Installing Drip Systems

Before you begin, put together a drip system kit. You’ll use it even after the system is installed, to make changes as plants grow, pots are moved, or needs change. A drip system parts and tool kit should contain a knife, a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, and a collection of drip parts. Purchase a tool caddy designed for carrying tools and small parts. Some drip system dealers sell divided trays with handles made for sorting and carrying drip parts.

Because you’ll need extra drip parts, it helps to buy them as you install the system. Unlike installing a sprinkler system, where every sprinkler head and fitting is counted and purchased, drip parts may be bought in bulk, guessing at how many you’ll need, without planning your purchase in detail.

Make a list of the parts you’ll need, and a guess at how many of each, then add a dozen or so emitters, an extra 50 feet of tubing, some goof plugs, and a collection of extra fittings, clamps, stakes, end clamps, and other parts.

The only tools needed for working with tubing and emitters is a special punch for installing emitters in 1/2-inch tubing, a knife or shears for cutting tubing (hand pruners work well), and a pair of pliers. You might also need a screwdriver for screw-in clamps and a hammer for nail-in tubing clamps

If you are looking for a quick, easy, and inexpensive watering system and don’t mind a few pipes in the landscape, follow the recommendations in Surface Installation. If you want the system to be as permanent and integrated into the landscape as most sprinkler systems are, see Subsurface Supply-Line Installation. You can also combine the two, putting parts such as supply lines, underground and others, such as lateral lines, aboveground.