Watering Your Garden

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
oscillating sprinkler

Watering your lawn and garden, especially during the hot summer months, can be a full-time job. 

When you add plants to your garden, it helps if you start with a soil that has been amended with organic materials and, if you follow the recommendation of “right plant, right place.” Grouping plants together that have similar cultural needs (light, water and soil type) will make it easier to apply the correct amount of water specific plants need.

During periods of drought though, even the hardiest plants will benefit from supplemental water.  Rain barrels are effective for collecting water but there are myriad methods for applying water to your garden including sprinklers, hoses and drip irrigation.

In my own garden, I water as needed with a hose and sprinklers.  Over the years I have used a number of different types of sprinklers but the one I like best is an oscillating sprinkler that is adjustable in two different ways.  Mine is plastic and the next one I get will be metal with brass nozzle jets. The price is probably double (about $40 to $50  retail) but it is bound to last at least twice as long or longer than the cheap plastic type I have that is now broken. The weight of the sprinkler means that you can drag it across the lawn and it will stay upright, unlike the light weight of the plastic.  Make sure you can adjust the width of the spray as well as the force.  Depending on the size of your lawn or garden there are models that will cover areas ranging from 3,600 to 5,800 square ft.  You will still have to move the sprinkler (at least a few times) around your garden to get the best coverage. 

Other types of sprinklers include one called a “revolving sprinkler” with a rolling wheel base that covers a diameter of 45 ft.  There is also a type with a pulsating head mounted on a metal or plastic base, or with a spike that you stick in the ground. The jet stream of water can be adjusted so that it makes a circular pattern that is partial, full, small or large and, some models cover up to 5800 square ft. One that I recently discovered that retails for around $40 is a pulsating circular sprinkler with range and flow control.  The nozzles can be adjusted from 5 degrees to 360 degrees, the range and flow are also adjustable and two spikes mounted on the base of the sprinkler make it very stable for both flat and sloped sites. There is also a dirt filter that is easy to remove and clean.

In talking with my gardening friends, many use drip irrigation, like a soaker hose, that gets the water to the roots quickly to water their flower gardens. The advantages are the ease of installation and the ability to customize as needed. Just use it where you need it. Look for brands that let you decide how long or short each section should be and those that can be easily cut (use your Fiskars scissors) to the desired length.  Most include faucet adapters and connect couplers.