely on threads in 1/4" vinyl (soft) to do the job of barbs in PE tubing, or Rigid Riser.

One nice thign about sprayers: you can see and hear them. I can tell from a distance if they are still spraying.

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Yes, I agree, having used the 1/4" sprayers for years with great success though I've not dried the dripper system. Cyprus mulch is sold by HD which I use en masse! I've found when the rubber tubing (not vinyl tubing which becomes brittle due to the intense uva here) stretches at the connection, the fittings invariably pop off. I just cut the connecting end of the rubber tubing off with a blade and reconnect - problem solved for months! Bought another timer. Really, time for an solar powered sprinkler system......if there is one on the market!!!! :)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)


Here are some photos of the Tee fittings with Male hose threads.

First, a plain 3/4 compression Tee.
Then, a Tee with one CAPPED male hose thread.
Then, two shots of a 3/4" mainline with a brass Y-with-valves.

On the brass Y, I have one short length of garden hose plus a run of 1/2" mainline attached using a DripWorks "EZ-Loc" fitting. You can se where I cut my long old garden hose short and added a 5/8" brass female hose end with a steel hose clamp. That fitting was expensive, but it fit right, unlike cheap nylon fittings that look like their screw-threads will strip the nylon if you tighten them.

I have become a big fan of the "EZ-Loc" DripWorks fittings after blistering my palms and cursing as I forced 3/4" compression fittings onto the black polyethylene mainlines. (It DOES help to dip the tubing ends into very hot water first, but DON'T dip it too deep or the mainline kinks and bends instead of being forced into the fitting. I use a Mr. Coffee maker to heat the water and keep it hot. Then I carry the hot pot out to my yard and attach fittings until my arms get tired, which is only one or two fittings!

On the other hand, 1/4" black polyethylene mini-tubing is easier to force over 1/4" barb fittings if I dip just the tips into hot water first, then force them over a gradually tapering, polished steel spike. That expands the 1/4" tube. I think it shrinks back down to grip the barb firmly enough, but even so I now regulate my water pressure down to 20 or 30 PSI instead of using the 45 PSI line pressure and seeing the occasional fountain.

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Here's a few other shots.

3/4" mainline end with single hose fitting

Mainline end with Y but only one hose in use. In effect, this is just a way to add a valve where my irrigation system has a hose attached. I could "Y off" two 1/2" mainlines here instead, each with a valve.

A 1/4" barb coming off 3/4" mainline. Black polyethylene micro-tubing is Tee-ed to two 1/4" vinyl micro-tubes.

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Rick: I'm confused -- on the DripWorks website: (1) which couplers are intended to attach to 3/4" tubing and allow screwing on a conventional garden hose, and (2) which couplers are intended to attach to 3/4" tubing and allow screwing on another length of 3/4" tubing? I don't follow the catalog descriptions.

Or, put differently, can you give me links so that I can purchase (a) the "Y" you attach to your 3/4" tubing (is it a conventional "Y" that you would use to connect garden hoses, or is it specialized for the 3/4" tubing?), (b) the connector you attach to one prong of the "Y" to attach a hose (if any), and (c) the connector you attach to the other prong of the "Y" to attach it to more 3/4" tubing?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

There are "Compression" fittings and "EZ-Loc" fittings that attach to 3/4" PE mainline. I used to prefer the compression fittings because they went around the outside of the 3/4" tubing, and never restrict water flow.

Now I prefer the "EZ-Loc" fittings because they are so much easier to put on and take off.

I use both "Tees" and end fittings to go from 3/4" mainline to garden hoses. Here are the EZ-Loc versions of each:


hose thread end fittings let you easily add on or swap around:
3/4 - to - female hose thread: ELFH34

3/4 to male hose thread: ELMH34

A "Tee" puts a hose thread in the middle of a 3/4 run: two 3/4" EZ-Locs plus one hose thread: ELMT34

Thirty-cent male hose thread end cap to protect the threads and prevent leaks: HCAP

- - - - -
I use the hose-thread-Tee to attach a Y-with-valves".
The only "Y"s with valves that I buy have three hose fittings (one female and two male). Those can only screw onto garden hose threads, not directly to 3/4" mainline.

I suggest buying zinc or brass "Y"s with two valves from HD or Lowes or Walmart, because the metal valves are easier to use. But DW sells plastic Ys for cheap - $2: HYV
or Brass for $8.50: HYV
Again: WalMart is cheaper.

If you need "HIGH FLOW", there are more expensive Ys that pass more GPH.

This message was edited Aug 12, 2013 11:12 AM

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Thank you very much indeed!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

If you are concerned to keep your 3/4" mainline as high-flow as possible, you might want to use "Compression" Tees to add hose threads for branches.

The "Compression" fitting slips over the outside end of the 3/4" tube, so there is no restriction of the flow except for a little turbulence.

3/4" Compression Female Hose Beginning - CHS34

Compression 3/4" Male Hose End Cap - CETC34

3/4" Compression Male Hose Tee
The 3/4"Compression Male Hose Tee (CMT34) is a compression tee fitting with a male hose end coming off of one side of the tee.

(The branch that goes through the hose thread would have some restriction. So if you need to branch a high-flow 3/4" mainline into two high-flow 3/4" mainlines, you could use a Compression Tee that has no hose thread - it is for 3/4 - to - 3/4 only.))

Hope these help!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

It helps a ton. I focused this weekend on getting a rational distribution of regular hoses, because I decided that was part of what was holding me back from doing an automated system -- I know that sounds backwards, but so be it.

Now I'm trying to figure out what the parts are that I will ultimately need, so that (for example) even if I don't get a valve or timer now, I get parts that will work properly with the size valve or timer I think I will get. I've been down this road before -- I some point I get overwhelmed with too much information.

Your information is extremely helpful!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I think I'll use 3/4" tubing. I'm only going to run drippers, but I want to have as few zones as possible so I think that means I need to maximize the water flow - so maybe I do need the compression fixtures. I know what the gallons per hour is on my system, but I determined that by measuring the water flow out of the spigot. Maybe that measure is not relevant. Do I need to re-measure once I've added the 3/4" tubing, measuring the water flow out of the 3/4" tubing? Or do I need to go one step further and measure after I've added any EZ-Loc fixtures since that will further reduce the flow? I need to know the GPH to know how many emitters I can have on each line, yes?

I have another question. Much of my yard is on hills. If I use drip tape, I think I'm going to make a mess of it as I walk up and down the hills weeding, planting, mulching, etc. How do you keep from destroying the tubing/tape when you walk in your yard, especially if it is under mulch? Though I would think it probably is a non-issue if your yard is flat. On my hills I tend to slip and slide a bit.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I'm glad it helps! Usually my verbose suggestions CAUSE this reaction:

>> I get overwhelmed with too much information.

Perfect idea to buy stuff that will fit into a later, expanded scheme. It lets you start small without waste. Trying a few things on a limited scale will show you what you want the final arrangement to be.

For example, sprayers or spinners might work fine for you. One downside of dripline and Tee Tape is that you have to remove them to till. Winter freezes dictate pretty thorough flushing, but maybe that is less of a problem with tape than dripline.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Rick -- you are not verbose at all. What I have trouble with is the Dripworks site -- and other irrigation sites. They provide a plethora of information, but it is hard to ferret out answers to the very basic questions I have.

I don't till - I have bought into the notion that you do better to not till, because tilling brings up weed seeds -- best to dump a lot of mulch/compost on top each year and let it break down. At least, that's my present stance. But I do walk around a lot....

Question about sprayers: It sounds as if the biggest only sprays a 4' diameter half-circle or thereabouts. Doesn't that mean I have to put the tape no more than 4' apart? And since my soil is clay, I would put drip irrigation tubing 2-3 feet apart. So I don't see that using the sprayers reduced by very much the amount of tubing I need to lay.

You wrote: "Winter freezes dictate pretty thorough flushing, but maybe that is less of a problem with tape than dripline." What does "flushing" amount to? Opening the end of each line and running water through? Ugh -- that could be a massive amount of work.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Sorry, I should not have said "flushing".

I meant draining out all the water so it didn't freeze in the wrong places and make something bulge or split. It might not be a big deal, but if you have a low spot, water would drain to that spot and stay there.

But maybe dripline is self-venting, and water would eventually drain out the emitter slits!

I just made sure that none of my rigid fittings were in low spots, and made sure to drain most of the water out of everything else. I think the paranoid thing to do is blow compressed air, or vacuum-cleaner exhaust through the pipes.

But draining everything to a low spot should be plenty.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Question about sprayers: It sounds as if the biggest only sprays a 4' diameter half-circle or thereabouts. Doesn't that mean I have to put the tape no more than 4' apart?

The sprayers (not spinners) can be had in a wide variety of spray diameters and flow rates. I don't think Dripworks has a very wide selection of those, compared to the whole industry.

I was picturing a 1/2" or 3/4" mainline going between each pair of plots, trailing 1-4 1/4" tubes going 7-21 feet into each plot. One sprayer or spinner on each 1/4" tube.

Or the mainline could go down the center of each plot, and the 1/4" tubes would only be around 7-9 feet long each.

Check out Antelco sprayers (the "USA" catalog is helpful if you prefer PSI and GPH to metric). I see "Frame Jets" that go up to 25' or even 34' diameters. page 2-4.

Check pages 2-5, 2-6 and 2-7 for "Micro Spray Jets" that have separate cap plus base. I think some of those are sold in my Home Depot.

They have spray-area diameters from 10' to 40' (note that some go into "mist" above some pressures and that reduces their range and makes them prone to having mist blow away.

Antelco "Single Piece Jets" have the reduced range that you described - I think that's mostly what DW has for sprayers.

"Spinners" throw even more gallons per hour, and cover wide areas, with big droplets instead of a fine spray. I think you want the small ones, "Rotor-Spray Mini-Sprinklers". Pages 3-0 and 3-1 Flow rates from 10 GPH to 48 GPH. Diameters from 10 feet to 31 feet.

One of those big sprayers (Orange or Gray) would cover a whole 28'x28' plot. 27-48 GPH would use all the water a 1/4" tube could carry, and probably drop the pressure on the way to the spinner!

Or four Blues or Greens would cover one plot, and you could put one or two Blues on one 1/4" tube.

I was able to buy "one each" of several sizes of "Rotor-Spray Mini-Sprinklers" from my Local Steubers Distributing, for $1 each. But even the smallest covered too wide an area for me and threw water too fast. I tried throttling it, but that was only so-so.

Or, for people leaning toward large areas, big pipes and 1/2" pipe thread instead of 1/4" spaghetti tubing, Antelco has "Rotor Rain Mini Sprinklers" throwing 20-105 GPH over a diameter of 26 to 42 feet.

"Rotor Max Midi Sprinklers" might not make crop circles visible from orbit, but they are far out of my league! (Actually, I see the diameter only goes up to 46 feet, but the flow rate goes up to 4.2 GPM (252 GPH).

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

However, "they" all say that dripline and T Tape is more practical for large areas (I'm not sure why). Less water waste? More even coverage?

Too bad this forum didn't attract more experienced people who are also talkative.

P.S. Link to the Antelco catalog:

You can get just the catalog pages you wnat by finding the the specific category and then clicking on "Technical Information". Unfortunately, "More Info" doesn't have much more than photos.



Then find people who will sell small numbers of each piece. If you can't find the spinners (also called "sprinklers"), I could send you a few of the larger sizes for testing.

It's a long drive to Steubers, and I can only get there Saturday before Noon. In winter, it's easier to find time to go there.

These guys (Sprinkler warehouse) sell the less-desirable Antelco single-piece sprayers, plus something from DIG that looks a lot like Antelco "Micro Spray Jets: Caps and Bases".

I should research DIG next!


Naah, their sprayers only cover at most a 12' diameter, and they offer very few spray options - like "14 GPH - that's all". Everything "professional" is dripline.

This message was edited Aug 12, 2013 4:42 PM

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Again and again, thank you so much! For now, I think I am going to set up a 3/4" tube around the perimeter of the property and then work on the spots on my yard that are hardest to water. It isn't a big yard (1/2 an acre), but it is a bit on the long side, and very hilly (that should make it easy to drain at the end of the season!). Then if that goes well, I'll expand. So my first task is to find a cheap source for reliable 3/4" tubing, filter, pressure regulator, and maybe timer. I can get a valve later. Then I'll try a variety of products shooting off from the 3/4" tubing. I still can't get over how much 3/4" tubing I'm going to need if I need a "home" run for each zone.

Are the various companies' products interchangeable? It sounds as if you have tried out a number of different items.

I didn't realize there was such a range of sprayers -- I thought DripWorks would have all the basics. So thanks for clarifying. Though I suppose using a sprayer undercuts the environmentally-friendly reasons to use drip irrigation.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I still can't get over how much 3/4" tubing I'm going to need if I need a "home" run for each zone.

I pictured a 1/2" line from each zone to whatever spot on the mainline was closest. But then you would need one timer for each zone NEAR that zone, and keep, the 3/4" mainline pressured all the time.

1/2" tubing could handle 1-2 plots (28x28'). You can Tee off the 3/4" mainline down to 1/2", and 1/2" tubing should be slightly cheaper.

Either use a Tee with a female hose thread (ELFT34), to a 1/2" line with male hose thread end, or a reducing Tee.
3/4" Easy Loc Female Hose Tee ELFT34
3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2" Easy Loc Reducing Tee
Item #: ELRT

>> Are the various companies' products interchangeable? It sounds as if you have tried out a number of different items.

I didn't have a problem with two different vendors off fittings and 3/4" mainline. But I may have gotten lucky with the compression fittings, they probably need a CLOSE fit. The EZ-Loc fittings might have more leeway. "Everyone" suggests buying fittings and tubing from the same vendor. Or testing them in the store!

Let's see how readable this comes out, with no tabs.
I only have exact sizes for one vendor of 3/4" & 1/2".

These are the sizes in decimal inches, to a thousandth, from several vendors of 1/4' tubing. But a "1/4 inch barb" fits any of those, it's just really hard to force one into rigid Riser.

" Mainline 0.940" OD 0.830 ID 0.055 wall

" Mainline 0.700 OD 0.600 ID 0.050 wall

" Rigid Riser PE DIG 0.300 OD 0.160 ID 0.0?? wall
" Micro Tubing PE - 0.250 OD 0.170 ID 0.040 wall
" Micro Tubing Vinyl 0.220 OD 0.160 ID 0.030 wall
⅛" PE tubing 0.187 OD 0.125 ID 0.031 wall

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Ah -- I see. I wonder why they don't standardize the size of the mainline. Do you think the thicker walls last longer?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Do you think the thicker walls last longer?

My guess is that's negligible compared to how UV-resistant the plastic is, how much sun you have, whether you bury the hoses in mulch where the sun is brutal , freeze-thaw cycles and how well you drain them ...

And those factors pale behind hitting them with a mower, tiller, shovel or fork. Or thisty animals chewing them.

Probably thicker walls give mainline more pressure tolerance, but the fittings would probably blow before the tubing. And before we reach sprayers and 1/4" barbs, we are supposed to regulate the pressure below 30 PSI anyway.

Thick 1/4" tube ("Rigid Riser") will hold 10/32 threads, whereas thinwall 1/4" tube won't hold those threads, or at least, not at 45 PSI! Also, "Rigid Riser" is stiff enoguh that it will stand up 6" or more above a stake, unsupported, to give you more height.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> For now, I think I am going to set up a 3/4" tube around the perimeter of the property and then work on the spots on my yard that are hardest to water.

Running around the property boundary is the best way to avoid mowing the mainline when you forget where it is.

But if you ran it in a circle 30 feet INSIDE the perimeter, your branch lines might all be 15 feet long (left and right) instead of some being 15 feet right, and others being 45 feet right.

Like running the mainline through the middle of a really big bed instead of along one edge: the average length of the branches might be reduced by 50%.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

You are completely right and I hadn't thought about that -- I'll mull that over -- but there isn't a natural place to run it, and it'd end up crossing over some paths that I otherwise could avoid. We have some soaker hoses that are constantly getting holes cut into them, so that is clearly a concern to take seriously!.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

How I never came across this posting before.

Wonderful of you to share your experience and knowledge with the rest of us.

THANK U!!!!!!!


Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I agree -- Rick is really my hero as I stumble through this!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)


Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Maybe, but if flattery will get us anywhere, we're game!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I'll keep offering opinions, but if anyone professional, or with lots of experience ever chimes in, we should all listen to him or her!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I appreciate that, and agree that it would be lovely to have a professional weigh in, but that being said, in my opinion someone who has tried these products in less than laboratory conditions and ISN'T a professional can actually have more useful things to say about practical issues.

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