Soaker Hose vs Drip Irrigation


Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation

Maintain a lush garden, lawn, and landscape features with a quality irrigation system. If you're looking for a way to avoid dry grass and stunted garden growth, then compare soaker hose vs. drip irrigation systems with this helpful guide. Prepare to install your own system and keep it safely in place with high-quality landscape stakes.

What Is a Drip Irrigation System?

Drip irrigation is a high-quality system that's often used by commercial growers. This type of system uses polyethylene plastic tubing with evenly spaced emitters to deliver precise amounts of water to different areas of your garden or landscaping.

When you compare soaker hose vs. drip irrigation, drip irrigation can require more components. A properly installed system must have a regulator, backflow valve, and filter.

Types of Drip Irrigation Systems

These irrigation systems come in two basic types:

  1. Dripline
  2. Drip tape

A drip line system uses heavy-duty plastic tubing and emitters. Depending on the system you use, you may need to install emitters at custom intervals or simply roll out the tubing with pre-installed emitters. Choose a drip line if you need a multi-season option that lasts for years to come.

Drip tape is a more affordable alternative but may not last for many years. Flat-style tubing uses a pressure reducer to deliver an appropriate amount of water. This type of irrigation system is typically buried, unlike a surface-installed drip line.

Pros and Cons of Drip Irrigation

Choose a drip system, whether line or tape, to enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Accurate water delivery
  2. Pressure-compensating emitter capabilities
  3. Easy repairs
  4. Timer compatibility
  5. Customizable system

Once installed, this system offers accurate, timed delivery of water to the base of your plants. There are, however, some downsides to choosing this style of water delivery system:

  1. More time to install
  2. Higher costs than most soaker hoses
  3. Risk of clogged emitters
  4. More difficult to install
  5. Requires pressure regulation

What Are Soaker Hoses?

The other popular irrigation option for your home or business location is a soaker hose. Soaker hoses are made of polyethylene and recycled rubber. Instead of relying on separate emitters, the hose itself is porous. Once connected to a hose bib with a backflow device, filter, and optional pressure regulator, your soaker hose system allows water to seep out across the entire surface for deep soaking.

Types of Soaker Hoses

Just like drip systems, there are two basic types of soaker hoses:

  1. Flat hoses
  2. Round hoses

A flat soaker hose has holes along a single side. One laid in place and full of water, these hoses spray water out of the holes like a sprinkler.

Round hoses are porous along their entire length, so water leaches out on all sides. This type of hose doesn't require any special positioning and isn't as easy to become clogged or blocked. Both types are typically held down by soaker hose stakes.

Pros and Cons of Soaker Hoses

Go for a simple yet effective solution with soaker hoses and soaker hose stakes. When you choose this system, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Easy setup
  2. Affordable investment
  3. No need for pressure regulation
  4. Broad watering area
  5. Less risk of clogging

Of course, there are some disadvantages to choosing a soaker hose system. Consider these cons as you compare soaker hose vs. drip irrigation:

  1. Less precise water application
  2. Less installation versatility
  3. No pressure adjustment options
  4. Small coverage radius
  5. Higher risks of sun damage

Which System Is Best?

Both systems have their advantages. They both require backflow valves, filters, and soaker hose stakes to install effectively. Consider the recommended applications of each to see which one is best for your personal situation. 

When To Use a Drip System

A large garden or flower bed with long, uniform rows is an ideal situation for drip irrigation. Plan out your rows to place an emitter at the base of every plant for accurate water delivery. When you install special emitters and a pressure regulator, you can enjoy consistent water coverage on hilly terrain.

The higher upfront investment may hold many homeowners back, but a drip system can last longer and perform better than most drip hose alternatives. Try out this system to see why it's a common solution for commercial use.

When To Use Soaker Hoses

Small, manageable gardens don't need commercial solutions. Both flowerbeds and simple gardens on level ground offer great opportunities to use soaker hoses instead of drip lines.

Choose a soaker hose system for raised beds for an affordable setup. You don't need to worry about emitter placement, pressure regulation, or other complex features. Simply connect a hose, install it with garden stakes, and enjoy easy watering.

What Are 10 Tips for Efficient Irrigation?

As you consider soaker hose vs. drip irrigation for your project, be sure you choose an efficient option for your situation. Here are some irrigation tips to help you cut down on water usage and still enjoy vibrant greenery:

  1. Use a soil probe to measure water penetration.
  2. Be sure the water reaches the bottom of the roots.
  3. Try to water between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.
  4. Avoid damage from excessive heat by running your system for up to 10 minutes daily when temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Monitor your water filter.
  6. Run lines near the roots of each plant.
  7. Use soaker hose stakes to maintain line placement.
  8. Try to keep your lines on flat ground.
  9. Cover drip lines with mulch.
  10. Space lines between 12 and 24 inches apart.

What Are Common Installation Mistakes?

These tips will help you avoid common mistakes when watering your garden or landscaping. Whether you're installing a system yourself or working with a professional team, here are some of the most common mistakes that DIY installers may make:

  1. Not using a pressure regulator:High pressure levels can damage porous soaker hose material and drip line emitters. Some systems come with an installed pressure regulator, while others require a separate purchase.
  2. Installing the wrong system:A soaker hose can encourage weed growth, while a drip line may not provide the consistent water you need. Carefully consider your watering needs before purchasing a system.
  3. Not using landscaping stakes to secure lines or hoses:Lines or hoses without garden landscape stakes won't deliver accurate, consistent water.
  4. Choosing the wrong hose size:Compare the water delivery of 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch soaker hose before selecting the best one for your soil type and plants.

Follow the 10 tips above and the step-by-step guide to irrigation system installation to avoid these common mistakes. From the type of line or hose you choose to the quality of stakes you use to hold down your system, be sure you choose high-quality materials for an effective watering system.

Are Irrigation Systems Worth It?

This watering system can be a convenient, energy-efficient way to water your garden, flower beds, or other landscaping features. Consider these facts as you shop for the right system for your home or commercial application:

  1. A properly installed system can save up to 25,000 gallons of water annually.
  2. Up to 50% of outdoor water use can be conserved with proper installation.
  3. A smart controller can reduce total irrigation water usage by up to 30%.
  4. Irrigated farmland grows over 40% of the world's food supply.
  5. A 5/8-inch soaker hose delivers 1 inch of water across a garden in 200 minutes.
  6. Approximately 50% of water used in irrigation is returned to a stream or groundwater source.
  7. Soaker hoses can cover up to 150 feet before significant water pressure loss.

These systems, both drip lines and soaker hoses, improve the health of your plants. Compared to sprinkler systems and other options, both drip lines and soaker hoses conserve more water. If you don't use a watering system at all, prepare for dry plants, poor crop yield, and increased weed competition.

Should You Install Your Own Irrigation System?

A DIY system is a project that most homeowners are capable of taking on. It doesn't take a lot of tools, expertise, or time to install an efficient irrigation system in a small-to-medium garden or flowerbed.

Start by determining whether a drip line or soaker hose is best for your situation. Consider the evenness of the ground, the type of rows, and your budget to help you make your choice.

Both types need quality stakes to remain in place. Choose stakes that are easy to install, resist corrosion, and won't pull up to let your lines move.

Check your soil type to consider how long you need to run your system. Water penetrates sandy soil quickly but doesn't spread across the surface conveniently. Soil with higher clay content takes longer for water to penetrate, so it's more likely to pool on the surface.

When To Install an Irrigation System

Don't wait until the middle of summer to install an irrigation system. Not only will you have a hot and uncomfortable work environment, but it may be too late to deliver the water your plants need.

The best time to install a system is in the fall or spring. This schedule allows you to install lines exactly where you want them, spread mulch, and let your work area recover before spring. Fall is a time when temperatures are comfortable and you don't have to worry as much about damaging plants in your garden or flower beds.

If you plan to remove the lines every season, early spring is the best time to lay out drip lines or hoses. Removing hoses at the end of every growing season reduces the risk of damage due to freezing temperatures and year-round sun exposure.

Steps To Install an Irrigation System

Start the process of installing a drip irrigation system by determining whether you're going to use a drip line or hose. Use this drip irrigation installation guide to find the proper placement of lines and emitters. Experiment with the placement for accurate water delivery.

If you're installing soaker hoses, space the hoses approximately 24 inches apart on soil with a high clay content, or 12 inches apart on sandy soil. Drip lines should also be spaced between 12 and 24 inches apart, depending on the number of emitters and your soil type.

To install either irrigation system, you'll need the following items:

  • Suitable length of irrigation line
  • Garden stakes, approximately one for every 3 feet of hose
  • Mulch for cover irrigation lines up to 3 inches

How To Choose the Best Irrigation Kit for Beginners

A full irrigation kit can come with all the components you need for an easy installation process. Check out highly rated kits for all the lines, connectors, timers, and backflow prevention items necessary to start your irrigation process.

Few kits come with high-quality garden staples, so consider purchasing these separately. Explore the features of reliable staples today to secure your DIY irrigation kit.

Why Use Garden Staples?

Your carefully laid irrigation lines may swing out of control or become displaced over time. The best landscape staples offer easy installation, durable designs, and a convenient hold.

Place drip line or hose stakes every 3 feet along the length of your hoses. You need to use these stakes to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Accurate irrigation line installation
  • Hose kink prevention
  • Convenient installation and removal
  • Multi-purpose use

You should always use garden staples to hold down your drip hose or irrigation line. Purchase 11-gauge steel staples to offer a durable hold in most soil types. Consider either galvanized or non-galvanized options, depending on your application.

The Many Uses of Irrigation Hose Stakes

Choose commercial-grade stakes with sharp-angled tips for reliable installation. While you're calculating the amount of staples you need, consider picking up extra for other convenient applications:

  • Secure weed fabric
  • Hold down landscape edging
  • Connect wires for dog fences
  • Install holiday decorations

Where Can You Learn More About Irrigation Systems?

Explore other key soaker hose vs. drip irrigation differences today. Once you find the best system for your garden or flower bed, it's time to order soaker hose stakes. Shop for garden landscape stakes today at Marshall's eStore to compare high-quality products that help you secure your irrigation system.

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