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DIY Irrigation Systems to Save Water in The Garden

Sometimes I feel like some of the things our family does would qualify in the list “You might be a ______ if…”; You can fill in the blank…redneck, crazy woman, frugal gardener, whatever. Our diy irrigation system for the garden probably qualifies us as one of those things.
image of milk jug with water hose in it surrounded by squash

I struggle to keep our garden watered, we don’t have water near the garden so we use water hoses and hand water. We’ve tried using sprinklers and they broke. We also struggle with powdery mildew on our squash plants which is mostly due to the leaves getting wet.

For years, we’ve used a milk jug irrigation system in some of our beds. Basically, we poke holes in milk jugs and bury them. That way when we water we just fill up the jugs – the plants get a deep drink and the leaves stay dry. 

image of garden cage with bean plants and milk jug irrigation system

You can use a nail or a drill with a super small drill bit to make the holes. I like to put two milk jugs in each 4X8 garden bed and cover with mulch. When I water I put the hose in the top  of the milk jug and let it fill up while I harvest or weed. Actually, I let it overflow and really saturate the bed.

These do need to be replaced every year as the plastic will eventually break down, so I pull them at the end of the season and recycle them. This isn’t a perfect system, but it’s free and is a good interim step while you get a more permanent system in place.

This post is part of a virtual garden tour, to see the other posts in the tour scroll down.

image of diy irrigation with milk just and water hose surrounded by squash

DIY Garden Irrigation Systems to Save Water

This is a list of diy garden irrigation systems to help conserve water in the garden. These are all relatively low cost and can be easily made.

2019 Garden Tour

At The Old Summers Home you will find a quick and easy tutorial to make your very own Farmhouse Backyard Bench. So grab some barn wood planks and head on over to see how you can have a new rustic bench in as little as 20 minutes.

Affordable DIY Decorative Planters from Create and Find. These simple planters can be made in less than an hour and cost much less than buying new.

When you’ve finished brewing that pot of delicious coffee, don’t through the used coffee grounds away – put them to use in the garden. Here are 14 different ways you can use your old coffee grounds to help your back yard and the planet.

Let Redneck Rhapsody show you how to update your old garden pots and fountains and make them look new again.

Learn how to make your own DIY concrete Garden Rocks as well as how to create a natural Beach Cottage Garden. Follow along and see the amazing transformation from bare, boring yard to beautiful beach cottage garden.

Galvanized buckets are the perfect size for container gardening. Plant your own herb garden right outside your front door. It’s inexpensive and convenient too! Find out what you need to know from Our Crafty Mom.

Sustain My Cooking Habit is taking a break from the kitchen and giving a tour of her mom’s flower garden, complete with tips from the expert flower grower.

 Let Just That Perfect Piece show you how to make an easy, budget friendly accent with solar light to enjoy your garden even at night!

Get your yard summer party ready with these simple steps for hanging baskets from Kippi at Home.

Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Monday 19th of April 2021

I am considering using the buried milk jug watering system in my vegetable garden this year - how close to the jugs do the plants need to be to benefit? Would it reach plants that are 2 feet away, or do they need to be closer?

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

The plants that are 2 feet away will still get benefits. I use 2 per 4'x8' bed. We've recently changed out the milk jugs for pvc and I actually like it better. The milk jugs are free but they only last one season. The pvc will last for years. We cut the pvc into 15" lengths and drilled holes into the bottom half. We used a zip tie to tie on some landscape fabric to the bottom and then planted them.


Tuesday 26th of November 2019

So many cool ideas. I am learning a lot about these irrigation systems. Thanks! Definitely referring back to the resources later.

Jenn Summers

Saturday 15th of June 2019

This is such a clever idea! I might need to try this in my hard to reach spots of my large flower bed!

Angi Schneider

Sunday 23rd of June 2019

Thanks! It's been super helpful to us.

Trina Welch

Friday 14th of June 2019

This is a fantastic and very cost effective way to water! I love it.

Michelle James

Wednesday 12th of June 2019

This is such a great idea and what a timesaver! Part of my problem with planting is I tend to get lazy by mid summer and don't water enough. Thanks so much for the inspiration!