How to Make a Soaker Hose
Here's a great way to reuse a garden hose that’s sprung a leak.
So, your garden hose is damaged again, huh? Burst under pressure? Nibbled by backyard wildlife? Did you clip it with the lawn mower? You’re not alone. Hoses don’t last forever, whatever the reason. But damaged hoses aren’t necessarily garbage. In fact, there are lots of things you can do with an old garden hose, and the summer is a great time to think about making your own soaker for landscaping and garden beds that benefit from a slow stream of water. Did you know that targeting your plants in this way can also cut down on your water bill? Make your own soaker hose in just an hour, and then sit back and enjoy this handy garden accessory while it does its job all summer long.
- a length of hose (obviously – but keep in mind that you could also use an inexpensive new hose for this as well, and avoid having to add new connectors.)
- new hose connections
- hose caps
- push pin
- scrap fabric
- sewing machine
Start by assessing the damage. Locate where the break in the hose is; I’d suggest cutting it off there and using the longer length that remains.
You’ll need to replace the connectors that had been on the end of the hose that you cut away. You can find these at any hardware store.
Slip the stainless clamp onto the hose first, and then twist the brass fitting into the cut end. You’ll slide the clamp back up over the stretched hose, and use a screwdriver to tighten it down (really, really tight).
Tighten the cap onto the end of the hose. This will prevent water from going straight through the hose, and instead encourage pressure so that the water sprays out of the smaller holes along the length.
To poke holes along the length, I suggest you start with the most narrow pointy object you have around the house. For us, it was a push pin, which is slightly narrower than the smallest drill bit in our workshop. The push pins poke through the rubber easily. Do this up and down the entire length of the hose, generously, with holes all around every 4" to 6”.
Once you have it poked sufficiently, hook it up and test it out! The kids will like your DIY “sprinkler” but there’s one more thing you’ll need to do in order for it to function like any store-bought soaker hose: Create a slipcover for the full length of the hose.
I suggest using any scrap fabric for this part of the project. Nothing you choose should be too valued, as it’s definitely going to spend most of its time in the garden surrounded by soil or mulch. What’d I use here? It’s a piece of canvas drop cloth!
Trim strips of fabric to 5” width, and then sew along the length to form tubes. I didn’t turn mine “right side out” and I don’t think you should bother with that either.
Thread the hose through the sewn fabric. Let it scrunch and accordion, or lay flat across the hose.
Next, hook up the hose and wrap it around your landscape or targeted plants. When you turn on the water, the streams will saturate the fabric and drip towards the roots. Could it get any easier? Yes, actually – if you get a timer for your hose, you’ll never forget to water your plants again.