How to Maintain Garden Hoses, Sprinklers and Watering Accessories
Here's the dirt on garden hoses, specialized attachments, sprinklers, watering accessories, and how to tame an unruly hose.
The Rubber Edge
One of the reasons hoses get ignored for the heavy duty watering jobs is because some will need replacing quite often as they get holes in them. If you've experienced this, you've got the wrong hose. Plastic hoses break easily. They also tend to get little holes in them if they're kinked and the sun is beating down on them. They won't hold up if you're using them as a primary watering source. Rubber hoses are more flexible. They can bend without breaking. They can also stand up to heat from the sun without wearing down.
The Power of On and Off
When it comes time to put the hose into action, the first thing you need to hook up is an on/off nozzle. This attaches right to the end of the hose and it will stop the flow of water when you're ready to shut it off. It will protect the end of the hose, which can get damaged if you tend to drag the hose along the ground, as well as prevent any damage that might result from kinking it to stop the water. You can screw other nozzles right on to this and water all your garden plants by just swapping them out.
A Nozzle for Every Occasion
Here are some examples of nozzles that are useful for some specific applications.
Gentle-shower nozzle. This attachment is perfect for landscape plants or your veggie garden. It delivers a gentle stream of water that won't damage your plants. It also provides a good amount of water at once so you won't have to stand out there for too long.
Jet or pressure-tip nozzle. This is a heavy-duty nozzle. It's perfect for garden clean-up because it really shoots that water out. You can use this accessory to blast aphids off roses and skip the chemicals.
Fan spray nozzle. This attachment gives you a wide, consistent spray. If you have the patience, you can water your lawn with this. Its shape is similar to hose-end sprinklers.
The Dirt On Sprinklers
If hand watering is a little too tedious, and you have a big area to cover, try hose-end sprinklers. There are options for all different size lawns.
Impact head sprinkler. These sprinklers are frequently used at golf courses. You've probably seen (and heard) them — they makethat "click, click, click, click" sound as they spray during one cycle, then deliver a steady stream of spray. You can actually customize how they water according to the size and dimensions of your lawn. These sprinklers will cover the greatest distance and typically provide the best water coverage.
Fountain spray sprinkler. These small wedge- or ring-shaped sprinklers are ideal for spot watering. If you need to deep-water a newly planted tree or a patch of lawn you're re-seeding, this is a perfect choice. They spray up and out like a fountain, bringing a lot of water to a small space in a small amount of time.
Oscillating sprinkler. This old-school classic sprinkler gives you the familiar "rainbow" of water as it slowly tilts back and forth. They'll water your entire lawn, but you'll probably have to keep moving it to get good coverage. (In the summertime it's a great choice because kids are drawn to these, and you can save money on trips to the amusement park.)
Hose Management 101
A new hose comes from the home center in a neat, orderly coil but once you've used it getting it back to its original state — like trying to re-fold a used road map — is no easy feat. Here are a few suggestions that may help you deal with the dreaded spaghetti-hose phenomenon.
Improve your coiling technique. When coiling a hose, it helps to roll the hose between your fingers as you form the coils. This helps prevent the phenomenon of the hose that seems to "fight back" as you coil it.
Hose caddy. To help "automate" the process, you may simply want to invest in a hose roller or hose caddy. This simple hand-crank device simplifies the job of coiling up a lengthy hose, and then the whole thing can be tucked neatly out of sight. Some hose caddies are built to be more or less stationary, while other have rollers so that you can move the whole thing easily from place to place.
Pre-coiled hose. A pre-coiled hose such as the Garden Coil is handy for indoor or outdoor use, and obviates the need to worry about coiling the hose — since it's already coiled and made to stay that way.