How to Install Soaker Hose Irrigation System
Soaker hoses deliver water right to the roots of plants. This irrigation system makes watering the gardens as easy as setting a timer.
To mark the trench guideline, the proper color to use is white paint. Begin at the stake for the hydrant and move in a slow, even fashion (Image 1) toward the wall of the house. Make the line as visual as possible, ending about 6" to 8" before the edge of the house. First turn the trencher on at the ignition; then grab the rope cord by the handle and crank it just like you would a lawnmower, until the engine starts (Image 2). Lower the digging arm, release the brake and begin digging the trench.
Gently work the throttle and allow the trencher to self-propel as you follow the white guideline to dig the trench. It's a good idea at random points to stop digging and measure the depth of the trench. Here the desired depth is about 21". From the opposite end, continue digging the trench, working your way toward the middle, where the two separate trenches will meet. Use a shovel to complete the trench up to the base of the hydrant location as well as up to the foundation of the house.
It's time to put the water line from the outside to the inside so it can be connected. Ed has to drill through a brick wall with cinderblock backing to get the pipe inside; if you have to drill through cinderblock or cement, go to the local hardware store and rent a rotary hammer. Whenever you're going through concrete or cinderblock, Ed recommends putting on a sleeve pipe (a sleeve pipe is simply a larger pipe through which you can slide a smaller line).
Position the bit of the rotary hammer on the brick and begin drilling; do not twist or rim out the bit. Maintain steady pressure, pushing the bit into the wall until it punches through to the inside.
The first length of PVC pipe is ready to be pushed through the foundation into the hole. The goal is to get the pipe connected to the galvanized pipe in the house. The first step is always to turn off the water and drain the house; then connect the PVC to the copper pipe with a ball valve; there will be two male adaptors on either end of a threaded ball valve. Shut off the valve when this is finished so the rest of the house has water.
Now that the stub pipe has come through the foundation, it's time to run the water line to the yard hydrant. This can be done piece by piece, with the connections made in the hole, but what Ed recommends is running the line on the outside of the hole. Do all the connections in the open, where it's easy to work, and place the pipe in the hole.
Working beside the trench, first apply the purple PVC primer to a coupling and the adjoining ends of two sections of PVC pipe. Next, rub PVC cement on a coupling and one section of pipe and connect the two (Image 1). Do the same for the other section of pipe, then slide it into the coupling, completing the connection of the two pipes (Image 2).
Repeat the prepping steps for the pipe exiting the house and the completed line, then connect the two.
Give all the joints a few minutes to dry; then begin sliding the entire line into the open trench. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of a PVC male adaptor and attach it to the female end of the hydrant.
Next, apply PVC primer and cement to a 90-degree elbow and the unattached section of PVC pipe. Slide the elbow onto the pipe. Making sure the pipe is even with the base of the hydrant, grab the other section of line, cross the two and cut the overlap with a PVC saw. Now, prime and cement the two ends of pipe, along with a coupling, slide the assembly together and place it in the trench. For the hydrant to drain properly, dump a bag of gravel into the open pit (Image 1).
Before mounting the hydrant, rub a generous amount of primer and cement on the exposed elbow and the male adaptor; then attach the hydrant. Lastly, fill in the pit with the dirt removed from the trench (Image 2).
For additional support, pour a bag of concrete over the top (Image 3) and add water to the mix.
The last step is to turn on the water at the main supply. Once the water is on and all the joints look good, backfill around the hydrant itself and then the entire trench. Begin filling in the trench at the base of the hydrant and work in a slow, even fashion to the opposite end of the trench.